Forest Decoration And Imitation Of Ancient Plantings. Forest Style Design. Photo

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Forest Decoration And Imitation Of Ancient Plantings. Forest Style Design. Photo
Forest Decoration And Imitation Of Ancient Plantings. Forest Style Design. Photo

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With the return to the peak of the popularity of landscape styles in the design of gardens, unusual thematic options began to spread. Gardens with minimal maintenance that mimic the wilderness of the prairie or woodland are prime examples. There are more and more fans of the forest, or, as it is often called, ancient relic design. Secluded, detached from all the hustle and bustle, ideal for relaxation and creating oases of calmness and coolness immersed in greenery - ideal for those who want to escape from the modern pace of the urban jungle and immerse themselves in communication with their native nature.

Forest-style plot
Forest-style plot


  • Forest style, or absolute naturalness
  • Style markers
  • Trees are the main stars
  • Shrubs for every task
  • Vines and grassy forest stars
  • The decor must be appropriate

Forest style, or absolute naturalness

This movement, which has justly earned the title of the most landscape among landscape ones, is a unique phenomenon in the modern world of bizarre projects and catchy design solutions. Forest style is an option for those who want to achieve a feeling of complete unity with the wild nature, connoisseurs of green color and subtle details, natural beauty and native spaces. The forest decoration is often called one of the most limited in its application possibilities, but this is not entirely true. This style must really be chosen according to your taste and character, it is not universal and rather exclusive. But on the other hand, it is unlimited in the use of tools and plants, individual, environmentally friendly, devoid of any order and visible hand-made, as close as possible to the pristine nature.

The main advantage of forest decoration is minimal maintenance of the garden. Forest-style gardens are decades-long projects that evolve and change without our intervention. In a forest style, even removing leaves and cleaning plantings is not necessary: ​​the natural forest floor only adds authenticity to the created landscape. Care is needed here only for berry and fruit plants and some seasonal accents, but in situations where a certain culture needs to be limited or restrained in development. Otherwise, the garden is literally left to itself, completely intended for relaxation and detachment from vanity and worries.

Most often, forest-style projects are split up where summer cottages are located in a forest area, there are many large trees on the site, or when they want to change the landscape in such a way as to create a feeling of unity with the surrounding panorama. But there are exceptions when the style of the site seems to argue with the environment. In this case, unless the garden is surrounded by very high walls and hedges, there is always a dissonance between the off-garden landscape and the site, there is no sense of harmony and authenticity.

A forest garden is a garden in which ancient forest landscapes are imitated, changed and transformed by time and nature itself, creating the illusion that a person's hand did not touch the site at all. This style suggests abandoning almost everything familiar in the arrangement of the site:

  1. The entire available area is used for landscaping, leaving only small secluded corners, installing pavilions or gazebos buried in greenery, abandoning lawns, paving, concrete, classic flower beds and spectacularly blooming crops. Small architecture, resting corners are hidden from direct view.
  2. Forget about the usual materials in forest decoration. In such gardens, either natural stone or wood is appropriate, and the latter is always preferable in the choice of small architecture and furniture, but stone is in the decor, the play of reliefs, the introduction of a variety of textures and accents in the composition.
  3. The entire garden is permeated with a network of winding, not subject to geometry and symmetry, comfortable, but as narrow as possible, wild-looking paths. They are made only from soft, free-flowing materials, abandoning borders in favor of a close summing up of forest thickets or wild-looking ground cover without a visible dividing line. The forest garden will fit into gravel from those types of stone that are characteristic of your area, crushed bark, sand, stone screenings, red clay or other decorative soil.
  4. The starting point of design is the plants already on the site. They are matched with ideal counterbalances and partners, creating their own forest oasis on the basis of the conditions presented by nature.
  5. As in any project, skeletal plantings and dominant plants, ornamental plantings, seasonal accents are distinguished in the forest. But plants are selected according to special rules, achieving maximum naturalness and "wildness" of the landscape. Even accents in a forest garden are made light, short-lived, preciously piece and natural. Ornamental plantings should look like landscape thickets, massifs, ornamental groups of shrubs. Flower beds or flower beds in forest decoration are not appropriate, instead they imitate wild continuous plantings.
  6. In the forest design, ponds with the most natural appearance, blurred boundaries, most often large, are welcome, in the landscaping of which the selection of plants capable of creating a "wild" effect is carefully thought out. But no worse, a stream will fit into the forest landscape, especially if it is possible to lay it for a considerable length and create elevation differences, hiding certain areas from direct viewing.
  7. The forest is never boring. If the garden is not flat, then playing up the height differences opens up special design possibilities that further enhance the impression of the style. But if the plot is practically flat, then artificially created rocky rockeries or alpine hills with a very attentive imitation of natural hills will add charm to the garden.
The landscape of the site, decorated in a forest style
The landscape of the site, decorated in a forest style

