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A garden is a planned space, usually outdoors, and usually of a somewhat limited size, which is typically set aside for the display, cultivation and enjoyment of nature. The garden allows a person or persons to develop slowly and personally a relationship with the space. That relationship is of a personal nature and may take many forms. Among these: 

Cooperation with nature 
Plant cultivation 
Animal husbandry 
Observance of nature 
Bird watching 
Reflection on the changing seasons 
Family dinners on the terrace 
Children playing in the yard 
Reading in the hammock 
Puttering in the flowerbeds 

The garden generally incorporates natural, as well as man-made materials. In its most common form, known as a residential garden, it is found adjacent to or near to a residence, and it functions as an outdoor "room". In the same manner as an indoor space can function in many different ways, depending on a variety of factors, so too can a garden have many purposes; among these are aesthetic, functional and recreative purposes. The purpose of a garden will greatly affect its usage and design. 

These general characteristics of the garden can be compared to other spaces as follows: 

A landscape is an outdoor natural space of a larger scale often considered from a distance. 
A park is a planned outdoor space, usually of a larger size, intended for public or semi-public use. 
An arboretum is a planned outdoor space, usually of a larger size, intended for the display and study of trees. 
A farm or orchard is intended for the production of food stuff. 
The garden is designed at "human scale", as it is most often intended for private, semiprivate or limited use. These characteristics are not hard and fast. For example, the garden of a castle or of a large estate may be larger than a public park in a village, and may well produce food stuff. A publicly accessible garden will be open to the public, and may be highly trafficked. 

Gardening is the activity of growing and maintaining the garden's vegetation. This work may be done by a professional gardener. A gardener might work in a non-garden setting, such as a park, a roadside embankment, or another public space, and might also perform other activities, unrelated to the garden's vegetation. 

Garden planning and design

Garden planning and design may be undertaken by a professional. A landscape architect is a trained, certified and registered professional who can plan and actualize a wide variety of outdoor spaces. A garden designer is usually trained to plan and actualize residential gardens. 
Regardless if planned and designed by a professional or a non-professional, including the owner of the property, consideration must be given to many factors. Among these are: 

Intended purpose 
Existing conditions 
Financial constraints 
Maintenance implications 
Elements of a garden
Natural conditions: 

Light conditions 
Air quality 
Proximity to ocean (salinity) 

Man-made elements: 

Terrace, patio, deck 
Raised beds 
Outdoor art/sculpture 
Pool, other water elements 

Types of gardens

Gardens are often categorized by a particular style, function or their extensive use of particular plants. Because gardens are a personal expression, they often cross the bounds of these categories by mixing elements of the various types. Below are some common garden types: 

Gardens may feature a particular plant or plant type: 

Cactus garden 
Rose garden 
Wildflower garden 

Gardens may feature a particular style or aesthetic: 

Alpine or rock garden 
Cottage garden 
Formal garden 
Informal garden 
Japanese garden 
Naturalistic garden 
Wild garden 

Gardens may function in a particular manner: 

Botanical garden 
Raised bed gardening 
Residential garden 
Roof garden 
Water or soil-less gardening (hydroponics) 
Vertical garden 
Zoological garden 

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