I know far too many gardeners who are just plain lazy and undirected when they start out. (Forgive me for starting out so blunt but some things need to be said!)
They think they can just “throw together" whatever plants or flowers they find and call it a garden. . .
Believe me when I say I am never surprised when they run to me for help later on, saying how they wished they had a plan.
Let me tell you a little secret that *all* successful gardeners have in common: they start out with a clear plan for their garden.
They understand that following solid garden plans is the secret to matching their landscape perfectly, or complement their home in a breathtaking way. . . a well designed garden plan can even add value to your property. (That's a huge plus, especially when you consider today's economy!)
I've seen smart gardeners use garden plans to seclude private areas of their yard or put a hedge around their property. Of course, the ability alone to add color or contrast to objects in your yard is amazing!
"Where should I put my garden?"
Be creative- I've seen gardens designed around work areas, storage spaces (like a shed or loft), patios, barbecue pit or near kids play areas. (Just remember to teach your kids that lying down in your plants is not the ideal place for “hide n’ seek". . . don't laugh, I've seen it happen!)
Don't forget to think hard about *why* you want it. . . one couple I know designed a fantastic garden for the purpose of nothing but resting near it. They've even designed it to enjoy the company of birds and butterflies! (Yes, there are ways to make your garden attract butterflies!)
Of course, you'll need to think about what kind of plants and flowers you want. . . Keep in mind that not all plants and equal! . . . remember to keep going back to the purpose of your garden and also think about how your family might interact with it.
Don't be afraid to “think outside the box" and have fun - you can do amazing things with fountains, fences, mulch, rocks and other garden ornaments.
Important: Think About How *Others* Will Use It
Don't just think about how you alone will use the garden. . . what happens when you have guests over?
I know a family who planned a lovely garden right in the center of their yard so they could entertain family and friends. . . Or you might want your garden to be a sanctuary for wildlife and butterflies. . .
The type of plants/foliage you use is very dependant on your reasons for starting the garden!
See, if you think through these questions beforehand you will have so many ideas about how you can use your garden. (Rather than rushing forward, flying by the seat-of-your-pants and getting hit with your real desires when it's too late!)
Take it from someone who's been there: Do *not* keep your garden plans “in your head". . . it really helps to write them down! Your thoughts will be ‘fresher’ and you'll find yourself able to think more freely.
What NOT To Do - Make Sure You Don't Make This Mistake
I know a well meaning gardener who thought the side of his house would be perfect for his garden. . . he was so inspired and excited that he couldn't wait to rush and get it going. . . so that's exactly what he did!
The problem - and you knew there was going to be a problem :) - was that side of his house didn't get much sunlight because it was blocked by a tree and a shed.
His garden failed miserably and all that time, hard work and money he spent was wasted.
Of course this would have easily been avoided had he taken some time to put a plan together.
Lesson learned: make sure you think about structures on your property and their relationship to your garden.
What Colors Should You Chose For Your Garden?
When it comes to colors in your garden plan, there is only one single, most important thing you need to think about: how far the garden is from your house.
You should use cooler colors like blues and purples if the garden is close and brighter colors like yellows, oranges and reds if your garden is further away from the house.
Here's why: dark colors are very difficult to see from far away and bright ones are often ‘too much’ from up close!
With the right garden plan you'll be able to visualize your garden *exactly* the way it will look before you build it! Remember to think about where it will be, what plants and flowers you'll grow, how to use it (remember: the purpose of it) and how big you want it to be.
Not only will you have more fun and end up with exactly the type of garden you were hoping for, you'll spend less time and money putting it together!
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