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Planning Your Garden

Comfort abounds in the garden. It’s a place of tranquility, rejuvenation and solace. A garden is a constantly evolving work of art. Whether you’re taming a jungle or starting with a blank canvas, gardening should be savored every step of the way.

If you’re horticulturally challenged, you’ll be pleased to know that there are no secrets to creating a beautiful garden, only a few guidelines that’ll increase your success rate: proper plant selection, placement, balance of color & texture, and maintenance (i.e. watering and fertilizing).

Whether you’re planning a rose garden, fruit & vegetable garden or a secret garden, the following guidelines apply.

Proper Plant Selection

  • Plants can serve so many purposes, like shade, screening, erosion control, noise muffling, focal points, or yard section dividers. Make sure you choose the best plants for the purpose.
  • Stay within your plant hardiness zone.
  • Plant hostas in semi-shade and roses in all-day sun. You might adore morning-sun loving ferns but if planted in an area that receives afternoon sun they will die. Know your plants preference before you buy checking the tag.

Growth Habits

During your planning stage, think about plant soil preference, wind & heat tolerance, light requirements and the sizes your plants will reach at full maturity.

If a 60-foot shade tree is in your design plan and you have electrical wires running from the street pole to your roof, you’ll need to take that into consideration. If the tree damages the wires, you’ll be liable. A Royal Empress can grow 50 feet high and up to 40 feet wide in just three short years.

Know the root system. Certain evergreen figs develop into huge gorgeous trees with abundant fruit, but their root system is invasive and can crack water pipes, foundations and walkways. Evergreen Alders will mess up fencing and cause paving to buckle. What’s more - the canopy can shade an entire yard, blocking the sun from other plants.

Seasonal Color and Interest

A Cherokee Dogwood tree has dark green leaves in the Summer to provide shade, then turns red and golden-brown in the Fall to give gorgeous autumn colors. In the Winter, leaves fall and are replaced by shiny, red berries that bloom a brilliant pink in the Spring. Each season means a different display of color. Learn the plants’ special features and seasonal traits, like fruit, flowers, berries, foliage, seasonal colors.

Form, texture and color are all major elements of a successful garden. Check out Landscaping Design for more ideas on this topic.

With a well thought plan and a little patience you’ll be enjoying your new garden in no time.

Free garden designs:


Plant encyclopedia


Regional garden reference for proper plant selection:


Research tool for plants, color combinations, zoning, and general information:


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