April 28, 2011

Great Garden Design Starts with Site Analysis

Taking the time to determine what your site provides will result
 in better growth, less maintenance and a beautiful result!

Let's face it, everyone wants a garden that is low maintenance, waterwise, eco-friendly, and beautiful. It often takes many hours of research and observation to come up with the perfectly planned garden. Usually it's tempting and easier to just go to one of the local nurseries or big box stores, fill your cart with pretty looking flowers, and plant them in the ground. But this will normally end up costing you more money and frustration in the long run. Want to have a great garden?  Then take a little time to learn about where you live and what lives beneath your feet.

Choosing the right plants for any place in your yard may seem overwhelming at times. There are so many colors, textures, shapes and sizes. Not to mention moisture, light, weather and planting zone requirements.  And planting for nature, pollinators and wildlife should not only be considered but be foremost in your design. 

Planning for your gardens, whether it is updating an existing garden, or starting a whole new one, is one of the three most important factors in having a great result. In a previous post, Start Thinking about Compost, I covered the importance of feeding the soil by using compost. Now we can concentrate on how to determine what to plant where, and why knowing your yard is so important. Since everybody's site situation is unique, there really is no "best" set of plants to depend on. However, there are many plants that do extremely well in our environment. The trick is to map out your yard, including sunny areas, shady areas, areas that are either very wet or very dry, foot paths, dog runs, kids' play areas, and other specifics for your site. This step is called a site analysis. Once that's completed then it's time for some searching and reading about plants.

Before you can tell what plants to put in your gardens,
you need to know what your soil, light 
and moisture conditions are.

Finding good information on plant choices can be difficult because there's so much out there, and it's hard to tell which of it is reliable. You can use the Internet, library, Extension Services, Master Gardeners, and gardening businesses. If you are interested in learning about designing a great garden I will be most happy to teach you! You can schedule "Garden Coaching" by the hour, so send me an email and tell me what you would like to learn. Or, if you'd rather have me design your gardens and landscapes for you, please see the Services page for more information. 

Spending the time and money up front to get a well working design saves you time, money and frustration in the future, and gives you a beautiful, sustainable and unique place to enjoy. And isn't that what you want for your yard?
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