In the forest garden, they imitate seven levels of natural forest plants - from the canopy of giant trees to the plane of low ornamental species, the level of shrubs, lush herbaceous plants, the level of the ground and the rhizosphere - the underground level. But from a practical point of view, another classification is much more convenient, which conventionally divides landscaping into two types of objects:

  1. Lush thickets - woody, groups of shrubs and decorative plantings with a play of vertical relief. This includes dominants, and skeletal plantings, and arrays, background plants and the replacement of ordinary flower beds - all compositions and groups with a pronounced lush, volumetric relief and semantic load.
  2. Flat areas or meadows that play up the feeling of freedom and spaciousness prevent the whole design from becoming too gloomy. The planes are filled with light and balance all the elements with each other. A forest-style lawn has no place. But this does not mean that charming sun-drenched lawns, meadows and massifs cannot be interestingly decorated. A Moorish meadow with wild flowers, a clearing of aggressive ground covers, a moss lawn in the shade - these are the options that fit perfectly into the forest design.

To achieve not only aesthetic appeal, but also comfort in forest decoration, you need to maintain a balance, seek a balance between lush and flat plantings. First of all, you need to carefully select plants - so that in every opening panorama, every object and corner, the elements are in harmony with each other and with the site as a whole. The best option for a forest garden is a radial layout pushing away from the house. With this approach, the further you move deeper into the garden and move away from the building, the more lush, high and dense the thickets should become, the smaller the area is allocated to flat elements. The play of mass, volume, contours, textures, textures, light and shadow, zones of calmness and an explosion of colors should ideally correlate with each other and always and everywhere be balanced.

To achieve the full effect of wild planting, be sure to mulch the soil between the plants, creating a layer of crushed bark or other plant materials. It will not only minimize grooming, but also create the illusion of forest litter.

The forest style is often perceived as an option for decorating the entire site. But it can be limited to only one zone, only the far side of the garden or a certain part of it can be taken away, combining forest decoration with other brighter styles near the house or in the front garden.

Forest-style landscape design
Forest-style landscape design

Style markers

The main secret of creating plantings in which everything seems wild, ancient and as if transferred from a secluded thicket of the forest is the choice of plants that will set the tone and immediately, at first glance, will cause the necessary style associations.

For woodland imitations, ferns are the obvious choice. They create visual markers by which the forest character of the design is determined. Magnificent ostriches, kochedyzhnik and bracken, as well as other types of favorite garden ferns, even in the company with much more “garden”, obviously cultivated plants, will still create the feeling of a forest corner. And if a fern is planted next to even a plant that is not typical for a forest landscape, then both plants will "automatically" seem forest. It is very easy to trace the influence of marker plants on the example of junipers. If in the company of irises, thyme, stonecrops or carnations they make a predictable impression, then with ferns they "read" just like plants with a forest character.

The markers in this design include visual "details" that make plants set the image of the forest. A graphic crown pattern, lace branches and multi-stemmed silhouettes (for example, like hazel), multiple small flowers resembling moss textures, squat-spread shrubs, shoots gracefully curving in arcs, discreet, and smooth transitions of green color (game of halftones) and carved, pinnately -Cut leaves are visual markers that enhance the forest impression.

