Money Saving Tips For Garden Designing

Garden designing, often called landscape designing, is of course a big undertaking, and can consume a great deal of time and energy. Professional Garden designers can be very expensive consequently you need to do some serious planning before you go out and hire a professional Garden Designer. Here are some garden designing tips to save you both time and money.

First and foremost you must have a clear idea or vision of the kind of garden you truly wish to have. Here is list of the most popular:

English Gardens promote a style that accentuates harmony between the architecture of the house with the garden. This is often accomplished by using the placement of flowers and plants and borders to accentuate the rhythm of the structure of the house.

Asian Gardens are usually found in smaller backyards to promote peace, health as well as beauty. They often employ evergreens, rocks, rock formations and water features in just the right places to create a feng shui effect.

Woodland Gardens are beautiful and scenic well suited to a house that has a wooded backyard.

Formal Gardens have a style consisting of many perfectly geometrical shapes with straight lines. Everything is orderly and planned, this means the garden design will not tolerate random placement of plants.

Informal Gardens are usually the charming, quaint style you see in Cozy Cottages. In this style Garden Beds have rounded or curved boundaries instead of perfectly straight lines. Unlike the formal garden, the plants are often randomly placed to bump up the charm factor.

Mixture of Formal with the Informal Gardens is the style that often has lovely brick walkways that emanate formality but lead to a circular or curved garden spot which is softer a feature often seen in an informal garden. This arrangement of formal and informal bring to mind the English Garden style but without formal borders.

And my favorite…

Vegetable Gardens where you plant what you love to eat and share with others. This garden type with a bit of imagination and planning can also be built with many of the above styles in mind.

The Style of Your House:

While you plan out your dream garden there’s another very important thing to consider, and that is the style of your home. If you have very formal architecture the charming informal garden may not be properly suited the style of your home. This is just as true if you have a cottage style house it is important to realize that a formal garden may look completely out of place.

Your Lifestyle:

Also take a good and truthful look at your own lifestyle. Do you enjoy spending your spare time caring for numerous beds of plants, trees and flowers which entail seasonal cultivating and pruning? If you love this please plant them.

On the other hand if you prefer spending your free time traveling, going to the park or beach then choose a garden design that gives you what you need or love but make sure that it is relatively suited for easy care.

The Vision of Your Finished Design:

Once you have made the above choices it’s time to diligently think about your finished design. So take a discerning look at your existing landscape and make a list of how you truly want use this piece of land. It is now time to decide what kind of plants you love and want to include. And what features are important to you. In other words, would a barbeque or swimming pool be appropriate? Would you like an area to entertain friends and family? A children’s area for playing? A pond with koi fish and lily pads?

Favorite Place:

Small Garden Design Ideas For Any Setting

A well crafted small garden design could be desirable to people for a number of reasons. First, the outdoor space suitable for being turned into a garden could be rather small. Alternatively there could be plenty of outdoor space, but the person may not want to make a large garden. Also if the garden space is set in an urban setting there may only be a balcony or small patio available for a garden installation.

Those are all good reasons to desire a small garden space, but designing one for those applications can be tricky. It takes forethought and careful planning to make a garden of this type really work.

Here are a few small garden design ideas that anyone can use to get the most out of any space.

First, a person needs to consider what the purpose of the garden is: Decorative, functional, or a hybrid.

A decorative garden is one that focuses on plants that will have the largest visual impact per square foot without any consideration for edible, or in some other way functional plant. A functional garden on the other hand focuses on maximizing the yield per square foot of plants that can be eaten or used in some other productive manner (i.e. Aloe Vera for burns). Finally, a hybrid garden focuses on a cross between these two different concepts. It tries to produce a high yield of useful plants, while at the same time creating visual interest within the garden space.

The most common garden type that people choose in this regard is a hybrid approach. For the purposes of this article, it is this style that will be the focus of the following small garden design ideas.

The first concept that any person designing a small garden needs to understand is that raised beds always make for a more vigorous crop. Raised beds can be constructed in virtually any shape imaginable so they are the perfect container for any small garden. For example an urban gardener who only has a condo balcony to work with could build raised bed planters in the corners of the balcony and a long narrow one straight down the front parallel to the railing. This design creates a lot of growing space without taking away much of floor space on the balcony.

Another very useful idea to keep in mind when building a small garden is that it can be constructed horizontally as well as vertically. For example a wall or fence can easily be turned into a living wall by adding hanging planters or vining plants like grapes, hardy kiwi, or honeysuckle to it.

Whatever style of garden is being constructed one thing that is important to keep in mind is that in order to create a strong visual appeal, it is better to stagger plants of different heights and colors around one another. This creates texture and dimension to a garden space that can make it seem larger than it really is.

