Designing a flower Garden
Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint, and the soil and sky as canvas- Elizabeth Murray
Flower garden designing need not be the domain of designers and landscapers. Anyone gifted with a little patience and imagination can create a flower garden, which will be a source of perpetual joy.
Flowers are not only for special occasions but we can incorporate their warmth and beauty in our daily life by planting them in our own gardens.while designing your flower garden, you can experiment with different types of flowers, colors and seasons.
While designing your flower garden, your only limit is your imagination.
How To Design a Flower Garden
While designing a flower garden, you must follow a basic plan. The following factors must be kept in mind while designing your garden:
- Sunlight: Different plants require different amounts of light. Most plants prefer full sun (6 or more hours of direct sun each day). Others need full- or part-shade. Some plants may grow perfectly in the shade but flower better in full sun.
- Soil:You should avoid locating flower gardens where there is standing water after heavy rains or during the spring. Prepare soil well in advance of planting -- preferably in fall for planting the following spring.
- Where to plant? :Design your flower garden considering the views from private outdoor spaces such as patios, decks, and terraces. Don't forget about how the garden will look when viewed through windows from inside the house. They should look pleasant to neighbours and passersby also.
- Tough places: One of the most difficult places for growing flowers is the base of a tough, mature tree because of the competition for nutrients and moisture.
- Start a sketch: You can start by sketching a draft of your proposed flower garden design on paper. First lay down the basic plan of your house, considering other buildings and the already existing plants. You can plant them according to their individual requirement of sunlight. For example, areas close to the north sides of buildings get little direct sun.
- Slope: Flower gardens thrive on level or slightly sloping grounds. Steep slopes lead to erosion and terracing must be done to check the soil erosion. Steep slopes are good for rock gardens.
- Borders and islands: You must look for spaces for creating new flowerbeds in your flower garden. These may be border beds, tied along one edge to a building, fence, or walkway. Or they may be island beds, carved out of the middle of the lawn.
- Background: You must consider the background in your flower garden before creating a flowerbed to provide pleasant visual contrast. Buildings, fences, hedges, or a row of evergreen trees can keep the plants from just becoming one with the existing landscape. Growing vines on a fence can give that background an interesting texture. But solid background may restrict the air circulation and cause diseases if the plants are grown too close.
- Width: In a small floower garden with limited space, 2- to 3-foot-wide borders may make the most sense. The standard for traditional English perennial borders is that they need to be at least 6 to 8 feet wide to accommodate the range of plants needed to provide varying heights and continuous bloom. But you are free to experiment with options that fall between these two.
- Shape: Formal flower gardens usually have straight edges that are easier to maintain. Gently curving edges provide a less formal look and give the bed the illusion that it is longer than it really is.
- Edging: Use a garden hose to mark the edge of your flower bed before creating one in your flower garden.You can use flour, lime, or landscape paint to mark the edge. Products made from metal or plastic, bricks, field stones, or pavers are some edging materials you can use.
- Plant height: Plants of different heights should be arranged in your flower garden according to from where you want to view them. Generally, short plants are grown in the front and the taller ones behind, but if you want to view them from the window of your house, then it should be the other way round. To create a smooth gradation of heights in your flower garden, the tallest plants should be no taller than about two-thirds the width of the bed, or half the width of the bed in the case of island beds.
- Plan for constant color and interest: Choose plants that thrive and bloom throughout the year and even in winter. Spring-flowering bulbs are good for early color. Herbaceous perennials have specific times during the growing season. Many annuals, once they start flowering, continue to bloom until fall frost.
- Foliage and form: Though spectacular blooms always captivate us, we should not ignore the rest of the plant that can add color and interesting background to the flower garden. Different plants grow into different shapes. Some plants grow into cushions, mounds, or clumps. Others are upright and spiky. Still others are round and bushy. You can mix these shapes for a different effect in your flower garden.
- Arrangement: Plants are grown in regular patterns in formal gardens and in informal gardens, they are either grown in clumps or drifts to give a more natural look.Planting the same kind of plant in clumps or drifts produces more visual impact than planting a single plant.Alternating two different colors in a rigid pattern (red, yellow, red, yellow ... ) in close proximity produces a jarring effect. Repeating a plant or color in several places along a border brings about cohesiveness to a seemingly random planting.
- Specialty gardens: You can specialize in a particular type of gardening. For example, rock gardens have plants that thrive in gravelly, well-drained soils. Other gardeners have particular interest in growing plants that attract butterflies or hummingbirds. You may create water gardens, bog gardens, prairie gardens, or woodland gardens. You can use your creativity to incorporate them in your own flower garden and create your own style.
- Color: Cool colors, such as blues, soft pinks, and violets, are known to produce a relaxing effect. Use them around decks and patios where you want to create a tranquil atmosphere in your flower garden.Cool colors do not show up well from a distance, and have the most color impact when viewed from close. They create an illusion of depth.Warm colors, such as reds, oranges, and yellows, are bold and stimulating. Warm colors are visible from farther distances, such as across a yard or from the street. Use hot colors moderately or the mind and eyes may grow tired of the visual stimulation. They can be mixed with cool colors to create a balancing effect.
- Texture: Texture refers to the tactile and visual surface of all elements used in the garden. Texture may refer to the amount of light reflected from plant foliage. Glossy-leafed plants attract the eye, while dull-leafed plants appear flat and tend to recede. Texture also includes leaf size. Generally, coarse textures are suitable for large landscapes, and finer textures for smaller spaces. However, coarse textures can be used as accents in small landscapes.Grow plants that match the size of your flower garden.
- Form: Form refers to the three dimensional shape of plants, individual flowers, or space. Herbaceous plants have many different forms, including upright, vase-shaped, oval, pyramidal, spreading, etc. These forms can give a different look to the garden, though too much variety can create commotion. Mix and match these forms to bring out the best effect in your flower garden.
- Plant Dimension: Plant dimension refers to the height and width of plants. You can create different levels or stories in your flower garden by an interesting mix of different plant dimensions.
Types of Flower Garden Design
You can design your garden acccording to the kind of flowers you desire to grow.There are two such major types:
Annual Flower Garden
An annual is a plant that grows, flowers, sets seed and dies the same season. The term "annual" is also applied to tender perennial that survive the winter only in the mildest of climates. Annuals enhance the beauty of your garden by their bold colors creating a cheerful mood. The real advantage of annuals is that they break the monotony and you can give a new and refreshing look to your garden every year. Geraniums, dahlias, celosias, cockscomb, and plume celosias are some of the favorite annual plants.
Perennial Flower Garden
Perennials are plants that do not die after one season of growth. They form the backbone of the garden as they have the staying power. They come back year after year and require relatively less maintenance. Though some are short-lived, favorites like daylilies, hostas and peonies are known to survive year after year.A biennial is a kind of perennial plant that requires two growing seasons to complete its life cycle. During the first growing season it produces mainly foliage. In its second year it will flower and set seed, often early in the season. Parsley and hollyhock are some examples.You can design your own perennial flower garden and see it thriving for years.
Using the tips above, its time to turn your dream flower garden into reality.