But besides the obviously "forest" ferns and other markers, it is worth thinking about getting as close as possible to the local flora and drawing inspiration from the search for plants in the nature that is around. Wander through the woods and peer into the undergrowth, note the plants that are found in the surrounding area in the wild. It is these crops that are worth focusing on in forest decoration. Special attention should be paid to shrubs, their local species will enhance the atmosphere of the forest parts of the garden several times.

Trees are the main stars

Any forest is dominated by woody ones. And in the garden, where they want to achieve forest illusions, it is worth starting the design with them. The choice of species and varieties is very important for both mood and stylistic expressiveness.

Imitating forest plantations and ancient thickets using artsy and fashionable views will not work. Going to extremes and transferring giants from the nearest forest is not worth it, because you cannot control and restrain them, no matter how hard you try. You just need to choose cultural species and forms so that the plantings retain their natural charm.

When choosing trees, you need to play with silhouettes, textures, lines and crown density, bark color, growth patterns. Trees with different character and habit, color of foliage and seasonal "zest" will enliven the garden and add variety. Solid and dense oaks, ornamental maples, touching birches or willows, bear walnut are the leading plants. There are even blooming stars of their own. Beautiful Japanese magnolias are ideal in terms of landscape beauty, but still out of place in a harsh climate and forest-style plant. They have their own alternatives. Ornamental apple trees are the first of them. There is a place in the forest garden for other fruit trees and hazel trees.

It is advisable to place trees on the site so that at least a third of the entire area is perceived as densely planted with giants. The forest garden is a shady garden, and the more tall trees there are, the better. One tree is worth highlighting (not necessarily in size), providing for an introduction to the family tree plan. The rest are united in seemingly random, improvised groups and arrays, between which wandering paths are laid.

Forest-style plot design
Forest-style plot design

Shrubs for every task

Do not think that decorating under trees is the lot of herbaceous plants. In a garden in which forest plantings are imitated, the main place in lush plantings, undergrowth and forest edge should be given not to them, but to shrubs that can take root and reveal their beauty even in strong shade. Excellent candidates are fieldfare, snowberry, holly, alpine currant, blackberry, yew. Low thickets of arched branches are podbela, fragrant raspberries inimitable in their peeling bark will easily keep them company in any shade. The wolf bast, which reveals its beauty in forest imitations in a new way, also belongs to the group of cultures with the effect of antiquity.

Foremost among the shrubs should be the cultures that characterize your area, are the typical species, and the most landscape of flowering shrubs. Terry varieties of bird cherry, irga, charming ornamental viburnum or even their common wild sisters, scumpia, hazel, common lilac, sea buckthorn, herbaceous and common elderberry, hawthorns, rose hips, hornbeams, varietal forms of conifers familiar to the eye, spireas, junipers, spirendrums, cleros Lespedets - these are the plants that will help you to effectively and "wildly" solve the usual tasks. They can be used:

  • in the creation of hedges both along the perimeter of the site, and to delimit zones;
  • for skeletal landings;
  • to create a lush background;
  • to add volume to landscaping;
  • in the creation of thickets;
  • for visual peaks and vertical accents.

It is a big mistake to consider modest and familiar views boring. After all, anyone who has ever admired the solo viburnum bush or the graceful arches of even ordinary, not varietal rose hips, will never say that these bushes are not interesting. They have a graceful yet almost untamed beauty and virgin charm, indispensable in the purest of landscape styles. The simplicity and purity of the style requires a choice of not fancy or spectacular, but charmingly atmospheric, wild in nature plants. Therefore, hedges made of yew or beech in a forest design will always be inferior in expressiveness to hawthorn and hornbeam.

Even in the design of water bodies, shrubs and woody ones should be used, peeping ideas from nature itself - willows, teren, black alder, marsh myrtle perfectly complement the forest water landscape.

Vines and grassy forest stars

Three favorites always break out of vines for forest style and imitation of ancient buildings - periwinkles as ground covers, ivy and maiden grapes. They can not only green the walls and facades, hide the boundaries of man-made buildings and communications, but can also easily help to give seclusion and a feeling of slight neglect, which is so appreciated in the illusions of aging. But there is one more vine, which is no worse to cope with the task - the curly hydrangea. If the task is to decorate large planes in shading, then the round-leaved wood plier and round-leaved aristolochia will cope better with the task.

