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Garden Design: Think In Threes

(credit: Phran Novelli)

(credit: Phran Novelli)

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By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - One of the most elegantly-easy-to-use ideas at the Flower Show was a simple reminder of a good rule of garden design: thinking in threes.

My friend Jim pointed out how well the exhibit inspired by Ireland’s coast road showed off the simple principle of planting and arranging things by three.

At the top was a sculpture, known in Ireland as a dolmen, of three flat stones positioned rather like an arch or a bench. As your eyes travelled down the hillside garden, you saw sets of three stones, interspersed with three patches of daffodils here, then three ferns over there and so on.

Further down, three white azaleas were arranged around smaller stones set in triple curls called ‘Celtic spirals,’ (but similar designs have also been seen around the world since ancient times).

Designing in threes is pleasing to the eye and a triangle makes a nice grouping that guides your view.

So, when designing a garden or deciding how many of each thing to buy – whether trees, shrubs, stones, groups of perennials, patches of bulbs, or packs of annuals – consider thinking in threes.

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