The 4 Things To Know About Perennial Garden Design

Our last hurrah

When it comes to designing are garden it can be difficult to know where to even start. Even if the garden already has a rough layout, it’s difficult to say which plants go where, how they should be planted and what combinations will work.

Over time you’ll develop an instinct for this kind of thing, but here are a few things that you should bear in mind until those instincts kick in.

Make Your Flower Beds Wide

It’s a basic fact of garden design that a skimpy flower bed is nigh on impossible to make look good. Give those beds plenty of breadth, ideally at least a foot of width for every three feet of length. If you’ve got a fifteen foot perennial flower bed it should be at least five feet wide. That said, you don’t want beds any wider than ten to fifteen feet wide, otherwise people will have trouble seeing the flowers at the back of the bed!

Plant Thickly

Do you enjoy looking at dirt? Of course you don’t, nobody does. It’s dirty, it’s brown, it occasionally has worms crawling out of it, it’s not anybody’s idea of an aesthetic treat. So why make the visitors your garden look at it Pack those perennial flower beds so that there is barely an inch of soil visible between them. If there are bare spaces it looks like the plants are too young, or you’re too cheap to get enough plants.

Make Sure the Garden Reflects Your Tastes

Like anyone who does anything creative, a gardener’s work should tell you a little about his or herself. It’s an expression of their tastes and personality. So bear that in mind when planning your garden. Take a look at the surroundings – if you’re creating a garden for a rickety cottage in the Cotswolds, there’s no point trying to go for the same regal atmosphere of a stately home.  But at the same time, always remember, this is your garden, and at the end of the day the first person you need to please is yourself.

Step Back

Gardeners spend an awful lot of our time on hands and knees, barely a nose’s distance away from the ground, working on all the hundreds of tiny details that make up a garden. But every so often it’s worth taking a step back and looking at the garden as a whole. There are essential questions you need to ask yourself about the garden, such as: What is the experience like when you walk through a garden, how do the opposite ends of the garden react to one another when they are  both in your eye line at the same time? Does this look like someone was creating it with a plan or just making it up as they went along? What’s the first emotion you feel as you step through the garden gate?

Getting the answers to these questions right can make the difference between a good gardener and a truly great one.

Featured images:

Rob Whitehead is the principal of the Pickard School of garden design.






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5 Ideas To Make Your Garden POP

All gardens are beautiful, but if you want design features your guests will remember and your family will treasure, you might have to think outside the box. Creativity is the key to making a strong impression. Don’t do anything the way everyone else does it. Try something new. Go with something bold and out of the ordinary and adapt these exciting ideas to your unique style.

1. Add and Aquaponics Water Feature

Water features can be practical as well as beautiful. Consider a working waterfall raining down upon hanging or fixed planters to water them. The planters are filled with grow bed medium and beautiful plants, so your water will stay clean. Finally, after working through a system of numerous planters and waterfalls, the water babbles quietly through a final waterfall into a 300 to 600 gallon decorative fish pond. You could raise Koi for their beauty or Tilapia for your table.

Aquaponics system designs could be natural or something quite modern and abstract. Materials could be stones and concrete, decorative hammered copper and glass or any number of decorative materials. Many people are creating practical aquaponics systems that are utilitarian and designed to grow vegetables and fish, but it is possible to create intense beauty with an aquaponics system as well. Aquaponics systems self water plants, using bell siphons so they require very little maintenance, and the sound of their many waterfalls is absolutely enchanting.

2. Build Matching Walkways, Seating and Planters

There are many methods and materials that can be use to build a wonderland in your garden. Stone is always a good choice, but stamped or decorative concrete can mimic stone, brick, wood, marble or any other surface very convincingly at a fraction of the cost. A good concrete contractor can build both vertical and horizontal surfaces with the same patterns and materials. You will find his fees quite reasonable compared to the price of stone and the entire job will look like it cost a fortune.

