Its Time to Plan Your Spring Garden Design
We may be in the middle of winter in Maryland right now, but Spring will be here before we even know it. We came across an article that we want to summarize and share. The information about garden design and planning is very well presented.
Original Article By BETH BOTTS. Published by Chicago Tribune.
You know you need to rethink your garden plan this year. But with so many plants and ideas to choose from, where do you start?
It’s tempting to start picking out all the new trees and plants you’d like, but that’s premature, said Julie Janoski, former garden designer and Plant Clinic manager at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle.
Instead, she suggests taking a big step back and thinking through two things. “First, figure out what you want from your space,” she said. “Then make sure you know what the conditions are throughout your yard. That will help narrow down the infinite plant possibilities and make it more likely the plants you choose will survive.”
Ideally, planning to create a new garden or improve an old one will begin the fall or summer before, she said. “If you didn’t do that, you might decide to spend this year observing and collecting information and preparing for big changes the following spring,” she said.
First, figure out what you want the garden to do for you: Provide something to see from the kitchen window? Have a space to grow vegetables or herbs? Plant some trees for shade? Is there a sight you want to block, such as the neighbor’s garbage cans?
Then identify the area in your yard that could meet those needs, she said. For example, the rear of the yard might be the place to create your kitchen-window vista. The shade might be best over the patio.
“The vegetables need to go where there is full sun, access to water and space to work,” Janoski said.
Determine the conditions that trees and other plants would have in your designated area: How much sunlight does it get through the day? If you have a year to plan, you can record how the duration and intensity of sunlight changes through the growing season.
How is the soil texture? Is there foot traffic through that space? Are there objects or plants that need to stay, such as trees or shrubs you’d like to keep, or a shed?
Measure the space and plot it on graph paper (or use a garden planning app or website). Mark the size and location of the trees and other existing objects.
“Loosely draw the general types of plants that will work in the space,” Janoski said. For example, you might draw some shrubs or tall grasses, or a trellis with vines to increase privacy. For the kitchen-window view, you may want a focal point plant to draw the eye, some big plants to frame it, and some mid-size plants or a small tree with lots of color. Be sure to allow enough space for the mature size of trees and shrubs, not just their small size when you plant them.
“Now for the fun part,” Janoski said. Using what you’ve figured out about the conditions, the sizes and the characteristics of the plants you need, comb through plant catalogs and websites to find good candidates. The Morton Arboretum website can help.
“When you do your research and planning before you start choosing trees or plants, you’re much more likely to choose plants that will live and give you joy for years to come,” Janoski said.
Great information from interviewing a true expert and a well written piece. The key here is the first thing she said to do: “What you want the garden to do for you.” In any home improvement or outdoor project the first thing we should always think about is the purpose of the project and what we want to gain. Always begin with the purpose.
To talk with us about planning and designing your garden, please Contact Us to get started.