How My Garden Grows: Seven

parterreBirdsEyeView_a

A “Bird’s Eye View:”

Designing the Horizontal Spaces of  Your Garden

Dear Readers,

To read or review the previous posts in this series, click here:  How My Garden Grows: One.

Each post, One through Six, will provide a link for the next post.

 

 

Margot’s Get-Real Guide:

Space:

Identify the horizontal space:  Do you wish to create a border, bed, island, or garden path?

Speak Compass:

Toward which direction does this space face?

Sun exposure requirements will determine your plant choice.

Soften:

Choose plants that will soften the angular architectural features.

Standing Feature:

Consider one standing “feature” in each large bed, border, or island.

Ex:  a fountain, a stone statue, a bird bath, a bird feeder, a fogger/mister, an obelisk, or a tutor.

Space:

Within the design, plan open spaces, for these purposes:

  • Walkways [“allees”] for trimming/pruning.
  • Access to water spigots/hose, fountains, bird baths, bird feeders, utilities. etc.
  • “Growing and breathing space” between plants and buildings or between plants and fences or walls.
  • Foot-paths, stepping-stones, etc.

Study Notes:

Research, using The Southern Living Garden Book:

Which “care-free” and “bullet-proof” plants are best-suited for the space?

Spine:

For beauty and low-maintenance all year round, perennial evergreens should form the “spine” or “backbone” of your garden spaces.

Ground Covers range in height,  from 6 inches to 4 feet, so you have a great variety of sizes from which to choose.

Systemize:

From your Study Notes, create a Table or Chart, listing each “care-free” and “bullet-proof” plant.

Include these categories:

  • Formal name, informal name
  • Requirements for light exposure:  Su=Sun; Sh=Shade; P=Part; Lt=Light; F=Full
  • Requirements for: soil, moisture, fertilizer
  • Size:  height, width, “OC,” which means “off-center” or “space between plants”

Use this Table/Chart, to revise the Sketch of your garden design.

Keep the Chart:   At the end of the season, add notes:  What worked?  What did not?

Sketch:

Draw a rough sketch of the horizontal space.  Indicate approximate sizes of each section.

Refer to your Study Notes and add your favorite plants to the design.

Stature & Size:

Height, Width, Depth

Do not line up your plants like little soldiers!

Within the space, mix up the height, width, and depth.

Surface Texture:

Provide contrast between/among the plants.

Consider the shape of the plant [macro] or the texture of the leaf [micro].

Shades, Hue, Color:

Break out your color pencils, crayons, or water-colors, as you design your Sketch.

I do not like a strict color scheme:  I have a Georgia red-brick house but I use a “Crayola” color palette.

Consider the color of the bloom, foliage, stem, bark, etc.

An all-white night-blooming garden is fabulous, with a view from a porch or window.

Snow Drift:

Imagine a snowdrift, on a slope, with soft curves of snow, covering the earth.

This is the soft, organic look you want.  Avoid sharp edges.

For perennial evergreen ground cover:   Plant three different plants in three large “drifts,” of roughly the same size, with the central drift slightly larger.

Shapes:

The “Paisley” shape is one of the most pleasing designs to the human eye.

In your composition, employ the “paisley” shape:  Use a different plant for each paisley shape.

Interconnect and overlap the shapes, as above drawing illustrates.

Stagger:

Within each paisley shape [above], stagger the plants, with an odd number of the same plant.

 Select:

Take your Sketch and your Table/Chart to the Nursery.

Select your favorite “bullet-proof” and “care-free” plants.

Choose an odd number of each type of  favorite plants:  1, 3, 5, etc.

Maintenance:

Shear or Prune?

Most perennial evergreen ground covers do not require maintenance.

For those plants that require maintenance:

Consult the Southern Living Garden Book and choose the appropriate method:

Prune from the inside:  encourage a natural, soft shape;  allow air to circulate; eliminate weak stems and branches.

Shear according to the natural design shape; plants should look lush and full.

 Plan Your Future Design:

Gradually eliminate turf and replace with beds, borders, islands, and garden paths.

 

Coram Deo,

Margot

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Gardens, Healing Gardens

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s