3. A Custom Archway Trellis or Arbor with Built In Planters

Trellises and arbors can be so beautiful, but it takes forever for plants in the ground to reach the top of the trellis. Why not design an arbor with planters along the sides and built into the top for flowering plants. By combining the idea of vertical gardening with the old fashioned arched trellis one can have an amazing look almost immediately instead of having to wait for vines to grow to eight feet high? This way all types of flowering plants could be incorporated easily.

4. Build planters on the Top of your Garden Fences

Why not attach long planters to the tops of your fence posts so that they sit on top of the fence in a uniform row. This will add height, not only to your fence but to your garden. You and your guests will be able to enjoy your tall garden as a row of flowers or greenery at a new and unexpected height. This idea would work with any fence height including tall privacy fences. Consider filling the new fence planters with native violets and allowing them to trail down the fence in ample cascades of mauve and white blossoms and deep green foliage.

5. Consider an Exciting Designer Hammock

There are two stunning hanging furniture designs by Dedon, an Italian furniture company. Either would provide a stunning impression. Dedon makes an exciting 2 meter wide hanging teardrop shaped pod made of woven Dedon Fiber and stuffed with exciting outdoor cushions. Another possibility might be their Swingrest daybed. This round garden bed can be suspended or its swivel Corian base can be placed on the ground.

Mike Smith is a home decorator who uses Premium Pools and Gardens for all of his outdoor needs.

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How To Redesign Your Garden To Make It Safe For Your Children

How To Redesign Your Garden To Make It Safe For Your Children

Having a garden is fantastic, especially when you have children; however, unfortunately many gardens provide a huge number of hazards to children. It is therefore really important to make sure, upon ever redesigning your garden, to keep a number of crucial points in mind, such as:

Checking your garden is escape proof

Accidents do happen and as a parent you will make mistakes. Unfortunately no matter how hard you try it is impossible to keep an eye on children all the time. It is incredibly important your children do not find a way out of the garden when your back is turned. Therefore when you are installing hedges, fencing or gates for the first time, you need to make sure you haven’t left any gaps, all fastenings are secure and that little fingers cannot unlock or untie anything.

Checking your plant types

Unfortunately, many of the prettiest plants people want in their gardens, such as roses, holly and pampas grass often come with sharp leaves and/or thorns. These are obviously dangerous to young children, who don’t know any better than not to touch. However, this is no reason to not put these in your garden. If these plants are essential to your new garden redesign, you just need to be a bit more considerate about where you are planting them.

You will also need to double check the toxicity of your new plants before planting, to make sure they are not poisonous if a child happens to eat them. Aim to keep all of these kinds of plants at a higher level, far away from children’s eyes, faces and fingers. Or you can always section off an area of your garden using handrails, thereby making the plants inaccessible to your children.

Checking your tools are always safely stored away

One of the most important things to remember, when redesigning a garden with kids around, is to ensure everything is always put back in its proper place. Even if you only put something, like a garden fork or a hammer, down for a second in order to go and get a drink, it can be extremely dangerous. A child might easily pick something like this up off the floor and cause damage, to themselves or even to someone else.

Try to avoid using any tools with power leads, when your children are about. Not only might the cords prove to be a tripping hazard for your children but you may also find tools start and stop for no apparent reason…Upon investigation you will probably find a mischievous toddler is at fault and they are playing an ‘innocent’ plug and unplug game, however, it just isn’t worth the risk of something going wrong.

Checking the safety of your water features

Without a doubt water features are one of the most popular aspects to include when redesigning a garden, ranging from large pools and ponds to simple bird bath fountains. However, whilst they can be beautiful, they are also very dangerous to children, for obvious reasons. Try to keep this in mind when installing your water features and include whatever safety measures you can, whether this include cordoning off the feature itself, covering with netting, or just settling for features too small in size to be a threat to your children.

Attached Images:
  •  License: Image author owned

Laura writes for Seagull Ballustrades. When not writing, she can be often be found trying to keep her children from destroying her garden.

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