Pauses Along the Way

Strong transitions make moving through a garden a satisfying experience.

By Shirley Remes


how to create flow in the gardenGardeners love plants, no news in that. Often this enthusiasm results in beds and borders planted all over a property, with no rhyme or reason. A landscape filled with planting areas that don’t relate to each other doesn’t look good or feel right. What’s needed are transitions. When the transitions between garden areas are good, a landscape flows.

Ted Nyquist and his wife, Gidget, bought a house on nearly 7 acres in Bartlett, Illinois, about 50 miles west of Chicago. Nyquist traveled for business before he retired and would often visit arboreta and public gardens for inspiration. Nowadays, he works in his garden mostly single-handedly while Gidget uses her artistic skills in potting up the containers.

Nyquist didn’t have a master plan when he began setting out his garden 23 years ago, but this former organic chemist and avid photographer who is also president of the Midwest Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society is adept at tying the varied spaces together. Whether we have small spaces or large ones, we can all learn from the design elements he uses to guide visitors through his garden.