The informal style is the opposite of the formal, and uses the ideals of nature to get you to where you want to be. The informal style is often structured using flowing lines and gentle contours. These flowing lines create an irregularity and softness within the space. Even though everything is under human control it has been designed to integrate with the surrounding landscape, and to appear as if mother nature had a firm hand on the design.

This kind of garden, like the cottage garden, is highly personal and it draws heavily on the experience and knowledge of the designer.  It is here that you, as the designer of your own garden, are at a real advantage because you don’t have to communicate what you want to achieve to somebody else.  It is important for you at the beginning to really understand what you want from this kind of garden and to really get to grips with your needs and desires.  

An informal garden with a tree, a fence and lots of luxuriant planting.The Langston Garden, Kemah, Texas

Use our assessment techniques to get you going and allow a decent bit of time to really work out what you want when you get to the design stage.  Plants spreading over the edges soften hard surfaces, and plants intermingle in what appears to be a random order. Within the informal style there are a variety of key elements. These include woodland planting, wild meadows and natural ponds and marshes. The informal style is usually based on the local landscape and it therefore helps to create additional habitats and increased biodiversity within the design area.

By the time you have come up with a design for your informal garden space you will feel that you have included everything and that it is really going to work for you.  It is often a particularly good exercise for this type of garden project to mark everything, or as much as you can at any rate, out on the ground before you start.  You can use spray paints that are available from your local builders providers for marking out the circulation and planting areas and you can use anything that you have readily available to create volumes where thing like the barbecue, the terrace and the shed will be.  Live with this arrangement on the ground for a week or so and use anything that you learn to alter your design plan before you complete it.