Small Garden Design – How to Get Started

So, you have decided to start a small garden, but where should you start? The first step in any small garden design project is planning the type of garden you want to grow.

Do you want a small garden with lots of color? Will you want flowers that you can cut and bring indoors? If so, then you will want to think about flower garden design. Do you want to combine an interest in cooking with a small vegetable garden design or an herb garden design? Maybe you want to consider a combination garden.

Once you have a starting point on the type of garden you want, before you start your small garden design, you need to consider a few things…

What is your planting zone?

How many hours of sun does your garden area get during the day?

Does the amount of sun change during the day or the seasons?

If your garden is in a small portion of a yard, what else is already growing in that area?

Let’s start with your planting zone. What is a planting zone? In North America, the USDA has created a Hardiness Zone Map that divides North America into 11 different planting zones. A low and high range of temperatures defines each zone. While there are limitations to using a zone map, it will give you some idea of whether a plant will survive in your climate.

Some sources for finding planting zone information are on the back of seed packets, in the plant description, and on the internet. This information will not only help you determine if a plant can survive in your climate range, but how early you can plant a particular plant in your location. While zone maps are not perfect, they can provide a useful start to determining the plants to use in your small garden design.

One of most important factors in determining the types of plants you can use as you develop your small garden design will be the amount of sun you get in the area you want to plant. Whether it is a container garden for your patio, deck, balcony, or rooftop or a small area in your yard where you are going to plant, you need to spend some time evaluating the amount of sun you get in that area. Do you get full sun for 6 to 8 hours a day? Is the area in the sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon or shade in the morning and sun in the afternoon?

The amount of sun you receive in your planting area will determine whether you can plant sun-loving plants, shade plants, or plants that can take part sun/part shade. Armed with the information about your planting zone and the amount of sunlight in your area, the next step will be to start determining the types of plants you want in your small garden design. Now the fun starts…

Hints and Tips For Your Small Garden

Starting a garden is an exciting project in itself. We often see large country houses with wonderful large gardens. However, if you have limited space, a small garden can be a wonderful addition to any home as well. Here are some hints and tips to get you started on your own small garden project.

Adding wall fountains to your small garden

Wall fountains are excellent additions to any gardens that are tight on space. The variety of wall fountains to choose from are boundless. From classical Greek figures to modern art forms, the choice is yours. Most wall fountain spills water into a basin underneath which a small pump is located. Made of terra cotta, plastic, fiberglass, cast concrete or metal, you can choose the right material to blend in to your small garden. A great hint is to install the wall fountain on a wall where you are able to switch the wall fountain on and off at will from inside your home. Although it will be more work for you but the end result is fantastic and you save yourself some hassle.

Adding a tree to your small garden

It is often said that nothing can set the atmosphere of a garden faster a tree, and that goes for small gardens too. Thus, it is of paramount importance to choose the right tree. Otherwise, you will spend years lamenting your poor decision. Since your garden is on a small scale, do not go for large trees. To select the right trees, it is often a good idea to see what thrives locally in other parks and gardens. Most probably they will do well in your garden if they thrive in your neighbourhood. If you do not know the name of the trees you saw, it is a good idea to snap a few pictures of it and visit some public parks and arboretums to identify it. Most of these places label their trees, simplifying your task. Another get hint is to ask small garden owners about the trees in their garden. I guarantee that people who enjoy their garden will be happy to share advices.

Bougainvillea is not for any small garden

Bougainvillea is a plant highly suited to a hot, dry climate. Other than its wonderful colours, another advantage is that once established, minimal irrigation is all that is needed for this hardy plant. However, this does not mean it is requires no maintenance. It has a habit to sprawl when planted in the ground, making an untidy mess in small gardens. It is more advisable to grow it on a wall or fence, tying it to a support structure.

Bougainvillea growing is a labor intensive activity which makes it not suitable for people who have no time for garden maintenance, especially small gardens where it needs to neat and not cluttered to the brim. However, if grown correctly, the Bougainvillea will add a special touch to your own small garden.

Planning for your small garden

The best advice to give someone starting a small garden is to keep it neat and simple. Refrain from growing exotic and unusual plants. Reserve your creativity to the layout of your small garden. Make sure you have done your research on the height of the plants you wish to grow, or you can ask about it when you are at a plant nursery. After getting our plants and reaching home, position the plants in the potential locations they will be planted in your future garden area and try to visualize the results. Rearrange the plants until you feel good about it. This visualizing exercise will save you a lot of trouble replanting later on.

Small Garden Design Ideas – Introduction

One of the challenges of small garden design is of course space Unlike large gardens, you must be much more disciplined in your approach. While experimentation is easier in the smaller garden, you will want to spend some time planning. You will need to be satisfied with fewer types of plants. Instead of buying a new plant spur of the moment, you will want to spend a little more time thinking about the potential new plant’s fit in terms of spread, height, color and texture.

