Designing a garden landscape is an art; and it is not hard to master it. You do not have to have a big lawn, skills of a master gardener, expensive tools or abundance of plants. You just have to select the right type of plants for the right location and climate. Selecting the right plants for your garden landscape is somehow tricky. You cannot just mix and match your favourite plants and erect them together in your lawn or garden. You have to pick and choose plants that complement one another and mix up well to make a uniform and a low maintenance garden landscape.
In this post, I would try to list a couple of general rules that novice gardeners can use to design a low maintenance garden landscape.
The primary principle of landscape design is to do your homework before paving the ground for a garden landscape.
Purpose of Garden Landscape
Decide the purpose of your landscape. Landscapes are design for special purposes. You may want to design a garden landscape for shade, as visual divider, for noise control, or for sheer ornamental purposes.
Understand Climatic Conditions
Once you have decided the purpose of landscaping, do some research to understand the (year round) climate of your garden, lighting conditions, type of soil, and availability of land and water.
Decide the Type of Landscape
When you understand all of these vital factors, decide what type of landscape you want to design: rock garden landscape, xeriscape, miniature landscape, native garden landscape, evergreen, tropical garden landscape etc. Every landscape type has unique requirements and features. For a low maintenance garden landscape, go for native garden landscape. You will still have a long list of plants to select from.
Select the Right Plants
At this stage, you should have clear idea of type of plants that you are going to use in your landscape. The toughest part starts now; selection of plants. Do not select plants just because you like them. Select plants that can grow well in climatic conditions (light, temperature, soil etc.) of your garden. Make a combination of plants of different types – shrubs, flowering bushes, small trees etc.
Visualize Your Landscape Design
Once you have a list of plants; try to visualize how your garden landscape would look like when these plants grow old. Plants that are smaller today might turn into big trees spreading their roots and branches all over the garden. Similarly, shrubs might need regular pruning. Some plant might be hungrier than their companions. Some of them might remain solitary or too small to make survive under large specimen. Now start eliminating all plants that might grow larger than your landscape.
Select Colors and Textures
At this point, you still have a large number of varieties that you can use in your landscape garden. Now think about aesthetics and dimensions. Think about color, texture, and shape of shortlisted plants. Shades of same hues complement each other and give a uniform look-and-feel. Colors with greater contrast make showy and vibrant environment. Grey, black and white and neutral colors that can be used in background to neutralize and break distracting color schemes. Texture is another important factor. Some plants, for example ferns, are delicate. Some are rough or rugged (for example Pachypodium) and some (like Beaucarnea) have both characteristics. Make a combination of these plants. Combination of plants eliminates a number of problems like insects, temperature and soil control because some plants repel insects, some attract pollinating bugs, some provide shade for plants that do not like direct light, and some make vigorous roots to keep the soil intact.
Purchase Plants for Your Garden Landscape
Obtain plants. Go to your local nurseries and purchase plants. Do not go for larger specimen; purchase small plants – it is fun watching them grow into large plants. Always purchase plants that are healthy and acclimatized.
The fun part starts now. Time to flex your muscles and dig the ground. You know rest of the stuff. Go digging and share your experiences. If you have designed a garden landscape, come across a nice design or have some cool design ideas, do share. I will feature your landscape design on this website.
Here are a couple of inspiring landscape designs that I have come across recently.
Add Some Pond Plants
If you already have a fish pond in your garden you might even want to improve its aesthetics by adding some pond plants which will attract natural wildlife. If you are considering building one, its maintenance can get much easier with equipment from specialists like www.allpondsolutions.co.uk.