Forest design and imitation of ancient plantings
With the return to the peak of the popularity of landscape styles in the design of gardens, unusual thematic options began to spread. Gardens that require minimal care, imitating wild prairies or forest thickets are the most striking examples of this. Fans of the forest, or as it is often called, ancient, relict design, is becoming more and more. Secluded, detached from all the hustle and bustle, ideal for relaxation and creating oases of calm and coolness surrounded by greenery, this is an ideal option for those who want to hide from the modern pace of the urban jungle and immerse themselves in communication with their native nature.
Forest style, or absolute naturalness
This trend, which has rightly earned the title of the most landscape among landscape ones, is a unique phenomenon in the modern world of bizarre designs and catchy design decisions. Forest style is an option for those who want to achieve a feeling of complete unity with wildlife, connoisseurs of green color and subtle details, natural beauty and native spaces. Forest design is often called one of the most limited in application possibilities, but this is not entirely true. Such a style must really be chosen according to your taste and character, it is not universal and rather exceptional. But on the other hand, it is unlimited in use by tools and plants, individual, environmentally friendly, devoid of any order and visible man-madeness, as close as possible to pristine nature.
The main advantage of forest registration is minimal maintenance of the garden. Forest-style gardens are decades-long projects that evolve and change without our intervention. In the forest style, it is not necessary to even clean the leaves and clean the plantings: the natural forest litter only adds authenticity to the created landscape. Care is needed here except for berry and fruit plants and some seasonal accents, and in situations where some culture needs to be limited or restrained in development. For the rest, the garden is literally left to itself, completely intended for rest and detachment from the hustle and bustle.
Most often, forest-style projects are broken down where summer cottages are located in a forested area, there are many large trees on the site, or when they want to achieve a change in the landscape in such a way as to create a sense of unity with the surrounding panorama. But there are exceptions when the style of the site seems to argue with the environment. In this case, unless the garden is surrounded by very high walls and hedges, there is always a dissonance between the non-garden landscape and the site, there is no sense of harmony and authenticity.
A forest garden is a garden in which ancient forest landscapes, altered and transformed by time and nature itself, are imitated, creating the illusion that the human hand did not touch the site at all. This style offers to abandon almost all the usual in the arrangement of the site:
- The entire available area is used for landscaping, leaving only small secluded corners, installing pavilions or gazebos drowning in greenery, abandoning lawns, paving, concrete, classic flower gardens and spectacularly flowering crops. Small architecture, leisure corners are hidden from a direct view.
- The usual materials in the forest design must be forgotten. In such gardens, either natural stone or wood is appropriate, and the latter is always preferable in the choice of small architecture and furniture, but the stone is in the decor, the game of reliefs, the introduction of a variety of textures and accents in the composition.
- The whole garden is permeated with a network of winding, not obeying geometry and symmetry, comfortable, but as narrow as possible, wild-looking paths. They are made only of soft, loose materials, abandoning borders in favor of a close summing up of forest thickets or wild-looking groundcover without a visible dividing line. Gravel from those types of stone that are characteristic of your area, crushed bark, sand, stone screenings, red clay or other decorative soil will fit into the forest garden.
- The starting point of registration - already available on the site of the plant. Ideal balances and partners are selected for them, creating their own forest oasis based on the conditions presented by nature.
- As in any project, skeleton plantings and dominant plants, decorative plantings, seasonal accents are distinguished in the forest. But plants are selected according to special rules, achieving maximum naturalness and "wildness" of the landscape. Even the accents in the forest garden make light, short-lived, precious piece and natural. Ornamental plantings should look like landscape thickets, arrays, decorative groups of shrubs. Flower beds or flower beds in the forest design are not appropriate, instead they imitate wild continuous plantings.
- In the forest design, ponds with the most natural appearance, blurred borders, most often large, are welcomed in the landscaping of which the selection of plants capable of creating a “wild” effect is carefully thought out. But a brook will also fit into the forest landscape, especially if it is possible to lay it to a considerable length and create height differences, hiding individual sections from a direct view.
- Forest is never boring. If the garden is not flat, then playing up the elevation opens up special design possibilities, further enhancing the impression of style. But if you were led and the site is almost flat, then artificially created rocky rockeries or alpine hills with a very attentive imitation of natural elevations will add a charm to the garden.
The forest garden imitates seven levels of plants of a natural forest - from the canopy of giant trees to the plane of low ornamental species, the level of shrubs, lush herbaceous plants, the ground level and the rhizosphere - the underground level. But from a practical point of view, another classification is much more convenient, which conditionally divides landscaping into two types of objects:
- Lush thickets - arboreal, groups of shrubs and decorative plantings with a game of vertical relief. This includes dominants, and skeletal planting, and arrays, background plants and the replacement of ordinary flower gardens - all compositions and groups with a clearly lush, voluminous relief and semantic load.
- Flat areas or meadows that play up the feeling of freedom and spaciousness do not allow the entire design to become too gloomy. Planes fill with light and balance all elements among themselves. There is no place for a forest-style lawn. But this does not mean that it is impossible to make out enchanting sunlit lawns, clearings and massifs. A Moorish meadow with wild flowers, a clearing of aggressive groundcover, a mossy lawn in the shade - these are options that perfectly fit into the forest design.