With the smaller garden, it is not as easy to do things like hidden turns and garden rooms. But this does not mean you need to throw away the elements of contemporary garden design. You have opportunities to do similar things on a smaller scale. Imagine you have a small garden space towards the back of your yard. It is on your right as you walk towards it. You can start with a low boxwood-type hedge, or in my case a rock about 12″ high with a sharpish edge on the top. My rock is about 3 feet long. I laid the rock perpendicular to and touching my garage wall, forming a border shaped like a mountain range. As you walk further back, the area at first obscured by the rock reveals itself. I tried to make this more dramatic by using multicolored peonies planted very tightly against the side of the rock near the garage wall. This way, you see a small explosion of color that remains hidden until you have come completely to the level of the rock. This is my version of the hidden turn.

While large hardscapes such as boulders and walls may be out of the question, you can still create the illusion of separation by using hedges, rocks as in my example, gravel rivers as in Japanese gardening, etc. For myself, instead of trying to create rooms or separation within a single garden area, I have several small garden areas which are for the most part separated by lawn. In some cases I try to treat each of these tiny areas as separate gardens or rooms.

This gives me the ability to try new things fairly quickly in a small garden area. If it doesn’t work, or if I want to try something new, I may buy some additional plants, or I might move plants from one of the other little gardens. I can add my “mini hardscapes” like rock, and move plants around in a matter of minutes. I think experimentation is one of my favorite things about this type of gardening. While on the one hand, you need to plan for the appropriate plants, on the other hand you can swap different plants in and out of a particular spot to see which works best, or just to try out a new idea.

As always, you will need to take note of your growing zone, especially the hours of sun vs. shade in the area you are planting. We do site analysis in the first place to know which plants will thrive in our garden. I read once that a poorly chosen plant becomes an annual, so don’t let that happen to you! Make sure to select your plant for the appropriate size, texture, color, and durability for your planting area. Some of my areas get sun for 6 hours, some are always in shade.

Unlike a larger garden, you will be able to see your entire garden as one entity. Even though you can have some separation into tiny rooms if you want, remember to look at each small garden as a complete composition. The way the plants work together to form the whole can be much more important in the small garden.

Everything I have read indicates that you should be somewhat monochromatic with your small garden. Use different variations and subtleties of the dominant color. Show differences with height, texture, etc. On the other hand, I have always been a little bit of a contrarian, so you can always try explosions of different colors, especially if you have an object to anchor the explosion, like a rock, small bird bath, sundial, bench, etc. For myself, I will never tire of red and green against a whitish rock.

And again, here is the versatility of the small garden. You can still have some of the traditional elements of the larger garden, like a separated sitting area or playing area. But here are some options. First, instead of one garden area with a play area, have 2 different garden areas separated by the playing area. If you want a bench, or sitting area, try the same – 2 separate gardens divided by the sitting area.

If you decide to try some of these small garden design ideas, I’d love to know how it worked out for you!

The Most Killer Landscape Gardening Ideas

Landscape gardening is the art of transforming a property or a place into a paradise. It helps an individual in creating his own oasis and comfort zone. There are certain principles which need to be followed while designing your landscape:

• Balance: The area has to be designed in a balanced way according to the needs of the customers. Balancing the area with correct number of trees or with appropriate furniture will avoid wastage of space and ensure effective use of the space available.
• Proportion: The design should look proportionate to make the area look larger than expected. Like for example, if you have a narrow property, color or texture can be used to visually broaden the size.
• Focal point: Focal point indicates the main focus of the landscape which draws most attention. It can be man made like a tower, sundial or a fountain. The focus points make the eye travel the whole garden that keeps the space interesting and produces a sense of calmness.
• Simplicity: Keeping it simple by not conflicting too many colors, textures and masses will bring out the design in a clear way.
• Protection: The landscaped garden should give protection and privacy from the outside world, if the customer wants. Some requirements might be regarding shade from the sun or special railings required to protect your children or pets.

Nowadays there are various landscape gardening ideas in the market. Various tools like color, texture or forms are used to get the desired look. If you want the outdoors to be a part of indoors then you can add a grill, patio furniture and deck to give an extended look of your living room in the outdoors. If your looking for ways to beautify your property then a landscaping pond or designing the landscape around your swimming pool may be perfect. A garden waterfall can make an interesting addition to the garden, no matter how large or small. To add a personal touch to your exterior, a patio swing can also be installed. Preparation is needed for making your garden. Factors like color scheme required, garden budget and maintenance requirements have to be determined.

Landscape gardening can be done in small and a big budget way. By landscape gardening your driveway, the appearance of the front lawn can be changed and made look very attractive. This can be done by adding a fence or having some grasses or even with the help of some flowers, since the front yard gives the first impression of your house. This way you can have an appealing front lawn by adding color, depth and character.

Plant selection plays a major role in designing your garden. Plants and colors bring life to your landscape in a real way. Plant selection depends upon factors like when would they reach maturity, sunlight requirements, insect and disease resistance and soil preference. The selection can be done in a very cost effective way to have your dream come into a reality.