If you haven’t already begun plotting out your garden, this weekend is a perfect time. A garden takes a lot of time to create and nurture, so wouldn’t you want to put thought into how it’s laid out and items to include? Here is a partial list of ideas to consider as you begin your beautification process!
- Consider the other seasons While flowers are a highly attractive attribute, many plants offer more than just blooms. Look past the flowers and use foliage, fruit, and bark for year-long color, form, and texture. By choosing plants with multiple ornamental assets, you will extend your garden’s seasonal appeal.
- Stay inside your comfort zone Beauty may be skin deep, but plants can do more in the garden than sit around and look pretty. The right plants, used the right way, can actually add comfort and utility to your garden.
- Don’t forget the grass appeal! A lawn can be costly and labor intensive to maintain, but no other surface is quite so yielding, so comfortable for lounging, or so resilient and forgiving for play.
- Where do we grow from here? Give your plants room to grow. If you must have a dense, full landscape right away, plant with the intent to relocate or remove some plants as they mature
- Look up above! Leave plenty of headroom under archways, arbors, and pergolas. I consider 7 feet to be the minimum, and I usually add at least another 18 inches if I know there will be plants growing over the structure.
- Slippery slope Be certain that any paving provides secure footing. Avoid slick surfaces or loosely set pavers that wobble. Paving materials like polished granite or smooth outdoor tile may not offer enough traction in rainy
- Space yourself Place any plants more than 30 to 36 inches tall at least 2 to 3 feet back from walkway and patio edges; otherwise, these spaces may feel unduly cramped and crowded.
- It’s a party now! Patios and decks are perfect spaces for outdoor entertaining. Plan for enough room to accommodate dining and mingling. Consider how many guests you’re likely to host regularly and then plan on at least 4 square feet of space per person.
- That first step is a doozy Outdoor steps and stairways should ascend gently; otherwise, they are liable to seem daunting. Steps with a rise of 6 inches or less are the most comfortable.
- A stroll for two If your property is large enough, make sure your pathways are wide enough for comfortable passage. Main thoroughfares should be wide enough for at least two people to walk side by side, no less than 5 feet.
- Objects in mirror It’s hard to leave your driveway safely if plants or structures are blocking your view. Survey the visibility from your car in all directions before installing shrubs, walls, or fences.
- Honor thy neighbor Check with your neighbors before making any major changes in your landscape. They may not necessarily share your taste in design, but keep in mind that your landscape will have more impact on them than your interior decor will.
- What does the future hold? If you are installing or digging up your garden (or you just need something to add to your to-do list), consider laying down electrical conduit and irrigation piping 18 inches belowground along pathways and near bed edges—even if you have no current plans for lighting or irrigation.
- Look before you dig Few things in gardening are as annoying or inconvenient as driving a pick or trenching spade into a buried pipe or cable. Locate all pipes and underground utilities if you plan to change grades or to dig trenches more than 18 inches deep in your garden.
- The code of honor Don’t dismiss building codes for outdoor structures as an inconvenience. They are devised for your safety and for the safety of your guests