Improve your Autumn Garden with Four Fall Focussed Garden Design Tips

November 16, 2021

When colorful bits start falling from the sky – and everything on the ground starts to shrivel, it makes sense that you might need to strategize on how to make the most of the autumn garden season.

My autumnal garden is covered in the first shed of yellow pine needles that precede the big leaf drops. A mow right after a needle drop is one of the most satisfying of the year. The contrast in color and texture is never better than when crisp turf green is set against beds that are quickly dismantling themselves

Frost is still at least a week or more away (in New England) but have you thought about designing your garden specifically to revel in the joy of fall?

have you thought about designing your garden specifically to revel in the joy of fall?  This is the beautiful Rill Garden in the autumn at Stretton Old Hall as photographed by head gardener, Stephen @stephenthegardener⠀- Here are some tips for fall focussed garden design.⠀
This is the beautiful Rill Garden in the autumn at Stretton Old Hall as photographed by head gardener, Stephen @stephenthegardener (on instagram)

Here are some tips for fall focussed garden design:

1) Make sure you have lots of texture (you won’t have blooms to rely on for interest).

At any time of the year, a focus on varying texture will give you lots of interesting things for your eye to take in.

Autumn’s backyard garden changes fast than a spring flourish. An overnight cold snap can turn luscious leaves into mush piles in a matter of hours. In our neck of the woods the green of summer often switches to yellows within a day.

You can feel the life being sucked down into the earth for protection. As this happens the architecture of planting schemes quickly crash in on themselves.

Read Also: How to Transition the Container Garden From Fall to Winter with Textures

Fresh Design Ideas for fall flowers and Autumn Garden Decor

2) Plants should have varied shapes as well.

(notice the vase shape of the sedum in contrast to the rounded boxwood, and low mounds of the grasses. There is also a rectangular back drop wall and square cut yews.⠀

Read: How To: A Container Garden Planting Featuring Verdant Texture

3) Place art so that it can be highlighted by the plants and other things around it.

Like in a gallery – the great paint job on the wall, the positioning, and the frame are always as carefully and artfully chosen as the work itself.

Read about another great garden that uses lots of great textures and frames: Inspired by jardinsurlaseine’s garden of textures in Paris

4) Know your region’s typical fall weather.

Do you regularly get hoar frost (like in this pic) that will sprinkle sparky crystals over your plant skeletons, or (like in my garden) will wind and snow smash dainty stems and so I need to rely more on colorful leaves, branches and solid evergreens. Or if you live frost-free, you will need to focus on cool season bloomers.

Worth a read: How to Plan for beautiful Frost in your Garden Design

I am pretty sure this piece of art was originally in Andy Sturgeon’s 2012 Show Garden at Chelsea. Check out the garden on his website and see if you agree.

Which garden wore it best??

(I’m think I am partial to Stretton Old Hall’s more permanent art installation).

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  1. Thanks for the tips! Will try these for my new garden. I have got a greenhouse for myself and I am absolutely loving it.

  2. Jean Z. says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing useful tips for fall focussed garden design. We need to keep in mind about our location’s fall weather for the best care of our plants.

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