As we head into the warmer months, many of us are starting to think about our gardens again. We sat down with Claudia Rust, Senior Landscape Designer at Formwerks to get her take on what we should be looking out for this spring, tips for newbie gardeners and her overall design philosophy.
The first thing I consider when working in a natural environment is understanding the unique features of a property – such as the topography, the buildings and the built environment. Then I consider who will be using that space and what they’re going to be doing there. Once I know that, the rest of it falls into place. We pride ourselves on creating unique designs — what works in one space might not work in another.
Consider how you’re going to be using your outdoor space. A lot of people want a summer garden that is lush and close to entertaining space. Think about incorporating spring and summer flowering perennials and shrubs, plants that have an interesting fall colour and structural greens in the background that anchor your property. That way you’re adding visual interest to your landscape all year long.
Your garden is a full sensory experience, so think about all the senses when starting your design. How does a plant smell and feel? What about sound? Consider adding a relaxing water feature. Do you want to feel warm and have a place for people to gather? Then a fire bowl or fireplace could be a great addition to your space. The layout, pattern and flow of hard surface elements is also critical. The right material choice will create a common theme throughout your property and can connect exterior and interior design elements.
I tend to focus more on timeless design elements that are integral to the architecture of the building and the natural environment. However, one thing that is paramount to our design process is incorporating sustainable elements such as: recycled brick and granite, LED lights in landscaping, incorporating existing trees, using efficient landscaping irrigation and creating a rainwater garden. This trend is building momentum as sustainability, both inside and outside the home, is top of mind for many of our clients.
I love to travel and when it comes to landscape design, inspiration is everywhere. When I’m out walking I often ask myself, why do I like this? What don’t I like about this? I draw and learn from this as I explore different cultures, climates and natural settings. Books, magazines and the internet are also a great way to stay current, but you really can’t beat being out in the real world.
Thanks for sitting down with us, Claudia!