Flat garden? Try manipulating the ground.
Earth sculpting use to be all natural – not now. I am unsure if there was a trend in Australian gardens during the 70s but I do remember neighbours doing ever so gentle earth sculpting and arranging boulders and a few native trees. That was a ‘natural’ type of garden art.
These days earth sculpting has moved beyond recreating nature. Earth shapes have become more interesting. The above photo is of the famous garden designed by Charles Jenks for the National Galleries of Scotland. Below is a shot of Charles Jenks recent naked lady designed for a new landform park in Northumbland. Its due to open in 2013.
Creating shapes with soil may seem straightforward but its a tad more complicated than building a 20 cm high sand castle using wet sand on the beach. In general the steeper the slope the more readable landforming becomes but steeps slopes are prone to slipping. Its all dependant on variables such as soil type, geology, vegetation and loadings – if you need help a geotechnical engineer will know .
There are various techniques available to stablise steep slopes. One of those techniques involves the use of a ground reinforcing material such as Neoweb which is now made from recycled plastics. Its similar to a honey-comb structure and provides pockets for holding soil or crushed rock in place. Very handy for garden art comprised of steep mown grass slopes.
I have worked on large infrastructure projects so am familar with ground reinforcing products but I do wonder if the shape of the domestic garden would take on a different appearance if gardeners started experimenting with products like Neoweb?
If you need more info on stabilising your earth shaping projects have a look at http://www .hoofmark.co.uk/neoweb_load_support.html