image by S. F. Heron
Gardens frame your home and add the perfect finished touch to the outdoor landscape. Garden landscaping design begins with choosing the garden location and plants that will complement your home. Gardens can be a simple, pleasing addition to your home or serve a specific function. Designing a garden reflects your personality in ways similar to indoor decorating. Your choice of plants, focal point, edging and blending with the existing landscape indicates how much emphasis you want on that particular garden.
Measure the dimensions of your home and existing hardscape (permanent) features such as walkways, driveways, decks, porches, patios, swimming pools and retaining walls. Transfer these measurements to the graph paper using a scale such as one block on the paper equals 1 foot in reality.
Visit the exact site where you'd like to place your garden. A standard trick for determining garden shape is to outline the shape with a garden hose. Change it until you're happy with the design, and add the garden shape to your landscape diagram.
Check the sun availability of the garden plot to help determine appropriate plants. Full sun plots receive exposure more than six hours per day. Partial sun has four to six hours of sun each day, and full shade receives no direct sunlight.
Decide what function your garden will serve. Some options include decorating an existing hardscape feature, creating a privacy hedge and enhancing the look of home elements such as the front porch, walkway or entryway. Landscape design focuses attention on the best aspects of your home.
Take a 1/2-cup soil sample to your local garden center for a soil analysis. Adding missing nutrients to the soil is extremely easy before planting. Soil quality functions as an integral part of deciding which plants will thrive in the garden location and also as an important consideration for your landscaping budget.
Examine the local landscapes and available plants at nurseries near your home. Both feature native plants that thrive in your climate and soil conditions. Choose native plants to eliminate excessive maintenance as well as die-off.
Pick several anchor plants for your garden. These focal point plantings should be repeated three to five times in a moderate-sized garden to create a theme for the plot. Choosing this method of organization creates cohesion among various landscape elements.
Choose a few basic colors for your garden. Color is a powerful tool for landscaping that can both emphasize and smother the most beautiful plantings. Repeat this color scheme throughout the garden. Create a balance within the garden between green foliage and blooming plants.
Consider height uses within the garden space. If the garden backs up to a fence or house, place taller plants at the back and work down in height as you move forward. Always consider what you might be blocking when choosing taller plants and shrubs.