When it is time to start planning your decorative garden, you need to build your design step by step. This is particularly true if you are new to gardening; but even seasoned gardeners can benefit from a systematic approach. At American Natural Products, we want to see you succeed with your garden, naturally! Follow these seven steps to create the perfect garden plan.
Step 1: Select a Theme for Your Garden
You may already have an intuitive sense of how you want your garden to look. Choosing a theme for your decorative garden helps you focus the design. A theme also takes advantage of the knowledge of generations of master gardeners. Look through gardening magazines or research some of these ideas on the Internet:
- Shady garden areas may be suitable for a woodland garden. Plant bulbs and flowering groundcovers. Build miniature fairy houses from all-natural garden materials.
- A formal garden has strong boundaries, limited colors that match exterior paint, and symmetry. Think of the English rose garden.
- The less-formal cottage garden has plenty of roses and other colorful flowers. Add herbs and wonderful-smelling plants. Install a birdhouse or arbor.
- The Asian garden is typically placed in raked stones or sand. You would want to research this to discover Japanese maple trees, azaleas, dwarf conifers and fruit trees that have beautiful flowers. Look up Japanese Zen gardens for ideas.
- The tropical garden, perfect for warmer climates, has brightly colored flowers and leafy foliage. Water, such as a stream or fountain, add ambiance.
- Do you live in a desert area? Choose plants that love the heat, such as succulents and cacti. Fill in with plenty of stone pathways. If you select plants that need more water, place them where you can water them easily.
Step 2: Brainstorm Ideas
Sit down with a blank piece of paper or word processing screen. Start brainstorming ideas about what you might like for this year’s garden. Write bullet points and short phrases, such as “carrots” or “minimal weeding.” Clip out pictures or start a pin board on Pinterest. Write down successes you would like to repeat from past years, as well as new ideas.
Step 3: Take Stock of Your Gardening Area
Use graph paper and draw a plan of your garden site. Use a measuring tape. Indicate areas of shade, and sunny spots. On your drawing, show existing features such as a bird bath, raised beds, tiered flowerbeds, paths, etc.
Step 4: Write Down What is Realistic
Filter through your brainstorming material to come up with your main goals for the garden. Highlight them or write them on a new page. Look at your plan and decide what you’d like to keep the same and what you want to change. A little thinking here will help you clarify your goals realistically.
Step 5: Try Drawing Some Designs
Use tracing paper or garden planning software to try different designs. Place the paper over your plan and try adding your new garden features. Also see how it looks when you leave something out. Write in what would go where. It’s not necessary to use full plant names or commit to specific plants at this point. For example, “potted annuals” is fine. You can refine the details later.
Step 6: Break it Down
Now that your sketch is complete, break the plan down into bite-sized pieces. Plan to do one project at a time.
Step 7: Make Changes In Order
Sort the projects into a do-able order, starting with what will go on the ground: for example, planting soil, paving, and any groundcover. Then, update any structures like trellises, fencing, and hedges. If you want a pergola or arch, add it next. Then install containers, seating, and ornaments.
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