Garden Planning

Garden Planning Guide
How to avoid Seasonal Defective Disorder

You thought gardeners had nothing to do but sow and reap?  Well guess again!  Our Garden Gang has scoured the web and garden guides to bring you a collection of articles on aspects of garden planning for you!  Make Our Garden Gang your perennial favorite!

How to Start

A garden plan for a whole yard - front and backFirst, get cracking on a landscape design.  Learn and collect as many ideas as possible.  Look at some of the well-landscaped properties in your area.  Good landscaping greatly increases the aesthetic and monetary value of any property. You don't have to plan every inch of your yard, and certainly not all at once. With persistence and patience, working year by year, you will be rewarded for all your efforts!

Think about the types of gardens and plants you would like to have - lots of them are covered in the navigation links on the left and below. Don't neglect the most obvious advice - ask your local experts.  Your local extension service can usually supply a list of recommended plant varieties for your area, as can local Garden Club members.  Master Gardeners, garden centers and gardening neighbors are other great sources of information.

Second, make a list of existing plants and garden structures worth keeping or transplanting.  If you plan to incorporate them into the new garden or landscape, plan on saving them. Things may need to be moved - check out the Evaluate Your Garden and Bones of the Garden pages for tips to help you decide.

Third, create a scale model of your property using graph paper.  The type with 1/4 inch squares is ideal - make each square equal to 1 foot of your yard.  Place the house and and other permanent structures on it first. Draw existing plants into the sketch. Add in the locations of existing features (like walks, patio, gazebos, pools, play areas, sheds, large trees and existing beds you will keep). Leave the rest of the graph paper clean, ready for the new plan. Then add in the new plantings and structures that you are planning.  You may want to label them with a "year" if your plan cannot be accomplished in one season.

Remember: Don't try to 'do it all' in one year, unless you have superhuman strength and very deep pockets.  Plan your strategy, and break the work into smaller projects that you will work on over the next three years.  Decide the priority of each project - and don't put the perennial bed in this year where the patio is going to go in three years!  Use inexpensive annuals from seed to fill in spots you will not be working on this year.

Assess Your Mess

Dem Bones, Dem Bones...

The "Bones of the Garden" are the key design elements you must consider.  These are the permanent structures, fixtures and plantings in your yard that you must work with, or that you may need to create or grow!  We've put a little flesh on the bones for you
Evaluate Your  Garden

ake a really good look at your property.  This feature helps you plan around your property's strengths and weaknesses, your lifestyle, soil and climate conditions.  Keep garden interest going all year.  Make it all work FOR you with this guide.


Types of Gardens

The Vegetable Garden

The essentials of a vegetable (and fruit too) garden include a sunny location.  As you assess your yard this winter, remember that the deciduous trees that are leafless now will cast shadows later.  Don't let the shade take a bite out of you - sink your teeth into Veggie Gardening here! Small garden?  Then think vertical - train fruits and veggies on trellises, against fences and up walls.

The Annual Garden

If you have a brand new garden to plan, especially one with lots of wide open spaces that you can't deal with in one year, plant those areas with annuals.  This will help choke out the weeds and give some interest until you can get around to those spots.  Check here for tips on planting an Annual Garden - you may like it so much that you will decide to keep some areas strictly for annuals, perennially!

The Secret Garden

Don't forget spots in your garden to "hide away".  You can create tranquil or amusing retreats for children as well as adults.  Think "rooms" with hedges and shrubs as walls!  Click here for ideas on Secret Garden hideaways.

The Enabled Garden

Do you have elderly or disabled persons in your household or who visit regularly, or just want to save your aching back move around easily?  Plan an accessible garden with the tips here!

The Winter Garden

Bored or embarrassed about your pathetic looking garden in winter?   We have ways to deal with that!  Here's a collection of tips on creating winter interest in your garden.

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