GARDEN PLANNING GUIDE
FROM DESIGN TO EXECUTION
Are you thinking of redesigning the garden or star ng a new one from scratch?
If yes, there are quite a lot of things to consider saving yourself a great deal of me, money and be satisfied with the result.
Obviously, this is the reason we create a huge source of useful information to relate all the landscape gardeners.
So let’s start with the design and let us navigate you through the whole process!
You probably have lots of ideas for garden design at this stage, but let’s see which ones are achievable.
We highly recommend you start with measuring as the things you will put in the garden depend on the actual place you have.
HOW TO MEASURE THE GARDEN?
When measuring your garden, rough sketch plan of it and the house is the best point to start. It is like a “bird’s eye view”, and it doesn’t need to be scaled.
If the shape is rectangular, measure down each side of the plot and enter the dimensions on the sketch design. Measure up the house and put it into your draw.
For easy measuring of irregular shapes such as ponds, do a rectangle around them, at right angles to your baseline. First, define the size, then the distance from it to two straight lines.
You need to add all fixed features such as drains, trees, and buildings in the raw sketch, include also the actual size of these, such as the spread of a tree.
SPECIFY YOUR OUTDOORS ACTIVITIES
Right after planning the garden design, it’s me to define the outdoor ac vi es you and the family would like to practice there. They are closely related to the size of the garden, and its features.
Here are few li le hints from me.
If having li le kids, it is a good idea to make them appreciate and learn more about nature while building bird feeders, bug hotel or plan ng herbs. These activities don’t require lots of space, but they are building a strong connection between your kids and the Earth.
Another idea is to build wooden yoga platform in the garden. Just imagine – yoga mattress under the trees – that could be the perfect retreat away from the busy everyday life.
DISCOVER THE SPECIFIC CLIMATE AND HARDINESS ZONE
A key to successful garden design is to be aware of the hardiness zone in your area before buying the plants.
Geographically speaking, this is an area where a specific category of plants is capable of growing. It includes the plant’s ability to resist on the minimum temperatures of the zone.
It also does ma er whether if it’s often raining or if the sun is too intensive. It directly affects the choice of materials as well as their quality and resilience.
Nowadays, you can easily find a map with the zones in your continent and start choosing the right ideas.
Asking some local landscape gardener for the second opinion can also be helpful. Otherwise, there is another ingenious idea – garden-planning tools!
HOW TO USE ONLINE GARDEN-PLANNING TOOLS?
Good news – garden planning has never been easier and faster thanks to the several online garden planning apps!
First set your location and answer few questions, and most of them can determine your plan ng zone and give ideas on what to plant and when is the right me.
They can even send you reminders on your weekly gardening service and activities.
Garden design tools are very useful! They can show exactly how your garden will look during the spring, summer, and autumn.
When planning, this is very beneficial and effortless.
Decking is the perfect op on if there are uneven, awkward spaces in your garden as it’s built on a structure.
It’s a stylish addition to the garden.
WHY USE LAYERS?
The different levels make the deck beautiful, so choose the option that will best fit your house and garden, not only your dream.
GROUND LEVEL DECKING
Every landscape service specialist will tell you the most common level of decking is the ground level. It is the easiest to build and doesn’t cost much.
Ground level has all the capabilities to make your home beautiful without causing unnecessary inconvenience.
The raised decking is the best choice if op on if there is a sloped or split-level landscape in your garden. It could give you fantastic views.
However, you will need to get a planning permission, and the elevation comes pricey.
Even the decking on multiple levels is the first choice for lots of people; you should be aware of the fact it’s much more expensive.
Each level could be built with a different purpose – for instance, comfortable dining space on the first level, barbecue and a hot tube on the second one.
If the multi-purposed decking is your final call – make sure it is well supported to carry the weight.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT MATERIALS
Before to start, here is a list of the most suitable materials to build a decking:
The most famous combination is a mixture of wood and recycled plastics as it offers durable, eye-catching products with low maintenance requirements.
Mixing wooden decking with stone paving is also an excellent option to get a stylish look for your garden as a contrast could be made between light and dark colours.
The patio is another type of outdoor space, typically paved, which is commonly used for dining or recreation that adjoins the house.
PROS AND CONS TO CONCRETE PATIO?
The decora ve concrete is the easiest and the cheapest materials even for inexperienced DIY-ers.
The variety allows any shape or size of the patio.
