Well, if you can imagine a garden border or bed made up with plants and flowers that are growing up and then fading away during the years seasonal cycle and then imagine the shrubs, smaller trees, bushes and even statuary that stay as a constant feature, then that is the structure.
Structure planting is the back bone of any planting plan or garden design, it is the thing that everything else hangs off and provides a constant in any garden. Also, if done correctly it can lift any garden scheme from being run of the mill to being something really eye catching. With the the correct structured planting you are using good design to draw the eye to areas views and vistas that you want the onlooker to see. It also provides a constant form and focal point. Rather than talking about it let me show you an example.
(Tuinzondernaam – The Netherlands)
To start with I have chosen a very obvious example of really good use of structure in a garden. Although you may think that is little over the top for an average back garden, the principles of the use of structure planting are the same. If you broke the view in the picture down and removed some of the structure and design, the garden would start to look a lot different. Even if you only removed the urn and the bust on the plinth the eye would not be drawn as much as it is down the centre and your eye would wander without a focal point. All these techniques can be used in any garden or outside space to create and enhance any style and feel of garden.
Above is an image of some classic English cottage garden style planting. This is typically a very informal style of planting, however even here structure has been used to add hight and a focal point. If you removed the woven pyramids from the picture then the planting would not work nearly as well.
Adding these constant design and structural elements brings in interest and form to any garden whatever its style. It can be a little daunting at first but experimenting is half the fun, try things out and see what happens! If you need a hand, get in touch.