Planning the design of your garden can feel like an overwhelming process. There are many things to consider including the type of garden you want to create, your budget, aesthetics and the level of maintenance you are willing to commit to. To help make the design process easy and enjoyable, these 5 tips will guide you towards getting the garden of your dreams!
1. How Much Space Do You Have?
To start the garden design process, you need to identify how much space you have to work with. Are you looking to recreate the flow of your entire backyard? Are you interested in converting the 24 square foot space behind the shed? At this early stage, it’s important to consider your level of commitment. A bigger space will provide you with more design options, but require more care. A smaller one may be more manageable, but you may be more limited with what you can do with it.
Next, you need to do a quick visual scan to determine what type of garden will thrive best in that spot. Does the location you picked out get a lot of sun? Is the area levelled? Is this spot easy to get to or are there physical barriers like trees with long roots nearby?
Though you can always make upgrades to your garden, remember that this is a long-term commitment. Take some time to think over where the best space to host your garden will be for you.
2. The Purpose Of Your Garden
Once you’ve mapped out your designated garden space, it’s time to select the type of garden you want to build. Consider your goals and its purpose. Are you looking for a peaceful backyard oasis, a simple vegetable garden, an ornamental garden?
Below are a few types of gardens that may help you get inspired!
- Butterfly or Traditional Garden: Filled with colorful blooming flowers, like tulips and daffodils. Intended to attract pollinators like butterflies and honey bees.
- Herb & Vegetable Garden: An opportunity to grow your own organic food! Plus, it’s a great way to save money and enjoy nutritious and fresher produce.
- Water Garden: Features a pond for a soothing backyard soundtrack. This is also a great way to naturally aquascape your garden if you have poor draining soil.
- Rock Garden: Usually imitate dry meadow-like conditions with many alpine plants. These grow well among rocks, such as the Silky phacelia and Moss campion.
- Modern or Formal Garden: The focus here is more on decor or layout, than types of plants. It’s well manicured with simplicity and elegance. These can feature small courtyard areas to sit in and gravel paths.
3. Picking Your Plants
Picking out plants for your space, will be based on the type of garden you’re designing. However, there are a few things to keep in mind no matter what garden you’ve selected.
First, identify which plants will thrive best in the climate you live in. Warmer climates will support tropical and desert plants, such as fruit trees and succulents. Colder climates have larger temperature changes between seasons. This means you may be more successful with seasonal planting and crop rotation.
Secondly, look at the type of soil you’ll be working with. This will influence factors, such as which plants will thrive in your garden and how the water drains. Most soils are a combination of sand, silt and clay. At this stage, it’s useful to test your garden soil. You’ll be able to learn how to improve your soil’s long-term health with this information.
Lastly, think about the potential size of your plants. When you first plant your seedlings, flowers, shrubs or trees, they won’t likely be at full size yet. For each plant you select, make sure to research how large they can grow. This way you can make sure the space you selected is enough for them.
4. Landscape & Ground Materials
Let’s talk about aesthetics next! Start by considering how manicured you want your garden to look. The layout of your garden will be heavily influenced by the placement of your garden features and the landscape.
If you’re going for more of a wild look, the way you organize where your plants will grow won’t quite matter. The same goes for any rocks or decorations you’re looking to add as well. Over time, a wild garden will essentially start to manage itself.
However, if you’re looking for more organization, it’s useful to break it up into sections. Having physical dividers also adds visual appeal. Why not include:
- Wooden planters for your flowers, veggies, and herbs to thrive
- Straight or curving pathways made from wood chips, gravel or stone
- Rocks and stones, durable black rocks, or boulders
5. Garden Furniture & Decor
Adding garden furniture and decor is a fun way to bring your personal style to your garden. No matter how much room you have to play with, there are plenty of options! Create a nice space for your family and friends to hangout or grill during the summer.
- Garden gnomes
- Birdfeeders or Bird baths
- String lights
- Patio sets, swingsets, muskoka chairs or benches
- Outdoor firepits
- Storage sheds
- Creative water spout
Go Get Designing!
Planning and designing a garden will be unique for everyone. Ensure the design is right for you by picking a proper location you can commit to for the long-term. Make sure to select plants that work with your environment and have fun customizing it with various materials and decor!
Have you been inspired by this article? What type of garden are you planning on designing? Make sure to leave a comment below on your experience!