Garden Design Planning
Good garden design starts with thinking before digging.
Garden design takes time. It’s too late to plan your garden when you are standing in the nursery eyeing every new plant that tempts you. Spend some time looking at your garden site, either during the off season, when you can really view it objectively or during the growing season, when your successes and failures make themselves known.
Once you have an idea of how you are going to use your garden, come back to reality and take an objective look at the site before you come up with your garden design. This is of utmost importance in determining which plants and trees you use to achieve the desired effect.
Monitor it during different times of the day and year:
1. How many hours of sun does the site receive?
2. What times of day is it sunny?
3. Does sun exposure change with the seasons? Do trees allow sun in the spring and shade during summer?
4. How is the soil, as far as pH and texture?
5. Are there structures such as garden workshops or large trees that will affect plant growth and selection?
6. Are there structures nearby that you would like to camouflage?
7. What plants are already growing there?
You know what you want to use your garden for, what you are working with and what resources you can devote to it. Now, what do you want it to look like?
Formal or informal? Wild?
Should it complement your house?
Do you want it to flow with the natural landscape?
Do you favor soft pastels or bold tropicals?
All these things might seem overwhelming, but you’ll be saving yourself a lot of time and a considerable amount of money if you take this advice and you’ll find that each step gets easier and more fun. Plant selection should be one of the last things you consider, or you may be overwhelmed trying to create a garden design to accommodate the dozens (or hundreds or even thousands) of plants you crave.
Know your planting zone
Before you buy that first plant, you have to know what your planting zone is. Without that knowledge, you can end up ordering all sorts of wonderful looking plants and shrubs only to find that they are not suitable for your planting zone and they will die. You will have spent time and money needlessly. If you’re buying by catalog or online, every plant and seed catalog or online merchant should show a planting zone map and each plant depicted should have an indication of the zones in which that particular plant (or tree, etc.) will thrive. You can also contact your local garden clubs or your county’s Agriculture Extension Bureau with your questions regarding the suitability and care of plants for your particular area. This knowledge is of critical importance, particularly if you have moved from one area to another. Not only will you save money, but you will avoid countless hours of frustrating work in your garden.
Keep in mind what your garden will be used for and when. This is important in your plant consideration. If you plan to entertain a lot and don’t want to spend all summer on chores, look for lower maintenance plants that don’t require constant dead heading and staking to look good and, if you are planting for small children, choose plants that will bloom at their eye level, with interesting textures and scents and non-poisonous flowers and seeds.
Make a list of the plants you like and group them by colour, texture and form – the garden design triumvirate. Also chart them by season of bloom and/or interest. Consider both flowers and foliage. There are more and more plants being bred with colorful foliage that will provide interest in the garden all season.
Be sure to include some large anchor plants that will look good all year. These are usually shrubs and often evergreens. Most small to average gardens can only accommodate 1 or 2 trees or shrubs, but they are important for providing the good bones of the garden and you want to choose wisely at the beginning. Trees and shrubs can be very difficult and heavy to move around.
Planting bulbs for added beauty
A wonderful way to use bulbs effectively is to naturalise daffodils in a wooded area or group them for colorful accent around evergreen shrubs. High quality Dutch flower bulbs can be ordered online from reputable catalogers and merchants who will advise you as to what’s appropriate for your area. The use of a garden shed can help in the planning stages.
Plan ahead when planting bulbs; i.e., for spring flowering you plant in the autumn. Follow directions accompanying your bulbs regarding depth (usually six inches) and fertiliser (there are special bulb fertilisers that should be put in the planting holes). An important reminder – again: Know your planting area before ordering any bulbs. They all look so beautiful in the catalogs, but what grows well in the south, in most instances, will not grow in Scotland! Special tools for planting bulbs are also available online. They make digging holes so much easier than using a simple trowel. Check them out.
Landscaping Ideas For the Garden You Can Do Yourself
Lots of easy landscaping ideas for the yard and garden can be done in just one weekend. You may have recently moved into a new home or have lived at the same location for many years and decide the yard needs a little pizazz.
There are many places to search for outdoor landscaping ideas if you are new to this type of development. Local home and garden centres are a great place to start if you prefer to implement it yourself rather than hire a professional landscaping service. The Internet has a huge online resource of information for anyone that is a beginner or for someone who is knowledgeable in landscaping but just needs a few new and creative ideas for their home.
Take into account the amount of spare time you will need. You will need to allocate time in order to design, set up and take care of your new outdoor project. Some garden landscaping will take quite a bit of time to design and set up, but will be worth it in the end since there will be relatively no maintenance from week to week. Some simple designs for outdoor landscaping can be implemented with practically no extra time, but require quite a bit of maintenance in order to keep it looking as it did when you first set it in place.
Yes, you can install a water feature in just one weekend and with minimal cost if you are willing to do a little digging and move a few large rocks into place. Have a barbecue and invite a few of your friends over to help. There are pond and waterfall kits available that are easy to install. You can add a summerhouse or log cabin as a background but it can be totally open plan.
Do a little research on the types of plants that will do well in your area. If you live in the south you will probably not plant the same flowers and trees that do well in the north or on the colder east coast. The local nursery would be a great source of advice and will have in stock most of the plants you may want.
If you are trying for a low maintenance project stay away from plants that need a lot of attention such as pruning, mulching, fertilising, and replanting every spring. Hearty evergreens and shrubs don’t need a lot of water and don’t need pruning.
The key to landscaping is to not be afraid to try something new. Not all gardens need to have a grassy area. Grass is so high maintenance. Try using different types of rock and paver for pathways and sitting areas. The visual interest will be heightened with plants of different sizes, shapes and colors.
Landscaping ideas for the yard and garden you can do yourself are very rewarding. Anybody can write a cheque to a landscape architect but only a few can accomplish a back or front yard landscaping project themselves. It will be your own creation designed by your imagination.