One of The Most Valuable Gardening Activities: Garden Design

Many people shy away from building new gardens because they fear that with all the hard work required to build them, their gardens won't look as good as they think. But once the work is done, taking the time to properly design the garden will certainly bring great benefits. The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.

raised garden bed

If you want to do it yourself, you should start here:

1. Define the space

Where will your garden be located? Is it a welcome garden located in your front yard, a shaded garden under trees in your backyard, where grass no longer grows, or a garden that attracts birds to your property? The first step is to envision your new garden and define its boundaries. If your garden is going to have straight sides, you can use some stakes and ropes to block the space. If you envision a rounded curved edge of a raised garden bed, use a section of hose laid on the ground to set the boundary. Once this is done, mark the border with spray can marking paint.

2. Make a plan

Every good garden starts with a good plan. Take the time to draw a bird's-eye view of the garden at as close scale as possible. It is not difficult to do this with a tape measure, some graph paper, and pencils. Start by drawing the boundary, using squares on graph paper to represent a predetermined distance. After drawing the boundary, sketch any existing features (existing trees, shrubs, sidewalks, walls, fences, and so on) that will remain part of the garden when it is complete. At this point, if your drawing is small enough to copy it, you may need to make some copies in case you want to create multiple designs.

raised garden beds

3. Plant selection.

Next, let these creative juices start to infiltrate and sketch in the garden plants you want. This part is both creative and practical. In addition to artistic choices, you must keep in mind the site conditions that exist in the garden (sun/shade, wet/dry, slopes, deer, etc.). Each type of plant grows best under its optimal growing conditions, and once your garden is complete, focusing on individual needs will reward you with healthier, happier plants.

Diversity adds interest and excitement to the garden. When you choose a plant, your mantra should be "How is this plant different from the other plants I choose?" By changing the leaf shape, leaf color, flower color, ripe size, seasonal interest, and flowering time, you can create a garden with a sustained appeal. For example, planting a host next to a fern can contrast leaf texture; Ornamental grasses and shrub roses also work well together in a complete sunny garden; Interspersing plants with variegated or colored (except green) leaves is also a great way to add variety.

Choosing plants for an art garden design can be overwhelming when you consider the sheer number of options available. Here are some tools that can help you narrow down your options:

Flowering time summary
Plant property search
Featured plants with expert reviews
Merit plants
Kemper Slides
Annual performance test

A word about plant size: Always keep in mind how big your plants are expected to grow. When they look so small when planted, it is tempting to install more plants than necessary. Perennials and annuals usually thin easily when they spread too much after a few years, but they are more difficult to control when trees, shrubs, and evergreens begin to crowd each other. Resist the urge to design a garden that immediately looks full. Some gardens can take years to become beautiful works of art envisioned by designers.

4. Redesign regularly.

Once your plan is complete, you can build and plant your new garden. However, the design is never completely complete. Every garden, young or old, is a constant "progressive work". Plants can suffer or die from insect or disease problems, severe weather events, or overcrowding as they grow and increase in size. When these things happen, they may need to be removed and/or replaced periodically. This is part of the garden design fun - the opportunity to change and update your garden beds, add new plants or use old favorites in new combinations.

raised garden beds

Garden design is one of the most valuable gardening activities. Whether you're starting with a small garden bed next to a patio or moving into a new building on bare ground, taking it one step at a time will remove some of the worries from the design process.

Visit some gardening centers whenever you are looking for fresh design ideas. There's no better place to find new, exciting ways to design and create beautiful gardens!