If you are as passionate as I am about spectacular landscapes and flowers and want more than anything else to create your own, this article is for you.
Nothing is more fun and rewarding than carefully choosing your favorite flowers, trees, and plants and then using them in the creation of the most incredibly inspiring and breath-taking gardens and landscapes imaginable right outside your door.
It does take planning, patience, and some work, but there’s no better “therapy” than to completely lose yourself in the physical, emotional, and creative outlet it provides. This more than anything else you can do will bring you years of satisfaction and pride, as well as a wonderful respite from the pressures unpleasantness the outside world can sometimes bring.
Proper planning is important because your landscape will be around for years to come and will grow and evolve, becoming more and more beautiful with every season. Here are some of the most important things to consider before you start:
Consider your resources ( funds, time, materials) before beginning your plan. I probably approach it a little differently than most people. I “segment” my plan and do one area of a landscape at a time, and then tie them together for great flow, texture, and color. Here’s how to start:
The first thing to do is to go to local nurseries and familiarize yourself with every plant type you intend to use. Then decide (and write down) the items you can’t live without. Note their size at maturity, and other important details such as which trees will flower in the spring or give spectacular fall color (and thus lose their leaves every winter).
When it comes to flowers, you also need to know which will come back every year (perennials) and those that will only last one season (annuals). Also, note which types come in your favorite colors.
Once home, you can find these plants online too if you want to learn more. You can also purchase them online, often at very good savings if you plan ahead.
The next step for me is to walk the property and start visualizing my plan (I do that every day in my own garden because I love it, and I am always looking for ways to improve it as well). When doing the work yourself, it’s useful to break your plan into “blocks” or “segments”, as I mentioned before, such as the entrance near the front door; maybe a corner where the fence meets your house; the parkways, etc. I only buy the plants, mulch, landscape mix, etc. I need one area at a time.
One example of a segment is an area of my home I designed on my corner lot between my house and the street. It was fairly wide, so I put in a beautiful curved brick walk, and inside that, I planted slash pine trees, ivy, and azaleas. It then created other spaces to design by giving me a couple of naturally formed beds between the walk and my fence and the walk and the house, as well as a very nice corner to work with. The corner now has a backdrop of ivy and a birdbath with an angel on top and small hedges and a flowering hot pink sage bush behind. Think “layers”.
Keep in mind how you want your home to look every season. Think of things that would make your garden look fresh and unique, no matter what time of year. Also, keep in mind your colors. Example: you might not want a brilliantly colored flower that blooms every spring to come up behind your winter pansies which would result in an unattractive color combination.
Get ideas from the internet, other people, magazines, and by driving around in your community (especially the higher-end areas where the residents have unlimited funds and therefore, often the most spectacular landscapes in your area). Take pictures to help you remember the ideas you like best, but do be discreet about possibly invading peoples’ privacy.
Be aware of the color and style of your home as you do your planning. You would not want a tropical landscape design with an English cottage-type home for example.
Plan your landscape round your intended uses for it. You might want shaded areas to sit and read, or a koi pond with a bridge for your family and visitors to enjoy, or maybe even a special area set aside for gardening chores, your family dog or growing a cutting garden. If you’re on a tight budget, concentrate most on the areas where you’ll be doing most of your outdoor living. Be sure to consider the space required for each area.
Finally … don’t allow yourself to feel overwhelmed. Take your time, enjoy each and every new thing you do in your garden, and before you know it, you’ll have neighbors coming over or stopping in their cars to compliment you on your new, breath-taking landscape … all of it done by you!