The number of colours and stamps available means there is an endless amount of design options.
You could create a custom patio that perfectly matches the colour of your home or garden. But:
Using concrete for the patio can make it look boring.
In areas that experience extremely low or high temperatures, the concrete tends to crack. These cracks are o en hard to get fixed and cost a fortune.
Concrete is very slippery when it gets wet, so it may not be the best choice in areas where it’s frequently raining.
PAVERS OR BRICKS PATIO
Considering which material to use, it’s important to know that the poured concrete is the most durable and could last for decades.
The bricks do lend a charming Old century look to the patio. Unfortunately, they are porous and retain moisture.
They allow curving shapes and unique design as there are various shapes, colours and patterns available.
NATURAL STONE PATIO
The natural stone (also called flagstone) is the ultimate material for a natural look.
Some of the most popular natural stones used for patio are slate, flagstone, bluestone
This material costs more because it is quarried and has to be trucked. Plus, there are high transportation costs. Also, it takes longer to lay down – each stone should be put in place then lifted so the bed it rests on can be raised or lowered to make it level.
But as the design is made once, and last for the next twenty years, it is worth all the efforts.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST PER SQUARE FOOT?
In 2018, the average installation cost of a natural stone patio is about $12.98 per square foot.
It means that a 100 square foot natural stone patio would cost between $1,070 to $1,500 on average, 1/3 worth of materials and more than half worth of installation costs. Concrete pricing, from another hand, is about $8.00 per square foot, perhaps less if there is lots of square footage.
Bricks and pavers are more expensive – about $15.00 per square foot.
WHAT IS THE PROPER HEIGHT?
There are no standard rules for residential fence height. However, each city has its regulations.
The most common heights for front yard fences are around 3 feet, while common heights or backyard fences can go from 6 up to 8 feet.
The height of your yard’s fence depends on its purpose.
The higher fence gives you privacy, and it’s also good if you have a dog.
If your fence is only for decora on, then the height shouldn’t be a concern.
WHAT MATERIALS TO USE?
There is a wide variety of residential fences materials out there. Commonly-used are wood, vinyl, and aluminium.
The wood is the cheapest op on and gives a natural look. However, it may rot, and additional issues with pests can appear.
The vinyl lasts for more than a decade. It also fits many architectural styles. Unfortunately, it comes in very limited colors and doesn’t allow an exciting design.
Finally, the aluminium is a long-las ng, sturdy material which is ideal for straight lines. However, it doesn’t allow creating curves on the fence.
WHAT IS THE BEST COLOR TO FIT?
Mixing two paint colors is usually a good idea!
The dark colors always make a good contrast with the green plants in the garden. Space inside will look much smaller if paint your fence in light pale colors.
The most popular color for the residential fence is white because it contrasts well with the grass and the plants. However, the rule that all the landscape gardeners would give you is that the colour of the fence should match with the colour of the main building, door, and windows.
If you just want to put a boundary between your plot and the next one, the hedge may be your perfect op on. It doesn’t require council approval, and it is environmentally friendly. Here are the eight essential steps to build your green fence with hedges:
Step 1. Find the right type of shrubs that are easy to maintain (roses are commonly used).
Step 2. Mark the area by marking two parallel or curved lines down the path you want to be covered.
Step 3. Get rid of all plants and weeds in those lines so the future hedge won’t need to compete with them for water.
Step 4. Put the plants in a line just to measure the right distance between them (don’t plant them too close).
Step 5. Start the actual plan ng. Once each shrub is in a hole, and it’s watered, make sure to add the soil-texturising amendments and fertilisers needed.
Step 6. Water the hedge. It’s required to give the hedge plenty of water at first and water it regularly.
Step 7. Adding about a 3-inch layer of mulch on top of the soil around the plants will keep them moist and stop the weeds from growing.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE SHAPE?
There are three types of the driveway – straight, curved and circular.
The circular driveway is the most popular one as it removed the need for backing out or turning around so that you can always safely enter oncoming traffic with a clear view of the street.
The straight one is appropriate when the backyard is very small, and there is a short distance between the street and the garage.
The curved driveway looks the best. It also gives more chance to design around.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE MATERIALS?
When choosing the material for your driveway, there are three aspects to consider – cost, durability, how beautiful it looks.
Nowadays, the exposed aggregate is the trendiest driveway materials as it creates a non-slippery surface that can last for ten years or more with no maintenance.
