How to Create a Layered Garden

Ever wish your garden looked lusher, fuller, and more cohesive? The answer lies in layering. Layered landscaping is a concept that involves designing your garden and plants in a specific way to create a flowing yet dynamic finish. There are four main design principles involved when it comes to creating a layered garden; repetition, flow, depth, and scale. Let’s take a closer look at each:



Repetition is what makes a garden look consistent and cohesive. There are a few ways in which you can incorporate repetition in your garden, with the easiest being to invest in multiple plants of the same kind. Group plantings are impactful, especially when repeated around a garden.

Alternatively, you could pick a colour scheme and repeat that through your garden. Or, go for a certain texture instead. A good example would be the Golden Barrel Cactus – its sunshine-like colour combined with its spiky texture gives these plants an even more dramatic appeal when they’re grown in groups.



Understanding how to make your garden flow can be a little complicated. The easiest way to do this would be to try to connect your garden beds together as much as possible. Consider your entire landscape – rather than having rigid sections and islands around your garden, bring everything together.

For example, if you have fruit trees dotted around your garden, place some smaller plants in between them to connect the dots.

Don’t forget to also consider the placement of your house – this needs to be incorporated too if you really want everything to flow together well. Try to make your house a solid part of your garden’s landscape. One way to do this would be to anchor your house with taller tree plantings at each corner. Evergreen trees tend to be the easiest to maintain – look into a Dragon Tree or a Grass Tree.



Ideally, each of your garden beds should have a foreground layer, a middle layer, and a background layer – this is what will give your garden a sense of depth. For some of you, this will require extending your garden beds – bring them out as much as you can so that you can fit the three above-mentioned layers into them.

As you can imagine, save your taller plants for the background layer, and your ground-cover plants for the foreground layer, with everything in between going in the middle.



There are two aspects to consider when it comes to scaling; the size of the plants that you’re growing, as well as the number of plants you’re growing. In terms of size, try to mix things up as much as possible. Smaller shrubs planted next to tall garden trees will offer plenty of visual interest.

You also need to make sure that you’re using the right number of plants in your garden. Don’t go overboard and stuff too many small plants into an even smaller area – remember that they need room to grow and thrive. Overdoing it will leave you with a messy-looking garden.

Likewise, don’t leave your garden too sparse either. Make sure that any empty spaces are filled, but with the right plants.



There are so many design elements involved when creating a layered garden. It may take some time, but it’s worth researching and familiarising yourself with these as much as possible. The results will be more than worth it – you’ll have a beautifully layered garden that looks stunning throughout the year.


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