Prepare To Be Prepared

So you want to have a garden? Well, get ready for a lot of preparation. First, you will need to go through a site analysis to know what plants will thrive in your garden. Next, it’s time to pull out that list of site conditions and see what plants suit your site. You’ll have to be tough with yourself now, or you’ll be making work and regrets for yourself later. You can change your mind about color or style, but a perennial plant that isn’t hardy in your zone is going to be an annual. And plants that are suffering from too little or too much sun are going to attract all kinds of problems.

Discretion Required in Choosing Plants

The difficulty in choosing plants for your garden is cutting down the list you love to the list of those you will use. This is even harder with a small garden. Try to avoid this challenge by creating a framework for selection, before you begin your list. How many you will need or want of each plant depends upon the size of the space and the width or spread of each plant. There are two schools of thought about how densely to plant a new garden. If you want your garden to look mature and full its first year, you will need to space young plants more closely or buy larger plants. You will get an immediate impact, but you will also need to begin dividing sooner. If you have the patience to allow your garden to fill in slowly, you can leave room for the plants to grow into their new home and fill in temporarily with annuals.

Budget Influences on Making Decisions

The first influence on making decisions as to what goes into your garden often has to do with budget constraints. Put this first because it is something to consider in any garden design. A small space garden should cost considerably less than its larger cousins, but there is still an expense. Don’t forget to budget for any soil you must bring in or amend. If you have your heart set on expensive specimen plants, you may want to create your garden in stages, over a series of years.

How to Handle Pre-Existing Plants

With the exception of trees, it is usually easier to remove pre-existing plants than to design around them. You can save the plants to incorporate into your design, move them to another area or give them to a grateful gardening friend. However, there will be times when your primary interest is in complementing an existing planting, whether a favorite tree, a hedge or a row of peonies. If that is the case, you are going to have to be very strict with yourself.

Your Gardening Style Plays Role

Style can mean a preference for pastels over hot colors, a theme, such as fragrance or an actual style, like cottage or woodland gardens. You’ll have more leeway here than other areas, but since your space is limited, every plant counts. You may love red poppies, but they are going to become the focal point in your pastel garden. When choosing plants for style, it helps to group your plants. This way you can see the sore thumbs. Ferns, pulmonaria and Solomon’s Seal will look great together. Primrose may suit the site conditions but the loud colors may be too jarring for the look of a woodland garden.

Garden Depth Important

Unlike color, you will want some variety in texture and form, to give the garden depth. And with only a handful of plants, look for plants with long lasting appeal. Great foliage, perhaps variegated, colored or lacy, and a long season of bloom.



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