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Designing within a Design – A Garden or Landscape

Designing within a Design – A Garden or Landscape

Designing within a Design is a great way to create your very own garden or landscape project. Techniques for developing your garden can be made easy through a few simple tips. Think about a particular shape for a bed. For example, lets take a square. There are different ideas you could do inside the square. Generate rows similar to what you see in vegetable gardens. Another thought, you could actually use different shapes such as a triangle or circle inside the square.

In the triangle, put one or three of the same or different shrubs.Remember to keep odd numbers. (This is a good rule of thumb) Another consideration is border your triangle with flowers and put a series of three shrubs inside the triangle. Think about what you want to plant in each of your shapes as you draw them. Next to your triangle, make a circle. You love Indian Hawthorns, put Indian Hawthorns in your triangle, add flowers inside your circle. Does this sound confusing to you? Take a piece of paper and and try these steps…

  • Draw a big Square – use a pencil so you can erase.
  • Think about putting a triangle somewhere inside the square.
  • Before you draw the triangle, think about what plants would fit well in this shape.
  • Draw your plants in your triangle. Don’t worry about drawing an actual plant, put an x for now and make a key and identify what your x is.
  • Continue putting X’s in or if you want something different, make that an o. You can use whatever code or key you want. Make it as simple as you can for yourself. Use letters or numbers.
  • Once you have your triangle done, stop and think about two things. Do you want all different shapes throughout your square or do you want just triangles? Another tip is to add rows to connect all your triangles or your different shapes. There are a couple of possibilities with rows. If you have trees in your triangle, put a row of shrubs to your next triangle or shape. If you have shrubs in your triangle, add a row of perennial flowers.
  • Build your square with your own personality of what you like. Maybe you want to do a square with all flowers. Pick out your favorite ones and create shapes and rows.

This is a basic technique. You start with a shape and continually add on. I have done a entire backyard of just kidney shapes and then put different shapes in all the kidney beds. You can have a formal or informal garden using these shapes.

Below is a very simple drawing for your garden or landscape project. You can create any type of garden designing within a design. I drew the square, put a couple of of triangles in each corner, a kidney shape in the middle and two circles on either side. This could be your backyard or front yard. You do not have to have this many shapes. Make it as simple or get real creative and design several shapes or beds. Also there is an easy key to follow with a few tips and suggestions on what kind of plants to incorporate.

The Design Key
  1. Trees – Consider putting two evergreen trees in the triangle, such as an Emerald Green ArborvitaeDouglas Fir, Redbud, or a Nellie Steven Holly. You could go a little smaller and put a Osmanthus, (Tea Olive) Cleyera, or a Weeping Youpon Holly. The open space where there are three trees, consider maybe two evergreen trees on the outside and a deciduous tree in the middle. A Purple Plum, Maple, (provides great shade) or maybe a flowering Crabapple. Add some color with the evergreens such as a False Cypress, Black Dragon Cryptomeria, or a Leyland Cypress. Leyland Cypress looks striking with a Purple Plum. The gallery of plants section has photos of different trees, shrubs, flowers and herbs. There is a brief description of each and also climate zones.
  2. Shrubs – Put a couple of evergreen shrubs in either side of your triangle. Try a Loropetalum, (Chinese Pizazz) Mop Cypress, Indian Hawthorn, or a Blue or Gray Owl Juniper. (nice teal color) Mix and match some deciduous shrubs also. Winged Euonymus, (beautiful red tones) Spirea, Peegee or Annabelle Hydrangea.
  3. Dwarf Shrubs – dwarf shrubs are wonderful specimens around flowers. Dwarf Hinoki Cypress, dwarf Hemlock, Blue Pacific Juniper, or a Birds Nest.
  4. Flowers – annual or perennials would look nice. Do two beds of perennials or mix some annuals up with the perennial flowers. In winter, those annuals will die out and you will be left with a dead space. Some great annuals are Petunias, Impatiens, Dusty Millers and of course some marigolds.(a very popular annual flower) Mix in some perennials such as Phlox, Columbine, Bee Balm, or some Coreopsis.
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