How do I stop the madness of crazy bedlines? These are the lines that slither through the lawn without a care in the world. Those new to landscape design often follow this approach: place plants in the ground, then outline each plant on the edge with a bedline, which results in a wiggly array of chaos (see below).

I encourage you to take a step back and think about how landscape design is about creating space.  We create the space first (the lawn or patio, for instance), then use the plants to reinforce that space.  You can read more about this idea in my Keep it Positive in the Garden post. The bedline is the edge of that space, so it needs to be purposeful to reinforce whatever shape you are creating for the lawn or patio.

Catherine from Garden Drum has a great way to think about this concept. She describes the garden space we are creating as the doughnut hole, while the actual doughnut is the planting bed reinforcing it. The bedline would be the outer edge of the doughnut hole.

There is another benefit to stronger bedlines...less maintenance and easier mowing.  Imaging trying to edge all those wiggly curves with a spade, or worse, trying to mow into those tight little crevices. Eek.

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catherine said...

You're so right Lisa. Garden edges that wiggle in and out look awful, unless they're long sweeping curves on a grand scale. Usually the gardener has thought that these wiggles will make the garden look more "interesting". What he/she doesn't realise is that what your eye actually registers is the void - ie the shape of the lawn or paving the garden is surrounding, rather than the shape of the bed itself. Calling it a strong bedline is a great idea - wish I'd thought of that!

Unknown said...

Catherine - What great thoughts (as always). I like how you explained that your eye is actually drawn to the void. So true.