For instance, the concrete requires low-maintenance and can last for ages.
It is significantly more expensive than the asphalt. However, the asphalt needs lots of maintenance that costs much.
Installation expense is considered as the most important factor when choosing a driveway material.
Asphalt and gravel are the most economical choice. These materials are reasonably inexpensive, and the process of installation is quick.
As turfing is a tricky part of the gardening, lots of people are hiring professional landscape service. However, if you have enough me, tools and enthusiasm, you can try to do it on your own.
There are three not easy, but essentials steps to prepare your turf area:
Step 1 – Remove all existing weeds, rocks, debris from the area
Step 2 – Spinning the soil to a depth of 100mm
Step 3 – Level the soil
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO YOU NEED?
Here is a list of the tools you will need in the different turf stages.
Most of them can be found in each gardener’s shed, or you can always use local gardening service to rent them.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO LAY THE LAWN TURF?
According to landscape gardeners, the best me to lay turf is in mid-autumn, but depending on the weather, it can be laid any me between mid-autumn and late winter whenever the soil is not too watery or frosty.
WHAT CAN GO WRONG?
A very common mistake made before laying turf is not to eliminate all tough weeds.
It’s important as the new lawn needs tons of water, and it doesn’t have to compete for it. Watering is the most important aspect to consider, especially for the new turf.
Make sure to water the brand-new lawn daily for week or two. The thirsty turf becomes a dead turf very quickly.
If laying turf on frozen soil or in very hot weather, you also risk to ‘kill’ it from the very beginning.
If it’s too warm outside, the turf will dry out very quickly.
So, choosing the right moment is crucial.
But do not leave the turf for too long before laying.
Even made of synthetic fibres,
the artificial turf looks like a real,
green all year grass.
HOW TO PREPARE THE PLACE?
Even installing artificial grass is a straightforward process; there are three essential steps to lay it that will make the process faster and painless.
1. Measure how much grass you need to square meters. It’s useful to add some extra in case you have to cover some unexpected space.
2. Remove the natural grass and prepare the space by getting rid of stones etc.
3. Make the surface even
HOW TO LAY THE GRASS?
Once you finish with the first three steps, it’s effortless to lay the artificial grass – roll out the length, hammer the pegs into the ground, cut around trees and other features and finally – use the adhesive tape for joining the pieces of synthetic turf together.
HOW ABOUT MAINTENANCE?
The artificial turf has one advantage – the maintenance. You won’t need to fertilise, mow or wastewater.
Use a lawn sweeper, garden vacuum, or leaf blower to clear the turf of fallen leaves and dirt. Brush it regularly. You can also use a mild detergent on especially dirty spots and then hose down the turf with water.
WHY DO WE DO LAWN MOWING?
No single feature contributes as much to the charm and beauty of the individual home and the locality as well-kept lawns.
Mowing is strictly related to the health of the lawn too.
It stimulates new growth rather than leaves it leggy.
In some cases, having a messy front lawn can get you into trouble with your neighbours.
WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO MOW YOUR LAWN?
The first and most important rule given by landscape gardeners is to mow your garden only when the grass is dry.
For the best results, it’s required to mow in the morning and as o en as your grass needs. When it’s wet and hot outside, you may need to mow more o en than once a week.
It gives your grass a chance to stay fresh and green.
HOW HIGH SHOULD YOU MOW YOUR LAWN?
Before buying a mower, determine the size of your lawn. If the grass is less than 500 square feet, consider a reel lawnmower.
A 3-inch-tall cut lawn is a commonly preferred size.
After finish, clumps of grass clippings shouldn’t be le on top of the turf as it can’t breathe.
CAN YOU WATER THE LAWN AFTER MOWING?
The answer is – yes, you can safely give the lawn some water after mowing whenever it needs it.
However, you should be aware when is the right me.
For instance, watering in the late afternoon or at night doesn’t give the grass me to dry out, and that may cause fungal problems.
In summer, watering in the middle of the day makes the water to evaporate from the soil too quickly.
The best time is to mow the dry lawn in the morning and water afterwards.
HOW DO YOU MOW STRIPES IN A LAWN?
First, make sure the mower’s blades are sharp.
Also, remove all toys and garden furniture from the lawn.
Then, begin with mowing around the lawn’s edge for a couple of rounds. That will give you enough space to turn at each end of the lawn.
