Easy Tips to Get Started With Garden Design

By Pat Lowe

Garden design can be overwhelming when you first get started because, often, most people aren't sure where to begin. They know that the end goal is to get a vibrant, productive, colorful garden going, but there are so many steps beforehand. You'll need to start with a little soul searching and goal setting. Do you want evergreens and color, or wildflowers and native vegetation? Do you want to attract butterflies or do some home vegetable gardening? As well, do you want to incorporate garden ornaments, a pond, a patio, trellises, or other garden structures into your design?

According to Garden Guides magazine there are many kinds of garden design plans to be found. You can select water or dry gardens, wildlife attracting flower gardens or edible gardens. Perhaps simplest way to get started is to assess the space you have available and study some pictures to determine what type of garden tills your soul. If you set your imagination free, it will be much less difficult to start picking plants and formulating your garden design.

A great strategy for garden design is to choose a theme for your garden. At Garden Guides, you can choose between "dry gardens," with cactus, drought-resistant plants, herbs, rocks and heat-loving plants; "edible gardens" for fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs and plants; "flower gardens" for annuals, perennials, biennials, roses, orchids and wildflowers; "wildlife gardens" to attract birds, butterflies, dragonflies and bees; or "water gardens" like ponds, bogs, water features and tropical gardens.

There are also distinctive styles to consider, such as alpine, cottage, English, family, forest, fragrant, Japanese and Zen gardens. For more information, visit www.gardenguides.com.

When you're planning your garden design, be sure you choose plants that play well in the sandbox with one another. You don't want to put something like ivy in a place where it will consume and cover all your other selections. Be aware of flowers like impatiens, which like to spread out, so plant them far enough apart so they have room to grow. Be mindful to put plants that grow tall in the back and shorter plants in the front, with medium-sized arrangements in the middle to create cohesion. Color and texture are a very personal matter, so you'll need to look around at different pictures to see what appeals most to you. Before you plan, sketch out an aerial diagram. Leave space for mowing, watering and maintenance. - 29857

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