You have a garden space you want to plant. Perhaps a section of your back yard or maybe you want to get rid of the grass in the front lawn like many are doing now. Toronto dwellings—especially downtown, where gardens are small— increasingly have beautiful front gardens with not a speck of grass. No more mowing. It’s really a great way to go: in my neighbourhood the no-grass front garden is spreading like a (beneficial) virus.
So you’ve gone to the garden centre and brought home a trunk full of perennials. It can be daunting to know where to put plants once you have gone through the digging up process. Let’s say you’ve followed good garden advice and bought several of the same plant, like ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum. It’s always best to buy in multiples of at least three, so your plants have more impact. Always buy in uneven numbers as it’s easier to design layouts with odd numbered plants than even, which can look too symmetrical and unnatural, so use groups of three, five, or seven.
Where do you plant them? The key is to arrange your plants in clumps together, rather than having one here, and one there, scattered about. Using multiples of perennials or shrubs in groups is called “planting in drifts”. The poetic way of describing it is: “Paint with a broad brush”. The opposite way of putting one plant here and one there, I term “Random Plunking.” Beware this! It creates disorder and lessens the design and plant impact. When your plants are in groups together you create a synergy that is greater than the sum of its parts: a satisfying garden design, with impact.