Building a garden is a tremendous amount of fun. By taking the small garden design ideas listed above and making them their own, a person will be able to build a visually interesting and useful garden that will impress all of their friends and family.

Issues for a Garden Designer in the 21st Century – Wildlife, Sustainable Design and Climate Change

A garden is a living entity – it is not like decorating a room or designing a house in which clever use of space is required for maximum convenience of its inhabitants. Whilst clever use of space comes into garden design, understanding the ecology of a garden – what is needed to keep it functioning healthily, is fundamental. It is no use placing attractive planting in the wrong place where it won’t survive – Lavender in damp shade, or Rodgersia in dry sunny conditions, Rhododendrons on lime or Clematis in acid soil. We also need to give plants adequate growing room and take into account changes that will occur over time. But more than this, the garden is a living plant and animal community, which means thinking about attracting beneficial insects in to help deal with pests; providing nesting and overwintering places for insects, amphibians, birds and small mammals who will eat pests; companion planting; providing food sources for insects and birds – nectar and pollen rich flowers for bees and other pollinators, berries for birds, and using some native plants. All these considerations are not just for people who love to watch wildlife or want to feel they are doing good – they are a matter of keeping the garden in balance and healthy – not allowing a pest to get out of control and ensuring our own survival by supporting pollinators. These factors can be designed in to a garden and I would say its beauty and value to humans can be increased rather than compromised as a result, not only because the garden will look and feel healthier, but because choices made for wildlife also please humans – who would dispute the beauty of simple flowers ideal for pollinators, a dry stone wall that can provide a home for solitary bees, or a tree or shrub with autumn to winter berries or fruit (such as a Sorbus, Cotoneaster or crab apple)? Most gardeners desire long seasons of bloom, from Hellebores and snowdrops through to Michaelmas daisies and Japanese anemones – this extended season is good for pollinators too. A pile of twigs and stones can provide overwintering for insects, but a designer can instead build an insect hotel which looks beautiful as well as housing wildlife.

However, it would be disingenuous to say that there are not some compromises to be made between the needs of wildlife and the human inhabitants of gardens – people who enjoy a very neat garden throughout the year, if they want to encourage wildlife, may have to learn to leave fallen leaves on flower beds in autumn, where they will be taken down by worms to enrich the soil, as well as providing leaf litter for over-wintering insects, and perhaps leave a patch of grass to grow long for wildlife in spring. A garden designer can design this is, so that it looks right rather than scruffy.

But one of the most problematic sources of tension between the needs of wildlife and the needs of people is ivy, for ivy is invaluable to wildlife, providing a reliable source of late season nectar for bees, berries for birds when there is almost nothing else, and if allowed to grow, nesting sites, as well as homes for many insects, spiders and even small mammals and amphibians when on the ground. However, it can be rampant and difficult to control. It mustn’t be allowed to grow up young, small or weak trees and is best kept away from houses and pergolas. The best solution, which is not possible in every garden, is to find a wall away from the house, where it can be allowed to grow without out-competing everything else, and to keep it in check.

There is interest amongst garden designers of today in environmentally responsible approaches to design. This is linked to gardens for wildlife, but also to wider environmental concerns. As garden designers we are always concerned about fitting the garden into its wider environment. Many of the gardens I have designed or am working on are in conservation areas, where it is important to use local materials that fit with the area, and to design in sympathy with the locality. This often means, for instance using native trees and does set parameters but doesn’t mean you can’t be imaginative. The other aspect of being environmentally responsible is to think about the environmental footprint or cost of the garden – are we going to use stone that has been shipped across the world, or are we going to try to use more locally sourced materials? Can we recycle or re-use existing materials? Are we using timber from sustainable sources? We must be interested in the environmental costs of our designs, as we are so affected by climate change. The weather is unpredictable at the moment. No one knows whether we are going to have drought, floods, harsh or mild winters. This all effects what we can grow and get established successfully. Working in Oxfordshire I always specify fully hardy plants, and most well established plants in gardens that I know have survived, with the odd one or two dying off in recent winters, including Bays, Cotoneasters and Ceanothuses. 2012 was also a very bad year for top fruit (pears and apples). So perhaps plant failure is going to become more common in the future as weather patterns vary and will be something we have to live with. The best policy for a designer is to ensure that the plant is right for the situation and aspect, and give it the best chance by ensuring appropriate ground preparation and care.

Plant diseases and pests are also a worry with ash, horse-chestnuts and now oaks being threatened. Environmentally responsible designers are looking at using home-grown plants rather than importing plants and importing pests and diseases with them. But it’s really a matter of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

These are some of the most important issues facing garden designers today, and I hope I have generated some thought around these issues, for further discussion.