How to - Gardening Resources

11 garden design lessons from Grenada

Veronica Sliva
Photography by
Erin McLaughlin

Apply these lessons from the tropics to your north-of-the-border garden.


Lesson 1: Frame a view with plants

Volcanic in origin, mountainous Grenada offers spectacular views from any vantage point. This garden is on a hill (almost everything in Grenada is) with achingly beautiful views. Here, the gardener took advantage of a vista by framing the view with flowering plants, shrubs and trees. Who can resist stopping to marvel at the scene?


Lesson 2: Camouflage a stone wall with hanging potted plants

A stone wall becomes the perfect backdrop for this Grenada gardener’s collection of orchids. Use a wall to create a vertical garden and add to your garden space by growing flowers, herbs, and even smaller vegetables and fruits in hanging containers.


Lesson 3: Create visual appeal with orb-shaped shrubs
We're drawn to round shapes because they're so easy on the eyes. Within the garden, orb-shaped shrubs offer a restful contrast to straight lines. Use curves and circles wherever some optical relief is desired.


Lesson 4: Give your garden structure with straight lines

In a garden, straight lines draw your eye from one end to the other. Whether the line takes the form of a walkway or a clipped hedge, it impacts the flow of the garden. Here, a manicured hedge clearly defines the area and gives structure to the space.


Lesson 5: Inject colour with objects

Tints, tones and shades of green predominate in this garden. But the inclusion of a fire engine red shed draws the eye and adds an element of interest to the landscape, demonstrating that even a utilitarian shed can become an objet d’art if a garden needs a shot of colour.


Lesson 6: Layer beds with texture, colour and height
In this garden, plants knit themselves together, forming eye-catching drifts of colour and texture. Reproduce the look by thinking both vertically and horizontally. Create vertical patterns with trees and tall shrubs. Then, at ground level, encourage the eye to move horizontally with plants that form clusters or drifts.


Lesson 7: Add tranquility with water
The calming effect and playful shimmer of a reflecting pool adds peacefulness to any garden. This large copper pot was once used for polishing cocoa beans and now brings unique cha­r­acter to the garden.


Lesson 8: Edge borders with mulch

Use local materials to mulch and edge borders, giving them an attractive look and tidy apperance. In Grenada coconut hulls are plentiful and are put to good use in this garden.


Lesson 9: Create an illusion with grassy mounds

The most fetching gardens offer an element of surprise. In this garden, it appears that giant mounds of moss surround a tiny garden shed. A closer look reveals that the humps are actually Manillagrass (Zoysia matrella). The humps are hollow, so when visitors walk across them, they soon fall through. Very amusing…if you happen to be watching from afar!


Lesson 10: Underplant trees with blooms and foliage

Instead of planting grass (which competes for nutrients) under a tree, grow flowering plants that have shallow roots, such as shade-loving annuals. If tree roots make digging difficult, create pockets between the roots and sink in potted plants for the season.

Lesson 11: Incorporate a tree stump into your garden bed
Although a tree stump can be an eyesore, in this garden it becomes a pedestal for an orchid specimen. Surrounding the stump, flowering plants highlight its contribution to the garden.

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