4 (More) Garden Styles to Inspire Your 2018 Garden

You may be stuck inside with no immediate gardening tasks to do, but you can start dreaming up a plan for your 2018 garden! We'll help you out with 4 more unique garden styles you can try. Check out part 1 if you missed it.

Tropical Style - for the Adventurous Gardener

To give your garden a jungle-like appearance, plant densely and upwards, creating vertical layers. Having a small space can be an advantage for this style, as you can more easily group together a large array of plants and don’t have to build elaborate watering systems to keep up the lush green look in July, August, and September. As for plants, consider bright bold colors, both in blooms and striking foliage. You don't need true tropical plants to achieve this look, instead go for hardy tropical-inspired plants like canna, star jasmine, pineapple lily, rice paper plant, trumpet vine, and mayapple.

Complete the look: with rattan, teak, woven sea grass, bamboo and brightly colored cushions.

Mediterranean Garden - for the Ancient History Lover


With the mediterranean style, you can create the feeling of bright sun, salty breezes, and ancient history. Your first thought might be Europe, but the Mediterranean climate of wet winters and warm or hot summers can be found in parts of north Africa, western South Africa, California, central Chile, and parts of western and southern Australia. While Eugene is a bit on the cooler and wetter side, you can adapt by overwintering plants in a greenhouse, treating plants as summer annuals, or using only frost-hardy species.

Mimic the ancient Persians with high-walled protective enclosures and Romans with shade structures such as pergolas, loggias, arbors, and arcades. Give a Moorish look with colorful tile mosaics and wrought iron filigree. Many mediterranean gardens scramble up hillsides or are carved into rocky cliffs; create your own native look by using locally sourced rock and stone. Choose textural plants with needles or silvery leaves, giving the garden a light-catching, shimmery appearance. Stick to traditional mediterranean edibles such as herbs, citrus, olives, grapes, and figs. Additional plants with mediterranean flair include yanagi ichigo, rock purslane, smoketree, canary island foxglove, anchor plants, viper's bugloss, lizard plant, and cunco rojo.

Complete the look: follow the mediterranean appreciation of outdoor living with vibrant earthy colors, light pine furniture, and enough seating to host your friends and family for a colorful, aromatic meal.

Modern Garden - for the Minimalist Gardener

This style might be less common in our area, but for Eugenians with distinct taste it's an interesting look to try. Modern (also called contemporary) gardens came about after WWII when garden designers moved away from the highly ornamental, specimen-packed gardens of the late 19th and early 20th centuries to embrace modern principles of simplicity, efficiency, and functionality. This translated to a sparse use of plants, including only those with sculptural foliage (instead of flowers). The idea was to make each plant stand out and be appreciated for its distinct color, form, and texture, much like abstract art.

The general principles of a modern garden are clean lines, minimalism, and architectural shapes. Use industrial textures such as concrete steppers, metal grids, sheet metal, and spheres (made in concrete, metal, or ceramic). Place single plants in simple cylindrical or square containers composed of resin, ceramic, or metals to make foliage pop. If using trees or shrubs, focus on tidy dwarf varieties that can be contained within a pot. Use striking plants such as yucca, agave, olocasia, sedum, aeonium, monstera deliciosa, and phormium.

Complete the look: with complementary modern furniture in stainless steel, chrome dense polyester mesh and bright plastics.

Eco-Friendly Garden - for the Conscious Gardener


Eco-friendly gardening is already practiced by many Eugenians, but it's always good to have a reminder if you're looking to do more. The main idea behind an eco-friendly garden is working with nature instead of against it, focusing on a economical use of resources that can benefit native wildlife, the greater ecosystem, and the earth as a whole. Here are 5 ways you can make your garden eco-friendly:

  1. Conserve water - It may be plentiful in the autumn, winter, and spring, but that doesn't mean you should be wasteful. Consider reducing your lawn size and replacing with one of these water-wise ground crops.
  2. Recycle and reuse - Save yard trimmings and kitchen plant-based scraps to be turned into compost. Some of us in Eugene are lucky to have the Love Food Not Waste residential pick-up program that makes it easy to donate your scraps if you don't want to make your own compost.
  3. Do no harm - This includes avoiding chemical fertilizers that run into rivers and oceans, not planting invasive species that could wipe out native varieties, and not using pesticides and herbicides that tend to kill more creatures than the bugs you're targeting. Do what you can to help native creatures by planting bee-friendly plants and edible trees and shrubs.
  4. Choose the right plants - Native is key, but if you can choose ones that are also drought-tolerant, you'll double the eco-friendly effect. Some native drought-tolerant plants include blueblossum, red-flowering currant, bristly manzanita, Oregon grape, western red columbine, goldenrod, Oregon iris, and wooly sunflower. For many more options check out this guide from the OSU Extension.
  5. Get creative - Choose used or up-cycled furniture and try new DIY projects with recycled materials. BRING is a wonderful place to stop by for materials and inspiration.