Not Your Ordinary Garden Design

Welcome to Plant Exchange where we share about plants and the people who grow them.

This week’s topic was a happy find. The program for the International Master Gardener Conference in Council Bluffs last September overflowed with horticulture information. I attended the Piet Oudolf, plant designer session by mistake.

Piet Oudolf, who lives in the Netherlands, has a distinct view of how to achieve a natural design. Below is an example of how he positions groups of plants in drifts or overlapping areas. He uses native plants and naturalized plants in his design like his work on a Nantucket Island landscape shown on his website.


Oudolf sees a natural meadow with flowers and grasses not as random dots of color and texture, but as multiple areas of like plants that re-seed and produce more of its kind in organic shapes in a landscape.

To illustrate his view of the natural setting in the Northern Plains, the bands of color and texture in this field of buckwheat shows these defined areas. Plants are placed here for utility of planting and harvest instead of art, but one can see beauty illustrated by the layers of plants.


In Nature, Piet Oudolf sees a natural setting and interprets it by his design of plant areas he groups together. One can see areas of green in this natural spot on the sound side of the North Carolina Outer Banks.  Note three  layers of darker green on the right side of the photo.


For more detail about Piet Oudolf’s natural designs see the Yankton Press & Dakotan article here:

While we want you to enjoy more of Plant Exchange, if you want to see more of Piet Oudolf’s designs, go to

Thanks for all the “Likes” you send our way. Thanks to our loyal “Followers.” We hope you’ll find time to enjoy the outdoors this week.





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