Make The Most Of Your Existing Garden Features!
Look for natural assets which can be highlighted or borrowed, such as a view - maybe this could be opened up and made more of?Planting Guide:
Beautiful mature trees and attractive neighbouring buildings or a beautiful wall can also be valuable features, so make the most of them.
Some features of the site cannot be altered without great expense, for example if the ground is naturally very hilly.
So make these level changes work for you by creating an intriguing series of terraces linked by winding paths or steps.
Each level can be quite different in character to the last and the children can have their very own terrace for playhouses, swings and climbing frames.
Such gardens have a wonderful feeling of movement and space to them, with each terrace offering new delights to entice you to explore further.
While some drawbacks may not be totally overcome, they can be alleviated in many ways.
Shade can be reduced by judicious pruning, eyesores, such as oil tanks, can be disguised or screened, and even a strong prevailing wind can be partially tamed by planting a barrier hedge to dissipate it.
The most basic rule of all is keep the initial design strong and simple. You can always add to it later.
A well-designed landscape extends your home beyond its four walls.
Landscape and garden designer Julie Moir Messervy shows readers how to create living spaces outdoors in her new book, Home Outside: Creating the Landscape You Love.
This expert garden designer believes most people are more comfortable fixing up rooms than yards, so she seeks to instill confidence by taking a step-by-step approach.
She addresses real-life challenges, such as limited time, budget constraints and neighborhood association rules, and provides a wealth of ideas and photos for inspiration.
For the home gardener, this book demystifies many of the principles of landscape design with a relaxed style, terrific photos, diagrams and personal stories.
In fact, Julie maintains that many of the design techniques we are confident in using inside our homes can be applied to the outside as well and she gives many examples.
I think Home Outside is a must read for professionals as well to help enable them to communicate effectively with their clients. A great book!
When deciding what to plant, don't confine your thoughts to colour, perfume and size.
There is so much more which is important - such as shape, texture, movement and sound.
However, it is a very good idea to restrict the varieties of plants and colours.
A border planted with bold clumps of flowers, maybe in a single colour, looks much more striking than one containing a wide variety of plants in different colours dotted here and there.
Remember to plan your groups so that the smallest are at the front.
Trees are always a welcome addition, providing vertical interest, character, shade and a place to play or sit.
Many people are put off planting trees by the thought that they may take a long time to grow, or because they plan to move on after a few years.
But even a young tree will add enormous interest to your garden, and with many species it is amazing how much growth can be put on in just three or four years.
Choose your tree carefully, avoiding thirsty or strong-growers such as willows (Salix) and poplars (Populus).
These have a wide-ranging root system which may damage house foundations or hard surfaces such as paths and patios.
Instead look for trees which offer year-round interest in terms of shape, bark, blossom, berries, delicate new spring growth and spectacular autumn colours.
Flowering crab apples (Malus) are lovely, as are varieties of maple (Acer), rowan (Sorbus) and birch (Betula).Try to picture how your garden will look as the seasons progress.
You need to sustain interest throughout the year, so note when individual plants will look their best for flower, fruit or foliage and site them so that they can be enjoyed from your main vantage points.Tools To Help In Your Garden:
I have put some more gardening tips for beginners
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