Ways & How

how to design a garden

There’s no better salve for the weary soul than a calming garden. Once in a while, everyone needs to stop and smell the roses, literally, and pause from a busy day. Even better is if you have your own garden to serve as your respite from the exhausting daily grind of work or even what can sometimes be a demanding family life. So the first step to having an aesthetically pleasing and calming respite is learning how to design a garden. A garden is basically a collection of plants of either the flowering or non-flowering type or a combination of both arranged in a way that they complement and balance each other out. There are a couple of easy steps a beginner gardener can follow in designing a garden:

  1. Know your purpose. The first thing a starting out gardener should ask himself is: What do I want a garden for? A garden can be started for a lot of reasons, to simply serve as a calming nook or to serve something more functional, such as a source for food or spices. So think and decide about what kind of garden you want.

    Do you want a flower garden? A vegetable garden? Or even an herbal garden? Knowing the kind of garden you want will determine the kind of plants that will be in it.

  2. Consider the climate. Now plants are heavily dependent on climate. Some plants can only grow and thrive in specific types of climates. So whether you live in a place with tropical weather, one with four seasons or a place that is consistently hot or cold, learn which plants are the best kind grow in your climate.

  3. Consider the time of the year. Plants also follow the calendar and the seasons. So depending on the time of the year you decide to start your garden (and the type of climate you have as well), you must choose the appropriate seedlings and seeds to plant. For example, spring bulbs, such as daffodils, should be planted during the winter, while it is better to plant shrubs and perennials during autumn in more temperate zones. Make sure you consult a seedling calendar for your region so you don’t go wrong.

  4. Choose a focal point. Now assuming you have decided the kind of garden you want and have the plants you want in your garden listed down, the next thing you need to do is to plan out how your garden is going to look like. Much like any creative composition, your garden needs a focal point to hold all the other plants and elements in your garden together.

    The focal point can itself be a plant or something else, like a fountain, a pond, (the element of water is a very good addition to a garden), a bench, or a swing. It can be something grander like a pergola (a shaded pathway that can have a sitting area) or even a grotto. Whatever your focal point may be, design the rest of your garden around it.

  5. Balance the elements. Visually, your focal point should be the heaviest, so make sure your other plants do not draw attention away from it; otherwise your garden will not look like it is in harmony.

    A good plant to fill the background is one with heavy foliage, such as hostas, which are considered to be a garden staple. They come in green, blue, and yellow varieties, and what’s more, they are perennials, so they can live up to three years unlike annuals which live for only about a year. Of course, one can make use of flowers to brighten up the composition, and it is a good idea to group them according to color and plant them in clumps since this looks the most natural.

  6. Sustain the garden with TLC. How your garden will look and how long it will last is entirely up to you, and when it comes to beauty, well, that old adage is always true: it is always up to the beholder. The important thing to keep in mind is that a garden is alive so it needs a lot of constant tender, loving care so that it can grow and thrive.

Remember that plants die and multiply depending on the weather and your care, and so the scenery can constantly change. Therefore, it is a good thing to remember that part of knowing how to design a garden is understanding that it is always a work in progress and can actually never have one final look.  


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