Did you know that 55% of American adults are spending time gardening?
Gardens are a worthwhile investment for those who enjoy the great outdoors. Even if you just head outside for a weekend barbecue, a well-designed garden can add to the ambiance.
However, it can be intimidating to design your own garden. Luckily, it’s pretty straightforward with a little help!
Check out the guide below for six steps to take before you craft your own garden design!
1. Create a Design Outline
Before you can jump headfirst into designing your garden, you need to evaluate what you want first.
A design outline should detail what you hope to see in your design. Feel free to dream big! You can always return to your outline and revise it as you learn more about what is possible within your design.
Write down any big goals you have. Perhaps you want to create a children-friendly garden. Maybe you want to build an outdoor dining area.
Be as specific as possible. It will help you as you plan your budget and map out material and construction details down the line. If you’ll need to incorporate any utilities or lighting, be sure to jot that down as well.
2. Build a Budget for Your Garden Design
Before you can start actualizing your garden design, you need to create a budget for your design project.
First, you’ll have to decide if you’re planning to create a full-scale design all at once or separate it into mini-projects. If you separate the design into smaller chunks, you can also portion out your budget. This is ideal if you don’t want to devote a massive amount of money to your garden design all at once.
When you are designing your budget, keep in mind that it shouldn’t be limited to the cost of plants and labor. You’ll want to set aside money for the ongoing upkeep of your design.
A well-designed garden is as much of an investment as a bathroom or kitchen remodel. Don’t be intimidated by the price though—if you’re committed, you can do much of the labor and design on your own to cut prices down.
3. Choose the Ideal Materials
Most people don’t consider the work that goes into hardscaping, but it’s just as important as landscaping. Hardscaping materials are a necessity if you want to make something like a water feature or a stone pathway.
Even a simple stone or gravel pathway can assist with irrigation in your garden design. A popular choice for hardscaping is Mexican beach pebbles—this helpful guide outlines the best way to use them.
If you need to stake or mulch trees, you’ll also have to account for those materials. If you’re planning on designing a produce garden, you’ll likely want to use some sort of mesh or wire fence to keep out wildlife.
4. Learn About the Local Ecosystem
The more you know about the climate and native species in your city, the easier it will be to create the perfect design. For instance, if you live in an arid location, like southern California, you’ll want to plant species that grow well in high temperatures and under full-sun.
You’ll also want to learn about what species are native to the area. Do your best to avoid planting invasive species—these types of plants can hurt the growth of native species and disrupt the existing local ecosystem.
It’s also wise to learn which plants local wildlife use as food or shelter. If you’re interested in drawing birds or butterflies to your yard, read up on which plants in your area will attract them. On the other hand, if you want to avoid critters nibbling on your plants, learn which are less desirable food sources.
5. Decide How Your Garden Can Serve You
Gardens can add more than a pretty face to your home. Many gardens can add practical qualities to your property.
For instance, you can build a garden to become more self-sufficient. A vegetable garden will give you the opportunity to cut down on trips to the grocery store and lower your carbon footprint!
You can also plant trees strategically. Larger trees can provide shade for a home during the summer and windbreak in the winter. This will help keep your home more temperate, which will lower your energy bill!
6. Plan for the Future
A garden isn’t a one-time project. It’s an addition to your home that will require considerable upkeep. It’s wise to keep this in mind when creating your design.
Do you have time to maintain your garden? If not, do you have the funds to hire professionals to maintain it? These are questions to keep in mind when finalizing your garden.
Low-maintenance plants are ideal for busy homeowners or those who struggle with mobility. High-maintenance plants and more labor-intensive designs are great for people who like hands-on projects.
When designing, also keep in mind the average size of mature plants. You may be purchasing a small tree now, but how large is estimated to grow? You’ll want to plan according to the maximum size of your chosen plants.
Be sure to also be mindful of your neighbors when planning your garden. Like the example above, a plant may be small when you first plant it, but it could creep over into your neighbor’s yard as it grows.
A garden can add so much life and value to your property. It’s no easy task, but the tips above will help you as you begin to create your own perfect garden design!
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