No matter if they are urban or rural, all gardens benefit from preplanning and design. This doesn’t mean just knowing where you want your garden, but the overall design of the garden. Today, gardening can include everything from vegetables to flowers to lawn care. Carefully planning what you want, and where you want it, beforehand will help you get the most from your garden.
Planning Your Garden
To begin, measure and draw a plan of your yard and/or garden as it is now. Your plan should include the placement of your house, driveways and walkways, property boundaries, trees and shrubs, and utility services. Using graph paper, draw everything as close to scale as possible.
What Is Your Garden’s Purpose?
Make a list of everything you want to have in your garden area that you consider essential. This could include a vegetable plot, fruit trees, or flower borders. Once you have your basic essentials listed, move on to your “wish list.” Your wish list would include items such as a water feature or a potting shed. Put the items in your list in the order of their importance. Now, place a piece of tracing paper over your original garden plan drawing and draw in your essential and wish list items. Divide your garden plan into zones such as public area, surface area, and private areas.
How Much Space Will You Need?
Everything that you want in your garden plan may not fit in that area that you have available. You may have to make decision about which features are the most important to you, or how to incorporate them differently (like in containers). Think carefully about how much time you will have to devote to your garden’s maintenance and care. Eliminate those things that you know you will not have time for.
What Kind of Garden Do You Want?
There are many different types of gardens that you could have. Besides having vegetables and fruits growing in a certain area, you may also want one of the following types of gardens.
Kitchen Garden. If you don’t have the space or a large vegetable garden, you may want to plant a kitchen garden. This type of garden is usually planted close to the house where you can harvest the plants easily. However, you need to make sure that it is not so close to the house that it does not get adequate sunlight. Plants in a kitchen garden are usually those that are easy to plant, maintain and harvest.
You may want to have an ornamental garden. An ornamental garden and either be formal or informal and is characterized by having plants or shrubs rather than flowers. Some people prefer to use ornamental gardens for their private outdoor rooms.
If you live in a rural area, a Wildlife Garden may be an appropriate choice for you. A wildlife garden will usually include a water feature, tall grasses, and lots of flowers and fruits. This is the type of garden that small critters, butterflies and birds will be drawn to.
Your Final Plan
Your final gardening plan should include those items that you consider essential to your garden and those on your wish list that will fit in your gardening area. By now, you should have all of these features drawn in on your graph paper. Take a good look at your plan to make sure that all of your flowers, vegetables, lawn, and other features are placed in areas that are most appropriate: where they can get the best shade and sun and are aesthetically pleasing.
Now, following your plan, start putting your garden together. It doesn’t all have to be done in the same day. In fact, it’s best to take it slowly and create one area at a time. This way, if you find that some features would really fit another place better, changes can be made before planting.