When you decide which way you want your stripes to be, pick up a point in the distance and walk towards that point without losing focus. Otherwise, you’ll have a curly line in the end.
Turn around on the s ng of the field and overlap the lawn tool slightly with the stripe you’ve simply mown.
Head back but walk slightly to at least one facet of the mower so that your feet square measure on the s ng of the stripe you’ve simply mown.
It’s easier to stay straight that way.
WHAT IS WEEDING?
In general, weeding is referring to unwanted plants removal. It is usually done manually rather than using the mechanised equipment.
The best me for weeding is ideally after raining or after watering with the garden hose as the ground is wet and the weeds’ roots will come out more easily.
WHY WEED EVERY SECOND WEEK?
Weed steals important nutrients and water from your plants.
When it comes to weed control in the garden, ming is important. It’s necessary to weed your garden about once a week. It will help get rid of tough weeds and avoid any of them to reach seeding maturity.
When weeds go to seed, you’ll end up with thousands of more weeds in your garden… and more weeding.
HOW TO WEED THE FLOWER GARDEN?
Weeds can easily out-grow the flowers in your garden. Weed them very o en.
You should get rid of all perennial weeds before you plant. It will make your life easier. Also, don’t shoot clippings into the flower beds when mowing as the lawn grass produces lots of seeds in particular times of the year.
HOW TO PREVENT THE GARDEN?
Unfortunately, there is no way to keep your garden “weeds proof”, but there are some useful tips given by experienced landscape gardeners to help you out:
• Thorough cropping
• To cover the soil with any mulch (including organic mulch, such as pine straw, compost; non-organic materials, such as gravel, or just plastic foil)
• Spreading a chemical weed suppressant (Roundup)
There are two types of weeding tools – short – and long handled.
While using the first ones (cape cod weeder, digging knife etc.) – you are usually working on your knees.
Long-handled tools allow you to stand while weeding (such as a garden torch, Dutch hoe etc.). They are useful for larger areas.
WHAT IS PRUNING?
In general, pruning is the process of trimming (either a tree, shrub or bush) by cutting away dead or overgrown branches mainly to encourage their healthy growth. It’s an essential gardening skill.
HOW TO PRUNE TREES?
When pruning trees, you shouldn’t cut back the leader. All crossing branches and branches that grow back towards the centre of the tree should be removed to shape your trees. Landscape architects advise if the tree is young, you should get rid of the lower branches gradually to raise the crown. The branches that are too closely spaced on the trunk should be removed too.
HOW TO PRUNE SHRUBS?
When pruning shrubs, there are few easy steps to follow. First, cut out perverse branches. Then, get rid of skinny growth and water sprouts (stems growing up from the roots).
HOW TO PRUNE FRUIT PLANTS AND FLOWERS, INCLUDING ROSES?
First, make sure you’re armed with very sharp tools.
Then, start pruning from the base of the plant. Make sure your cuts are at a 45-degree angle.
All broken, dead (or dying) or unhealthy branches (thinner than a pencil) should be removed. The aim here is to cut un l the inside of the cane is white.
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO YOU NEED?
One of the first things to consider is which tools you’ll use. There are four necessary tools required for pruning:
• Hand pruners
They should be sharp not just to help you pruning, but also to keep the plants healthy.
WHEN TO PRUNE?
The common rule is to prune flowering trees in the summer and fall, and shrubs in the dormant season (late winter or very early spring) and to prune spring flowering trees and shrubs soon after their flowers fade.
And some other plants need to be pruned and deadheaded on a regular basis, to remain vigorous and in flower (roses, for instance).
Please note, the evergreen trees do not need pruning.
WHY FERTILISE AFTER WEEDING OR PRUNING?
Unless the trees and plants have been weak or damaged, they do not need to be fertilised at planting me.
However, fertilising is preferable right after pruning and weeding as it provides the plants with nutrients for healthy growing and flowering.
WHEN SHOULD YOU TRIM A HEDGE?
A tidy hedge is a joy to see, but it requires lots of work. According to landscape service, young hedges should be trim from an early stage to establish a good shape and avoid weak growth.
The time and frequency of hedge cutting strongly depend on the species.
However, there are some general rules to follow. It is required to prune the hedges only once a year, but if you want to maintain an excellent look – you may need to cut o en. Early in the growing season, cutting must be light, and it can be done monthly, star ng from May or June.
Just one accurately measured cut is required during the year – in late summer, once the new growth is complete.
