The lone voice of horticultural reason

Welcome, comrades.

Day after tomorrow, the world!

RENEGADE GARDENER is the Web’s best site for gardeners seeking truth, hope, and one lousy sign that someone unfettered by industry prejudice is helping you become a better gardener.

Originally designed to help gardeners banished to the forgotten USDA Zones 2-4, bold content has made it one of the Web’s most-linked gardening sites. Gardening is gardening, design is design, dumb is dumb, and truth conquers all!

The Renegade Gardener is Don Engebretson, an award-winning Minnesota garden writer and designer.

The Story of the Renegade Gardener

NEW! Click HERE for Don’s 2018 
national speaking schedule


Balancing Act

Balance in formal design is as simple as placing plants symmetrically.

Most gardeners understand and recognize the design concept of balance when gazing at a formal landscape. If there is a dwarf blooming tree in one corner of a square or rectangular garden room, there is the same plant in the other three corners. A tall, narrow shrub standing sentry on one side of a gate, arbor or entryway will have its match directly on the other side.

Yet creating balance is just as important in informal landscape design, while also more difficult to achieve. Instead of a formal design where one half mirrors the other, one must judge what I call the “visual weight” of the various plants chosen and placed throughout the informal landscape.

It’s a difficult concept to describe solely in words, but simple to explain with photos, so I’m going to use three photos and describe what’s creating the balance in each:


Current Column will be updated on April 1.

The 10 Tenets of Renegade Gardening

Full version is required reading: CLICK HERE.

  1. Gardening should be challenging, relaxing, and fun.
  2. Renegade Gardeners are cautious and wise when perusing the plethora of products and plants sold by the commercial gardening industry.
  3. Gardening involves commitment.
  4. Renegade Gardeners learn the Latin names of the plants they grow.
  5. Gardening is not always easy.
  6. Renegade Gardeners come to realize that lawns are essentially a dumb idea.
  7. Gardening and rock music do not mix.
  8. Renegade Gardeners buy first from local growers.
  9. There is nothing wrong with cutting down a tree on your property.
  10. Irreverence is essential.