Five Garden Design Basics Secrets
Garden design is not so complicated as one might think. One of the first steps of course is to decide what kind of garden you want and where you want to put it. What type of garden building would you like. Will a summer house be key to your design or the addition of a garden workshop will work for you.
Many time a garden is just a bunch of plantings stuck in willy nilly without any rhyme or reason, and if any of you have been following me for any length of time you know that I feel that is alright. I feel that a garden is personal and the only person that needs to like it is the person who built it.
That being said there are some rules of thumb in garden design that will help you with your plan, and in this post I will talk about 5 garden design basics that will help you improve your garden design.
Garden Design Rules
Draw A Plan
A plan is important even a simple sketch will give you a way to try different ideas on paper before you commit to the actual plan. Spending money then finding out that what you thought you wanted is not what you wanted at all is not only expensive it is frustrating as well!
The easiest way to try different designs is to make a template of your yard and then make copies so that you can redo things with out redrawing fixed elements. A fixed element is something like a wall, a fence, patio, driveway, trees, shrubs, anything that is existing and go from there. When making the template make sure you take measurements of the area and put those right on the template so you will be able to tell how many feet it is from the edge of the patio to the fence, tree, garage, etc so you will now know how much area you have to work with. I suggest you take the measurements from the property lines to the elements from both of the sides and front and rear property lines. Then make a dozen or so photo copies.
Deciding The Function
You should have a clear idea of how you will be using your garden space and how it will fit into the overall way in which you and your family uses your outdoor space. If you have a lot of parties and entertain a lot be sure that you design adequate space to allow for seating and perhaps a focal area such as a fireplace or fire pit. You may want to build an outdoor bar, kitchen, or dining area just be sure that there is a good traffic flow pattern so that your guest can easily maneuver from place to place.
If you have children then a play area is a must children need areas to run around and adding features such as swing sets or sandboxes are always good things to help them burn energy and entertain them selves. An important thing about sand boxes make sure they have covers or you may quickly find out that the neighborhood cats have found a new litter box which would make it an unhealthy place for the children to play in. Another thing to remember as children grow the size and functions of their play area will change so always plan for these future changes in your design.
For those of us with dogs remember Ted The Wonder Terrier needs space as well. Dogs love to run and play and of course they need an area to take care of their business as well. You certainly do not want to walk out to the garden and find that Ted has turned your pampered exotic flower bed into a his treasure trove of hidden bones.
The Odd Number Rule
When ever planting it is always best to group plants into clusters of 3,5,7, or more odd numbers. The reason is that the subconscious divides even numbered objects into halves and they appear more ordered and formal. The subconscious mind can not divide odd number objects into halves thereby creating a more natural and flowing appearance. So unless you are looking for a formal garden with straight lines and even numbers of everything than always use the odd number rule.
What Color Where
The hardest part many gardeners face is deciding what colors to plant together when doing garden design. The truth is that once you understand a few basics the process becomes very easy especially if you utilise the color wheel. Let me break this down into 4 different types of color schemes. But first let me tell you about Neutral Colors.
Neutral colors are white, black, grey, silver and shades of brown in garden design they will go with any other color you are using without changing the effect you are trying to achieve. Green can also be a neutral color because it can tone down other colors or be used as a buffer between plants. While white is a neutral color it is also serves another function in that it glows in the early morning,evening and at night so it you view your garden a lot after dark use a healthy dose of white and silver to enhance it’s appearance.
One of the easiest color schemes to pull off in that it simply utilizes different shades of one color. While this may sound boring great depth and interest can be created by using the various shades of a single color.
Analogous colors are simply put touch each other on the color wheel such as red and orange, orange and yellow, yellow and green, green and blue, blue and violet, and violet and red. These could also be red, orange, and yellow or blue, violet, and red.
Complimentary colors are colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel like violet and yellow, red and green, and orange and blue. These can give a pop of color to any bed.
The last color scheme I want to talk about is the color triad created by drawing an equilateral triangle connecting 3 colors in the color wheel an example would be red, yellow and blue.
Once you have chosen your colors it is simply a matter of doing a bit of experimenting to find the combination you like best. Remember dark colors tend to give a senses of calm and serenity while bright colors provide you with as sense of energy and excitement.
The last gardening design basic is timing the color this does not just mean flowering plants but flowering trees and shrubs as well. Spring and summer flowering shrubs can add great splashes of color in the garden and complement flowerbeds. Many also have great colorful berries that will also add color to your garden.
Many people think of trees that bloom in the early spring as flowering trees but there are also trees which bloom in the summer and fall as well depending on the part of the country you lie in. Try and incorporate all the plant elements you can into your garden design to have the most interesting garden. By proper planning you can have flowers and color in your garden from early spring to the end of fall. Don’t forget the fabulous fall leaf color of many shrubs and trees.
Hopefully you will be able to use these basics to enhance your garden design. Just remember that the best garden design will be the one that pleases you while maybe not the masses, but you are the one that counts the most when it comes to your garden.