Massing for Impact


You know how designers are always telling us to mass perennials in sweeps for impact?  Well, same goes for shrubs, and this example from today's Garden Conservancy Open Gardens of DC illustrates the point. 

In other garden-tour news, the rich-folk gardens of DC clearly surpassed the opulence of even the rich-folk gardens of Northern Virginia – starting with the very idea of having a five-acre garden in the wealthiest neighborhood in town.  I kept wondering:  Where DO these people get all that money?


  1. I know massing is a good design idea, but having neither the $$ or the space, I tend to have a hodgepodge instead. Oh well, it’s nice to see what one can do with ample quantities of both! But I have to say, hydrangeas in the winter, not so spiffy.

  2. Wow those hydrangeas do look nice clumped together!!! the hosta border is nice too! I might have to try this with the three hydrangeas I bought last month.

    Ben Thomas

  3. There is a mass planting of the native Hydrangea arborescens on the slope below the scenic highway, the top border of my baby garden, planted by nature itself. I am trying to encourage this natural mass planting by killing off the rest of the mass planting of blackberries and the native plant I am learning to hate, Clematis virginiana. Damn vine swallows everything.

  4. I’ve been trending toward massing plants more in designs the past few years. Costs the customer more, but it’s not that much.

    Also massing trees, like 3 or 5 where space allows. Works fine by pruning and training the trees into one canopy as if there is an imaginary trunk.

    Single trees are okay too.

    M. D. Vaden

    Beaverton / Portland

  5. I planted 3 ‘Baptisia Australis’ side by side to delineate a coneflower bed (also planted en masse) from the lawn. One false indigo is eye-catching, but three in a row? Fuggetaboutit. They need two small, mounded shrubs in front of them, though. I’m thinking a couple of dwarf spireas. Any suggestions?

  6. I don’t want my garden to “impact” me or anybody else. I love to visit gardens that have been designed, then come home and have fun in my own.

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