It’s winter, and as you gaze out your picture window, all you see is a 50 square foot patch of bare dirt. After a foray through top 10 plant catalogues armed with a major credit card and your vivid imagination, that space is crowded with shrubs, bedding plants, bulbs and foliage, all competing for light, water and nutrients. You’ve created a plant riot.
Planning is vital to creating a noteworthy garden, and winter is best time to sit down with pencil, paper and reference books. A good garden plan can save time, money and heartache.
SET YOUR SIGHTS ON YOUR SITE
Where is your future garden located? Is it visible to entire neighborhood, or to your eyes only? Does it receive full sun, or is it shaded part of day? What is soil type? All of these factors need to be considered during your planning phase, and will help you screen out your plant choices.
DO YOU HAVE A PURPOSE IN MIND?
Your site may also help determine garden’s purpose. I have two beds within 5 feet of my kitchen door, so they are dedicated to herbs and salad fixings (I can come home from work, pick dinner, go inside and eat.) If your garden is surrounded by a privacy fence, you could consider installing a wildflower plot, or a garden designed with birds and butterflies in mind. These garden styles tend to be unruly, so cloaking them from potentially offended neighbors or homeowners’ association spies is a good idea.
Deciding on a particular theme or purpose for garden plot further narrows your plant choices.
HOW MUCH MAINTENANCE IS INVOLVED?
If you are a harried homeowner with less than 2 hours a week for yard work, installing an annual bed or vegetable garden is not for you. The time you are willing to devote to maintenance is important in choosing plants; less you want to work, more you’ll want to stick with tried, true and dependable plants such as daylilies, hosta, iris, and groundcovers such as ivy or dead nettle.