In order to achieve not only aesthetic appeal, but also comfort in the forest design, you need to maintain a balance, seek a balance between lush and flat landings. First of all, you need to carefully select plants - so that in every panorama that opens, every object and corner, the elements are harmonious with each other and with the site as a whole. The best option for a forest garden is a radial layout that is repelled from the house. With this approach, the farther you move deeper into the garden and move away from the building, the more lush, tall and dense thickets should become, the smaller the area allotted to flat elements. The play of mass, volume, contours, textures, textures, light and shadow, zones of tranquility and an explosion of colors should ideally relate to each other and always and everywhere to balance.
To achieve the full effect of wild plantings, you should not forget to mulch the soil between plants, creating a layer of crushed bark or other plant materials. It will not only minimize maintenance, but also create the illusion of forest litter.
Forest style is often perceived as an option for the design of the entire site. But it can be limited to only one zone, to divert only the far side of the garden or a certain part of it, combining forest decoration with other more vibrant styles at home or in the front garden.
The main secret of creating plantings in which everything seems wild, ancient and as if transferred from a secluded thicket of the forest is the choice of plants that will set the tone and immediately, at first glance, bring about the necessary style associations.
For forest imitations, the obvious choice is ferns. They create visual markers, which determine the forest nature of the design. The magnificent ostriches, the coydzhizhnik and the bracken, as well as other types of favorite garden ferns, even in the company with much more “garden”, obviously cultivated plants, will still create a feeling of a forest corner. And if even a fern is planted next to even a plant unusual for a forest landscape, then both plants will “automatically” appear forest. It is very easy to trace the influence of marker plants on the example of junipers. If in the company of irises, thyme, stonecrops or carnations, they make a predictable impression, but with “ferns” they are “read” exactly like plants with a forest character.
The markers in this design include visual “details” that make plants set the image of the forest. A graphic pattern of the crown, lace of branches and multi-stemmed silhouettes (for example, like a hazel), multiple small flowers resembling moss textures, squat-spread shrubs, shoots gracefully curving in arcs, inconspicuous, and smooth transitions of green color (game of halftones) and carved, cirrus - dissected leaves - visual markers that enhance the forest impression.
But besides the obviously “forest” ferns and other markers, it is worth thinking about getting as close as possible to the local flora and drawing inspiration from the surrounding nature in the search for plants. Wander through the forests and peer into the undergrowth, mark the plants that are found in your surroundings in the wild. It is these cultures that should be guided in forestry. Shrubs need special attention; their local species will enhance the atmosphere of forest parts of the garden several times.
Trees are the main stars
Woody dominate in any forest. And in the garden, where they want to achieve forest illusions, it is worth starting the design with them. The choice of species and varieties is very important for mood and stylistic expressiveness.
Imitate forest plantations and ancient thickets, using elaborate and fashionable species, will not work. Going to extremes and transferring giants from the nearest forest is not worth it, because you will not be able to control and restrain them, no matter how hard you try. You just need to choose cultural species and forms so that the plantings retain their natural charm.
When choosing trees, you need to play with silhouettes, textures, lines and crown density, bark color, growth forms. Trees with different character and habit, foliage color and seasonal “zest” will revitalize the garden and bring diversity. Solid and dense oaks, ornamental maples, touching birches or willows, bear nuts are the leading plants. There will even be their own blooming stars. Beautiful Japanese magnolias are ideal from the point of view of landscape beauty, but still inappropriate in the harsh climate and forest-style plants. They have their own alternatives. Ornamental apple trees are the first of them. There is a place in the forest garden for other fruit trees and hazels.
It is desirable to place trees on the site so that at least a third of the entire area is perceived as densely enough planted with giants. The forest garden is a shady garden, and the more tall trees there are, the better. One tree is worth highlighting especially (not necessarily in size), providing for the introduction of a family tree in the plan. The rest are united, it would seem, in random, improvised groups and massifs, between which wandering paths are laid.
Shrubs for any task
Do not think that the design under the trees is the destiny of perhaps herbaceous plants. In the garden, which imitates forest plantations, the main place in lush plantings, undergrowth and forest edge should be reserved not for them, but for shrubs that can take root and reveal their beauty even in strong shading. Excellent candidates are mountain ash, snowberry, holly, alpine currants, blackberries, yews. The low thickets of arched branches were tinted, fragrant raspberries, inimitable in their exfoliating bark, will easily make him company in any shadow. The wolf bast, which reveals its beauty in forest imitations, is also a group of cultures with the effect of antiquity.
The main among the bushes should be the cultures that characterize your area, are typical species, as well as the most landscape of flowering shrubs. Terry varieties of bird cherry, ierga, charming decorative viburnum or even their ordinary wild sisters, scoopies, hazel, common lilac, sea buckthorn, grassy and ordinary elderberry, hawthorn, dog rose, hornbeam, varietal forms of the conifers that are familiar to the eye, spirea, juniper, berry chops Lespedetsa - these are the plants that will help to effectively and “wildly” solve the usual problems. They can be used:
- in creating hedges both around the perimeter of the site, and to delimit zones;
- for skeletal landings;
- to create a lush background;
- to give volume to landscaping;
- in the creation of thickets;
- for visual peaks and vertical accents.
