Evolution of Garden Design

I checked out a few gardening books from the library this afternoon. One detailed garden design trends through history (from the 1600s onward), the other illustrated various classic combinations of flowers.

They've given me several new ideas for developing my garden. I'm now considering elongating the entrance pergola inward from the fence, and using it to grow climbing squash and beans. I'm still leaning toward planting trees toward the back, but now I'm thinking I might make a cordon type espalier of fruit trees instead of just letting them grow naturally (or doing both along different portions of the fence).

I also got more ideas for arranging narrow beds, I'll just have to work out again where the main wheelbarrow paths will go. I've found that there really isn't a huge need to get a wheelbarrow around the garden once it's established, so having fewer wheelbarrow paths than I originally designed probably won't be a hardship. And now I've got more ideas how to better fill out the narrow beds by using contrasting colors of varietals in each one (example: alternating red and green leaf lettuces for a pleasing pattern).

I no longer feel a pull toward pretty brick and gravel walks-- although they do look gorgeous in the photos, all I can think of now is how uncomfortable it is on the knees while weeding, and how unpleasant to walk on in bare feet (although the all-brick walks are fine for the feet they're still hard on the knees). Now, I look at all the historical garden photos and think how much improved the garden would be were the paths lined with carpet. Although I concede it would look best if the carpet were all one strip for each path and the same color, I can also just put that down as something to work towards. If someone is re-carpeting their whole house, and removing a quantity of carpet that is uniform, I could easily outfit my garden with whatever is removed. Remember, I'm currently working with just the carpet from a single room, so it's not surprising I might run out. Then again, with a redesign, I might make it work. But it still will have a lot of cuts and overlaps. I put a listing on the local freecycle board, trying to get more carpet.