Garden Design

A well-planned garden design should reflect the personal style and needs of its owner, but it should also give the garden a sense of belonging within its surroundings.

It is essential for a garden design to complement its surroundings, connecting with both the landscape as well as the hardscape. The hardscape is just as important as the rest of the garden design. It serves as the framework for the garden. Think of the hardscape as a sort of garden design map for planting flowers, trees, and shrubs. The hardscape is simply made up of the non-growing structures within a landscape, such as patios, walkways, and even the home itself. Other common hardscape features include stones and landscape timbers. Stones are quite versatile, coming in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. While timbers may not be as flexible with regards to shape or color, they can be cut into varying lengths. Both of these are often used for edging flower beds and accenting plants. Stones are also used for constructing walkways, retaining walls, and ponds. General hardscape features are those which are added in to the garden design at a later time such as a deck, wall, or flagstone walk. Basic hardscape features, like the driveway, are normally already in place and should also be considered before implementing the garden design.

Always be sure to plan ahead when you are undertaking any type of garden design, considering both the landscape and hardscape features carefully before choosing or planting anything. One good trick is to flip through Home and Garden magazines in search of a garden design that suits your tastes. There are numerous reading materials on landscaping and garden design that provide plenty of inspirational ideas. Once you have something in mind, take a long look at your landscape and consider whether or not the garden design will fit in with the surroundings. The garden design should always fit into its surroundings. No matter how well maintained the garden, if it doesn’t connect with the home, the garden will stand alone. This is not the effect that any garden design should achieve.

When planning the garden design, start with a basic idea and look to the surrounding landscape and hardscape features for further assistance. For instance, if your kids are anything like mine, they have probably a worn-out path somewhere within the yard as a result of taking the same route each day. Consider using this to your advantage by adding a layer of suitable mulch, gravel, or other hardscape feature to the pathway. Be certain, however, to fit this into the overall garden design; remember, it should always complement the surroundings. Another example might be the inability to grow particular plants in specific areas, like beneath a large shade tree. If this is the case, simply amend the soil and add shade-loving plants; however, if this is not an option, place a small table and chair there instead. Now you have an attractive place to relax. You could even add the same type of mulch or gravel here as with the path. Perhaps there is an eyesore, such as the garbage or compost area, that requires covering up. Depending on both the landscape and hardscape features, an arbor or fencing adorned with flowering vines could be incorporated. What about shaded areas, are these heavy or dappled? There are a variety of plants that thrive in these conditions. No matter what the Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½problem’, there is a garden design that can solve it.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

Color is an important aspect to consider when it comes to garden design. Color has a major impact on how people feel and relate to the world around them. This is also true when it comes to our surroundings. When you are ready to choose plants for the garden, once again, look to the surrounding landscape as well as the exterior of your home and other hardscape elements for guidance. The colors you choose will ultimately unify the house with the garden design, and both should blend easily into their surroundings. Existing trees and shrubs should be considered and kept within the overall color scheme of your garden design. Choose flowers within the same color family as well as those which complement them. Yellows, for example, blend well with golds, oranges, and reds. Complement these with shade of purple or violet. Also, keep in mind how certain colors work within the landscape. Cool colors, such as blue or purple, should not be placed in dark areas or those sites which are too far back as these colors tend to fade into the landscape. Warm or hot tones, such as yellows and reds, should be used to brighten drab areas instead. As these colors grab attention, they are best placed at a distance to bring them nearer and accentuate particular areas of interest within the garden design. Foliage will also provide plenty of color and interest. Trees, shrubs, and foliage plantings should be carefully considered. Landscapes heavily loaded with evergreens may not offer much in the way of seasonal interest; therefore, consider adding small trees and shrubs to the garden design that will provide striking leaf color during off seasons. Take this into account and be sure to include it in your garden design. A home constructed in warm tones, for example, needs to be complemented with leaf color of the same family. Visual interest should be possible throughout the year; take into account the differences in bark texture as well as the shapes of branch patterns. Using plant textures in the garden design adds interest. Repeat the same textures throughout the garden design to help pull everything together, blending it in with its surroundings. Don’t forget to take note of a plant’s size once it reaches maturity. Shrubs that are used as foundation plantings should not block windows once mature. Likewise, plants grown near walkways or driveways should not spill out in such a way as to minimize traffic to these areas. Always check both the hardiness and maturity size of any pre-selected plants to ensure they will thrive in your particular area.

Closely examine the architecture of your home and determine the style. For example, is it a ranch, cottage, modern, or log home? What is the color of the construction material? The color of your house, including the trim, shutters, and roof, should be used as well in determining your floral palette. For instance, if your home is brick, select colors that will complement this. Is it white vinyl siding or perhaps natural-colored stonework? Some of the best gardens are created with the home as its main feature. Homes constructed from logs or other natural elements, such as stone, are commonly accentuated with informal garden designs, and the types of plants which are grown are normally influenced more by the gardener’s personality. Typically, these homes are laid out with flower beds, trees, and shrubs located in the front, greeting visitors with a warm welcome. Therefore, the use of evergreens and flowering shrubs as well as plants of various colors, forms, heights, and textures will create a suitable setting. Cottage-style homes are included here as well since flowers, herbs, and vegetables are commonly grown together within this type of garden design. Those having more traditional or modern homes should focus on more formal garden designs. Plantings are less casual and restraint is practiced when ornamental features such as benches, fountains, arbors, etc. are implemented. Formal garden designs typically include patterns in flower beds and carefully pruned shrubs or hedges.

Don’t overlook the layout of your garden design. Does the existing layout of the home include a porch or walkway? If so, are these features straight or curved? Does a patio or deck already exist on the property? What are these features made of, concrete, stone, or wood? What about the driveway? Is it gravel or pavement? If it’s pavement, what kind is it. Did you know that black asphalt gets extremely hot in summer? For this reason, you should carefully consider placing plantings away from its edges to prevent plants from burning. Also, when it comes to the layout of your home, consider its location within the landscape. Is it nestled discreetly in a woodland setting, or is it situated within an open lot? How close to the road is it? What about the neighbor’s property? All of these factors need to be taken into consideration before implementing your garden design.

Proper planning is essential in order to effectively connect the garden into its surroundings, while enhancing the appearance of your home at the same time. It makes no difference where the garden design is placed within the landscape. Whether it’s a front garden, side garden, or a backyard garden, it should always complement the surroundings. Even if the garden design takes up the majority of your landscape, tie it together.

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