Massing Plants in Garden Design

Oxalis oregana

Oxalis oregano mass planting

One of the most important design tips that I can give you for creating a beautiful garden is to provide visual bulk by mass planting. Tempting as it may be, putting in one of everything will make your garden chaotic and untidy. Take a look at the carpet of Oxalis oregano above. It is natural to see masses of one plant species in nature.

If you have a large piece of land that needs covering, consider using just one groundcover for the entire area. Choose  a variety that will thrive in your garden’s conditions. Seasonal interest can be added with bulbs, shrubs, and small trees. Some great ground covers you could use are Pachysandra, Periwinkle, Kinnikinnick, Sword Ferns, or Daylilies. You can also use low shrubs such as Chokeberry, Ilex Verticillata, Viburnum Davidii, Salal, Blueberry, Otto Luyken Laurel, or low-growing azalea and rhododendron.

Ostrich Fern mass planting

Ostrich Fern mass planting

Another important design tip is to use repetition in your garden scheme. This can be achieved by choosing plants with similar foliage and shape throughout the border or to plant one variety of plant species in groups. Plant your shrubs and trees in clusters of  three, five, seven, or even more. Consider planting a  grove of trees; Vine Maple, Amelanchier,  Birch, Trembling Aspen, and other small trees look lovely in groups. Underneath your trees, add boulders in groups of at least three and partially bury most of them to copy what you see in the forest. Just make sure when you are at the garden center to choose plants that will thrive in the soil and light conditions that they will receive in your yard. Remember to not give in to the temptation to buy one of everything – make up your shopping list before you go and try not to look to the left or right as you walk towards the plants you are looking for.

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley



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