HOW DO YOU TRIM A HEDGE?
If using hand shears at first, you will be able to get rid of dead wood and thin the top of the shrub. It’s required to cut 1/4 of old growth branches every year. Also, it is important to trim hedges to make the bottom of the hedge wider than the top.
Tips: If you remove branches that are diseased, dead or pest-ridden on a regular basis, the trees and shrubs in your garden will stay healthier.
HOW DO YOU TRIM OVERGROWN HEDGES?
You can transform overgrown hedges in well-kept ones again in 3 steps:
Step 1. Cut the lowest and heaviest branches first. As pruning encourages new growths, pruning low on the shrub will spark the solid foliage that defines hedges.
Step 2. In spring, trim the tops of hedges un l the plants are approximately 2 feet tall. This ac on will encourage new growth, leaving the hedges thicker and in better shape than before.
Step 3. Try to shape the hedges in a way that they are narrower on the top and denser at the bottom.
WHEN SHOULD YOU CUT BACK SHRUBS?
Landscape gardeners’ advice is to cut back shrubs during the winter when they’re dormant, or in early spring just before the new growth. If you cut them to the ground in late winter, they’ll s ll bloom in the summer.
Tip: Our advice is to use a pole pruner with a rota ng head to remove s pes all the way to the base of the plant. That way, you are saving me as you don’t have to bend over for each cut.
WHEN TO CUT A TREE?
The best me to cut trees and tree branches is during the late winter while they are dormant because the wounds heal quicker and keep the plant stable.
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO YOU NEED?
Having a proper tree trimming equipment in your garage can greatly help you care for your landscape trees. I guess the electric chainsaws come first to your mind. People are also using pole tree pruners (for small and medium-sized trees) and battery-powered chainsaws.
WHAT KIND OF RISKS SHOULD YOU AVOID?
When cutting trees, you should avoid the risk of falling branches or en re trees. Even one branch can be surprisingly heavy.
From one hand, it can cause injuries or even death if falls on someone.
On the other hand, it could damage the house or cause electric shock.
The equipment itself poses a danger to health.
As the chainsaws are designed to cut through wood, they can easily do the same to any part of the human body.
WHY CALL THE PROFESSIONALS?
Even it looks easy task, the tree surgery can be a pain in the neck (especially for new landscape gardeners). There are tree surgeons, also called arborists, who are working on the cultivation, management, and study of individual trees, shrubs, vines etc.
Looking for a professional help may save lots of me and avoid the risk of injury.
The pa o is the place where the families usually spend lots of their free me.
A season pa o cleaning is required, especially if there are li le kids in the house.
Early spring is the ideal me to give your pa o a good deep cleaning as the worst weather is considers being gone.
There are two ways to clean it – by using just a brush and a cleaning product (can also be vinegar), or by using a pressure washer.
The fastest and the easiest way to clean pa o, if it’s in good condition, is with a stiff brush and bleach mixed with water.
At first, remove all the plants around as pouring beach by accident, can kill them.
For bricks and pavers pa o, the pressure washer, also called a power washer, is an efficient way to clean them. The mighty water stream can remove even the stubborn algae and moss. However, it may cause damage if point it at the one spot for too long.
Today, a compact pressure washer can be found for about $80 on the market.
The price goes up to $300 for a premium full control home pressure washer.
HOW TO RECYCLE THE RUBBISH?
Have you ever found yourself lost in a house full of rubbish?
If so, relax – there are many rubbish removal companies out there.
It works in 3 easy steps – they come, take the rubbish and recycle it right.
Your only job is to ensure that the company you’ve chosen, disposes of your waste in the most environmentally conscious way.
Another good idea is to sell your old useless furniture to Antique shops.
Some of them are restoring classic furniture and re-sell it. In this way, they give the items another chance and help the environment.
In many countries, if you give back your beer bottles – you get some money back.
In this way, the government encourages people to recycle and make some pocket money. You can pick a date once a month and carry all glass bottles to the nearest centre.
HOW TO COMPOST?
At home, the easiest way to start helping the environment is the compos ng method.
It is collecting food waste separately in a small reusable container.
You can also build your compos ng bin in the garden – either from wood or plastic. Choosing the right size for it is essential, especially if it’ll be used for gardening.
When you put the layer with soil on top of the garden or food scraps, with a li le help from the weather, the bacteria in the soil help to accelerate the decomposi on process.
And that costs nothing!