If you are ANYTHING like me, you are overwhelmed by landscape design. I mean, I love those cool little graph paper sketches with color coded plants and hardscaping ideas! But yes, I am still overwhelmed and cannot for the life of me figure out how to actually design a garden that way. I’ve tried it. I start with a blank sheet of graph paper and draw in my house and deck and existing HUGE oak tree and then, I’m stuck. What to do next???
For me, the absolute easiest way to design a garden is to actually do it in pieces, a section at a time. Whether your yard is large or postage stamp size, this will work. It will NOT be instant gratification though. If you want a finished garden, you would be better off to hire a landscape designer and get it all done at one time. But if you enjoy planting and making your garden personalized to you, this will work for you.
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Every single garden area in my yard has been started by an inspiration piece.
- That inspiration piece could be a plant!
- It could be the need to hide an ugly view.
- Or, more than likely it will be a piece of garden art in my case.
1. You may be at the nursery and just find a plant that you HAVE to have! And we know how often that happens, so then we get home and have to find a place for it. This plant will be your inspiration piece. Walk around the yard with it and place it in different spots until you find the right one. Be sure to keep in mind its growing conditions on the tag.
2. Your neighbor may have
an ugly, old, tires flat RV sitting right next to the lot line something that you’d like to obscure from your view. In this totally hypothetical case, you will need to search for plants that are big enough, or will grow big enough, to hide the view and that will be green year ’round.
3. Or you may be at your favorite nursery that specializes in garden art and find a piece that speaks to your heart. Such was the case for me this summer when I saw a Venus statue. I knew she was what I wanted for my birthday and Mr. Menace obliged.
I had no idea where I would put her or what I wanted to do with her. I just knew that I had to have her.
We have young granddaughters and I KNOW they will be asking why she is naked. This question churned in the back of my mind for a day or two and eventually prompted my new garden design… a hidden garden! Obviously, a naked lady doesn’t want just everyone to see her so she would love to be in a secret garden where only invited guests would even know of her existence.
FIND SUITABLE PLANTS:
In this case, it would take tall plants to make this hidden garden and that’s when I realized that I already had the makings of a hidden garden with just a few tiny changes and some additional plantings. My brick wall garden could easily turn into a secret garden.
The tall but skinny Italian Cypress trees that I already had planted were the perfect structure for a hidden garden. By adding a couple more on each end and planting them in a curved pattern, Venus would be totally hidden from the outside world.
And a garden is designed! Adding more evergreens is the backbone of this new garden and then adding more shrubs in front of them, hydranges, gardenias, and a few pots that are the same color as Venus completes the look for now.
I can hardly wait for it all to grow in and make it truly hidden.
- Wanting to hide an ugly view is how I designed my Ginger Rock Garden, which is still a work in progress. The tall shrubs that I planted in back are slow getting going but one day they will do the job that I want them to do.
- Mr. Menace had a book signing at our local hardware store one Saturday and I took a break from my editor/sales/promotional director job…
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… by wandering through the plants outside when a scent told me there was a plant that I just HAD to have! I then walked along sniffing until I located the source of the divine smell and found that it belong to a yellow rose.
So… the easiest way to design a garden?
- decide what your goal is for the area that you want to design.
- Or find that totally awesome plant and then decide how you want to display it to its fullest potential.
- Or use that beautiful piece of art to inspire a new garden area.
Sometimes it may take a while for the perfect idea to come to you and that’s ok. It will come.