The selection of purely decorative plants should be started with an almost ideal partner for ferns in the massifs - astilboides lamellar. This giant gives the compositions a completely new fullness and layering. Its main competitors - Rogers and Co., will cope with the task somewhat less wildly, but also effectively.

Indispensable in forest design are aquilegia - the main perennial in its own "magical" influence - and garden geraniums. Dark, light flowers and a different color effect of summer and autumn leaves of the latter, along with a beautiful pattern and texture of spots and carpets, allow you to place luxuriously noble accents in forest decoration, while not missing out on purely practical tasks like closing plantings and filling the area. Geraniums are perennials, with the help of which it is best to create imitations of ruins and ancient plantings, and are irreplaceable in forest decoration. And aquilegia, with its mystery, inconstancy, will bring grace and improvisation.

Forest-style plot
Forest-style plot

In forest decoration, especially if a large number of crops with dark green shades of color are used, you can also use a soft cuff, which looks inimitable in spots and groups, illuminates the compositions from the inside and plays with optical traps no worse than white-flowering crops. It, like geraniums, can be used to solve the problem of filling large areas and creating "planes".

Indispensable in forest plantings and a plant that, it would seem, certainly not associated with them - rhubarb. The large leaves and glowing cuttings look luxurious, but not as stylish as bergenia, which allows this edible crop to be used in wild designs. Will fit into the forest look and green hellebore, astilba, hosts, geykhera, daylilies, basil, loosestrife, volzhanka, mountain goat, comfrey, mint, lemon balm, oregano, cereals, etc.

From the ground cover in the forest design, the shade-tolerant European clefthoof looks great. Will fit into the style and blue lungwort, tenacious, violets, pachisandra, spotted beetle, prostrate veronica, epimedium. Will solve the problem of "wildness" of stone elements and saxifrage, and ivy budra. But special charm will help to achieve "berry" undersized thickets - genuine forest strawberries or much more decorative duchenei.

Blooming accents and bright plants in a forest setting should be used as light, desaturated, pastoral touches. In forest decoration, there is no need to calculate and plan a continuous flowering relay: just a few wild-looking crops, which seem to accidentally flare up in spots in a sea of ​​greenery, will make the right impression. The color scheme is usually limited to white and blue-violet with a rare splash of pink tones and piece yellow accents.

Landscape-style wild stars are used as flowering plants in forest style, and aquilegia is just one of them. Wild spring flowering anemones are also a great example. There is no prohibition on seasonal accents to imitate old plantings. Indeed, charming bulbous plants, which do not require annual digging, and setting strikingly touching accents - forest and Siberian scrub, crested beetles, snowdrops, lilies of the valley, Tommasini crocuses, will fit into any wild or ancient plantings. Their parade will be continued by other touching "savages" - bells, anemones, primroses, forget-me-nots, buttercups, veronica. And with lush astilbe or loosestrife, it is important not to overdo it.

The decor must be appropriate

A forest-style garden is not the place for fancy accessories. But there are exceptions to this rule: any "details" that emphasize the atmosphere and enhance the impression of the wilderness will be appropriate.

The most striking example of decor for a forest garden is an imitation of garden ruins. Large or very modest, they will emphasize the natural look and influence of time, make them look new and plantings, in which changes under the influence of time and wildlife will clearly be felt.

But even small "neglected" details, such as a garden lantern covered with patina, a broken jug into which ivy shoots, a moss-covered stone sculpture, an old "forgotten" service or an animal figurine, and other vintage objects that seem to have been transferred by time, will cope with the task of enhancing the stylistic influence not worse.

Decor in a forest style landscape design
Decor in a forest style landscape design

But still, it is impossible to find better accessories for the forest style than natural decor: cuts and log cabins used instead of furniture or stands, sculptures cut from the trunks of old trees are especially good in forest design.

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