If you like to innovate and explore, fusion gardens will intrigue you.
These are not your usual gardens. They combine two, or even three styles into one.
The only rule is that there are no rules: just pick whatever you like from different styles and blend them to create your own style.
Does it sound exciting? Well it is. But there is the risk of ending up with chaos and confusion if extra control is not taken.
Maintaining clarity and confidence in the fusion garden is therefore critical. Here are some guidelines to help you avoid the pitfalls:
Fusion gardens can be as varied as the infinite garden styles around the world.
From jungle planting to Japanese gravel, modernism to the Mediterranean, formal to informal, the possible combinations are literally inexhaustible.
Getting a good grip of the styles you wish to fuse will help you to control the outcome.
If, for instance, you decide to fuse informal Japanese elements with formal classical forms, your first challenge will be to understand how to express each of these styles clearly and confidently in your garden spaces.
The next step will be to apply the styles within the garden as harmoniously as possible without losing the boldness of each distinct style.
In a large garden, you can afford to create different garden “rooms”, each with its own distinct style.
The challenge comes when you have to fuse styles within a limited space. You can start by orientating the different styles around focal points as far apart as possible to bring order.
Ultimately, however, that little bit of “disorder” may be what you are looking for.
After all, fusion style is about breaking rules and pleasing yourself. Focal points can be defined and highlighted by the use of bold colours, sculptural elements, water features and garden art.
Plants may also be used for their sculptural qualities.
Their form, colour and texture are particularly considered important when selecting a plant to act as a focal point.
Because of their diverse nature, almost any material can find its way into a fusion garden.
In some cases, the combinations can become quite complex.
Special attention should be given to selecting and combining the different materials to produce a cohesive design.
Use materials for their textural contrasts.
As a principle, the overall form is kept simple, with emphasis on the patterns of textures in the garden.
Natural materials are combined with one another as well as with synthetic materials.
Typical combinations include stone and timber, concrete and timber, stone and steel as well as the large collection of synthetic materials available in the market today.
The writer is a landscape architect