Knot Garden at Wynn Las Vegas Knot Garden at Wynn Las Vegas

How to Create a Knot Garden

September 17, 2012

A knot garden is a formal gardening technique that uses tightly clipped hedges to create designs. The designs are range from simple shapes to intricate patterns. The common thread between knot gardens is the interlaced designs.

The structure of the design is the clipped hedges. The open areas of the design are filled with colorful plants to accentuate the design.

To create a knot garden, prepare your garden bed and then plan out the design. It is easiest to visualize the design by laying a garden hose along the path of the proposed hedges. For more intricate designs, drive stakes into the soil at the corners of the design and then tie string between to give you the visual line for the hedge.

Tip: Symmetrical designs have a more formal "feel" and free flowing asymmetrical designs are more informal.

Once you have created your design, you're ready to plant the hedge. The knot garden hedge is smaller than a traditional hedge, so choose plants that stay small and fit the scale of your garden. Small leaves are also a plus - they create a more uniform look when the hedge matures.

Miniature varieties of boxwood are used in traditional English knot gardens. But a little creativity and a trip to the local plant nursery can yield some fun and surprising results! I've even seen a small edible knot garden where the gardener used thyme for the hedge. Just make sure to choose plants that can stand the clipping needed for hedging and work well in your garden conditions.

Creating a new hedge can also create the temptation to place the plants far too close together. The key is to space the plants so when they are mature, the branches will interlace by a couple inches. If the width of the mature plant is twelve inches, space them at around nine or ten inches apart.

A knot garden is a large investment of time, so space your plants appropriately to ensure the best possible hedge when the plants are mature. (You wouldn't want a mess of hedge after spending so much time creating it.) As the hedge grows, clip the hedge to encourage the shape of your design.

The empty spaces between the knot garden hedges are excellent places for colorful plants or flowers. Each space should be filled with a solid color to create the most visual impact. Select plants that when mature, are shorter than your hedge. If they are taller, the design will be lost in the plants.

A knot garden does require time. The largest investment of time is creating it. Make sure to set aside a few minutes on the weekends to clip the stray branches of the hedge and you will save yourself a headache of cleaning up a neglected hedge.

If you love formal gardening, clipping hedges and have a bit of space begging for plants, plant a knot garden!


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