To consider modest and familiar species boring is a big mistake. After all, anyone who at least once admired the soldering bush of viburnum or the graceful arches of even ordinary rather than varietal rose hips will never say that these shrubs are uninteresting. They have an elegant, but almost untamed beauty and the charm of pristine nature, indispensable in the purest of landscape design styles. The simplicity and purity of the style does not require a choice of fancy or spectacular, but charmingly atmospheric, wild plants by nature. Therefore, hedges made of yew or beech in forest design will always be inferior in expressiveness to hawthorn and hornbeam.
Even in the design of ponds, shrubs and tree trees should be used, peeping at ideas from nature itself - willows, thorns, black alder, swamp myrtle perfectly complement the forest water landscape.
Creepers and grassy forest stars
Three leaders always emerge from the vines for forest style and imitation of ancient buildings - vincas as groundcover, ivies and girl's grapes. They can not only green walls and facades, hide the boundaries of man-made buildings and communications, but also easily help to add the secrecy and feeling of easy neglect, which is so appreciated in the illusions of aging. But there is another creeper that can cope with the task no worse - curly hydrangea. If the task is to decorate large planes in shading, it is better to cope with the round-headed pliers and the aristolochia rotundifolia.
The selection of purely decorative plants should start with an almost ideal partner for ferns in the arrays - lamellar astilboides. This giant gives the compositions a completely new fullness and tier. Its main competitors, Rogers and Co., will cope with the task somewhat less “wildly”, but also effectively.
Aquilegia - the main perennial in its "magical" influence - and garden geraniums are indispensable in forest design.Dark, light flowers and the different effect of the color of summer and autumn leaves of the latter along with a beautiful pattern and texture of spots and carpets allow you to set luxurious noble accents in the forest design, while not missing out on purely practical tasks like closing plantings and filling the area. Geraniums are perennials, with the help of which it is best to create simulations of ruins and ancient plantings, and in the forest design are indispensable. And aquilegia, with its mystery, inconstancy, will bring grace and improvisation.
In forest design, especially if a large number of cultures with dark green shades of color are used, you can use a soft cuff that looks inimitable in spots and groups, highlights compositions from the inside and plays with optical traps no worse than white-flowering crops. It, like geraniums, can be used to solve the problem of filling large areas and creating "planes".
Indispensable in forest plantations is a plant that, it would seem, certainly is not associated with them - rhubarb. Large leaves and luminous cuttings look luxurious, but not as stylish as incense, which allows the use of this edible culture in a wild design. Green forest helmets, astilbe, hosts, heichera, daylilies, cornflowers, loosestrife, volzhanka, goryanka, comfrey, mint, lemon balm, oregano, cereals, etc. will fit into the forest look and hellebore.
Of the groundcover in the forest, the shade-tolerant European hoof looks great. Blue medunitsa, survivor, violets, pachisandra, spotted lamb, veronica prostrate, epimedium will fit into the style. They will solve the problem of "wildness" of stone elements and saxifrages, and the budra is ivy. But “berry” stunted thickets — genuine forest strawberries or much more decorative dyusheneys — will help to achieve a special charm.
Flowering accents and bright plants in the forest design should be used as light, unsaturated, pastoral "touches". There is no need for forestry design and planning for a continuous flowering relay race: just a few wild-looking crops that seem to accidentally flash spots in a sea of greenery will make a proper impression. The color scheme is usually limited to white and blue-violet with a rare splash of pink tones and piecey yellow accents.
As the flowering plants in the forest style, “wild” landscape-style stars are used, and aquilegia - only one of them. Wild spring-flowering anemones are also great examples. There is no prohibition of seasonal accents to simulate old landings. Indeed, charming bulbous ones that do not require annual digging and strikingly touching accents - forest and Siberian sprouts, crested crests, snowdrops, lilies of the valley, and Tommasini crocuses will fit into any wild or ancient plantings. Other touching “savages” will continue their parade - bells, anemones, primroses, forget-me-nots, buttercups, Veronica. And with lush astilbe or loosestrife it is important not to overdo it.
The decor should be appropriate
A forest-style garden is no place for elaborate accessories. But there are exceptions to this rule: any “details” that emphasize the atmosphere and enhance the impression of wildlife will be appropriate.
The most striking example of decor for a forest garden is an imitation of garden ruins. Large or very modest, they emphasize the natural appearance and influence of time, make the plantings look new, in which changes will obviously be felt under the influence of time and wildlife.
But even small “neglected” details, such as a patio-covered garden lamp, a broken jug, into which shoots of ivy covered with moss stone sculpture, an old “forgotten” service or animal figurines, or other vintage objects, as if transferred by time, made it through to enhance the stylistic influence no worse.
But still it is impossible to find accessories for the forest style better than natural decor: the cuts and logs used instead of furniture or stands, carved from the trunks of old trees, the sculptures in the forest decoration are especially good.