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So you’ve decided you want to design your own garden from scratch. But it’s a huge task that seems uphill, probably because you don’t know what will work and what you need to do. Well then, lucky for you I have just the plan you can follow to get your garden up and ready. It’ll take you effort; anyone who says designing your garden is easy is a cheat and you should run away with your purse clutched in your hands firmly.
You’re not going to need a lot of equipment to do your designing. As long as you have a basic set of gardening tools like gardening gloves (you can buy one off of Amazon), know how to operate a simple measuring tape and can roughly sketch lines on a piece of paper, you’re ok. So then, let’s begin!
Step 1. Have an objective
The very first thing to sort out when you start off on making a garden space is to ask yourself what you want from it.
Ones that smell good, ones that look nice, or maybe ones that attract bees; there are as many flowers as the taste of their cultivators. Depending upon what you want to grow in your garden, you’ll need to design your space differently. But you needn’t pick one aim alone. You can have some flowers, some fruits and a few herbs all in an ornamentally decorated lawn.
Take a minute, or several, and decide what you want to achieve with your garden. And then, we come to step 2.
Step 2. Make a Map
You don’t need to be an expert cartographer to make a map of your lawn. You can just zoom onto your house on Google Maps and take a printout. Or, you can trace it off your screen on a piece of paper with a light pencil. Next, you need to bring out your measuring tape, and measure the length and breadth of your garden space. Mark the dimensions on the paper map. And that’s it! Your map is ready!
Oh! And don’t forget the space between the sidewalk and the road.
Step 3. Plan your elements
Now that you have a rough map ready, and have an idea about what you want to reap out of your effort of designing your garden, let yourself loose. Write down what you want in your lawn. Want a fountain? Write it down! An ornamental bush? Let it go! A Koi pond? Alright! A greek sculpture? On the list! What sort of plants do you want? Where do you want them? What sort of trees? How do you want the driveway to look? What material do you fancy it to be paved with? Write it all down.
Now that you know what your dream garden looks like, it’s time to compromise. Stuff is expensive, and two elements might not sit well together. What do you absolutely need, and what can you do without? What stuff can you put off buying, and which ones do you think are not worth the money? Maybe you can afford more of something you expected to be expensive! Google stuff up. Plan it.
Plants that grow to a short height should face forward. Tall ones can sit back. Trees can frame windows, as can big bushes. But you don’t want them growing too big or haphhazard and blocking your view. Plan your flowerbeds and draw them roughly on the map. You might find it useful to get some string and some sticks, and put a rough boundary on the beds, the area for trees and the boundary of elements like gazebos or sculptures. It can help you visualise the space so much better.
Step 4. Figure out the native species
One rule that can never be overstressed is to lay focus on native species. You’ll find them to be effortless to procure, plant, maintain and propagate. They’re used to the climate, having thrived in it for centuries.They’re resistant to diseases and pests, and they’ll attract pollinators which can also boost other plants. Even if they don’t look as appealing as the exotic flowering bush you’re having shipped from the other end of the country, they’ll often turn out to be your house’s saving grace when bad weather slows or kills your other plants.
Plus, you don’t have to buy a lot of native species. Gather seeds from the sidewalk or the park, or from a similar green belt. They’ll germinate without complaining and will be more than happy to adorn your garden.
Step 5. Plant the plants and make a feeding schedule
Now that you have the plants planned, visit the nursery or the gardening store. Buy the plant saplings or put the seeds in seed germinators. Let the plants grow into their new home. With a bit of luck, your lawn will be looking amazing in no time.
But it’s not enough to just put the plants into the ground. With time, the soil loses its nutrients and you need to replenish it through fertilisers. Different plants need different nutrient combinations, though there certainly are general combinations available in the market. Find out what fertilisers work best for your various plants and trees, and how they are best delivered. Watering needs are different for different plants as well. Your local nursery should be able to help you plan your schedule.
Step 6. Edit the schedule according to seasonal changes and other factors
Now that your plants are thriving, they probably will require pruning. With changing seasons, they’ll stop flowering or giving fruits and some might die as well. You need to make relevant edits to your schedule to account for these. A plant at the end of its life doesn’t need to be watered as much as it used to, so you can make do with just wetting the soil. On the other hand, pruning induces stress on the tree or plant, so you need to make sure it gets the right amount of nutrition and water it needs. You don’t want to water your plants in the hot summer afternoon; the evaporation rate will make the moisture in the soil last much less. Add mulch regularly, make sure no insects and fungi take over the plants.
That does sound like a lot of work, doesn’t it? But the rewards are beautiful, and you get a whole different level of satisfaction when you think you made this graceful scenery manifest outside your door by your own effort and initiative. You’ll fail and fall a few times, no doubt. Some plants might not turn out as amazing as you thought, the driveway might not look as attractive as you hoped, and so it may take you a few modifications to get the combination right. But when you do, you’ll find you’ve never been happier with your garden.
Have any more steps to add to our amazing guide to designing your own garden? Leave them in the comments below, and we might feature a few good tips with due credit in future updates.