Designing a garden is a great way to pass the winter months while you’re waiting to get back outside. The better you plan your garden, the more joy it can bring you. Here are seven tips to help you plant the best garden for you.
Know Your Goals
Decide what you want from your garden before you start designing it. Some gardeners may want a vegetable or herb garden steps from their kitchen door. Others may prefer a shady outdoor oasis with room for a hammock. Know your destination before you start your journey.
Map Out Obstacles
You should always ask your utility providers to mark any underground water pipes, gas lines or electrical wiring before you dig, but that may be too late. Avoid having to redesign and rearrange your garden plans by checking for underground obstacles early on in the design process. Remember to look up and check for overhead wires, too.
Check Local Codes
If you’re planning to add a gazebo to your space or install a shed for your new garden tools, check with your local zoning office and follow their guidelines. If you break the rules, the city could force you to remove any structures you’ve illegally installed.
Be careful about where you place certain features when designing your garden. Go outside and verify, for example, that a new shrub won’t reduce visibility when you’re backing out of your driveway. Remember the neighbors, too, and make sure you won’t be crowding them or blocking their view.
Pick Your Maintenance Level
If you enjoy spending time in the garden and are happiest when playing in the dirt, a large garden full of high-maintenance plants may work for you. Be realistic, however, about how much garden maintenance your schedule, health and other factors will allow. Native species typically require the least attention while more exotic plant selections need more attention, as do ponds and other water features.
Plan for Mature Plants
It’s easy to get carried away and want at least one of every pretty plant you see, but remember that your garden babies will grow. Plan spacing and bed sizes based on how big mature plants will grow, not on the size your young plants are now. If you have some slow growers that will eventually need more space, consider filling the gaps around them with annuals or other temporary plantings.
Remember the People
A stunning garden is pointless if no one ever gets to enjoy it, so remember people when thinking about your plants. Make sure walkways are wide and that decks, patios and other outdoor living space aren’t so crowded with plants that the people are uncomfortable. Remember, too, that steps need to be secure and are most comfortable when their risers are six inches tall.
The more care you take when planning your garden, the easier you’ll find creating it. Of course, you can always make changes later if you feel the need, but starting with a sound plan means you may not need to. Instead, you’ll be able to relax in and enjoy your outdoor space for many years to come.