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30 Design Tips

30   Garden  Design   Tips

1.    Educate Yourself.   Read magazines and books to determine the look you want.

2.    Don't feel compelled to put it on paper YET.   Rely on your eyes to see the effects you desire.  Design is "fluid" and the landscape constantly changes.

3.    Designate areas for particular activities.  Your yard will work more efficiently if you have spots identified for the grill, garbage cans, swing set, dining area etc.

4.    Remember, any spot can be a garden.  Plan a garden that is suited to the site rather than fighting it.

5.    Take Photos.  A photograph makes you look at your garden objectively.

6.    Write it Down.  When you see a plant you love, write down the full name.

7.    Look at your garden during the winter.  The strengths and weaknesses are most apparent.

8.    Don't plant in straight rows.  Plant in groups of 3's, 5's etc.  For annuals and the most impact, plant in large drifts of 10-20's.

9.      Mix it up.  Who says all the vegetables have to go in the vegetable garden ?

10.    Go for a variety of shapes.

11.    Foliage is important.   Go for contrast in color, texture and shape of foliage.

12.    Come up with a color theme.    The best gardens have a general color theme.

13.    Experiment.   Sometimes the most unlikely combinations are the most stunning !

14.    Create mood in the garden by choosing a theme.   Look to your house for inspiration.  Contemporary, natural, formal, rustic etc.

15.    Use garden accents sparingly.

16.    Plant for fragrance in the garden.  

17.    Go for native plants and regional flavor.

18.    Don't rule out a formal garden with informal elements for casual feel and low maintenance.

19.    Include an element of mystery.  Don't let the garden unveil itself in one sweeping view.

20.    Nearly every garden needs a garden path.

21.    Look up.  Nearly every garden benefits from a trellis, arbor, bamboo teepee or other structure that bring flowers up to the eye level.

22.    Don't be skimpy.  Go for borders that are 6-9'deep.  Make your flowerbeds large enough to include a variety of plants that will have interest in every season.

23.    Have at least one window box.  It will add dimension to your garden and character to your home.

24.    Recycle.  Use found or leftover materials as garden inspiration.

25.    Don't try to much at first.  A small garden that is well tended is better and has more impact than a large garden that is out of control.

26.    Prune wisely.

27.    Install edging in your flowerbeds.  It will keep out weeds and grass.

28.    Find or create a view point.  This does not have to be a sweeping view of the mountains.  A nice tree at the end of the yard is fine.  Make sure there is a clear sight line to it and maybe play it up with a small statue, bench or water feature.

29.    Create a background.  This gives the garden a sense of enclosure.

30.    Mask the uglies.  Camouflage, transform, cover or screen the uglies in your landscape (Heat/Air Conditioning Pumps, Satellite etc.).