Your Summer Garden Landscape
When you plan your summer garden there are many things you must consider. The natural landscape or terrain of your yard and garden areas would be the first consideration. Some gardeners choose to go to great lengths to change the actual natural landscape. It is always best to deal with the natural beauty of your current landscape than to spend a lot of money and time to change it.
To begin you should make a sketch of your current yard and gardens. I use a piece of graph paper and identify the house, any outbuildings, existing garden areas and hazards such as sink holes or drop offs. Take a tape measurer with you and as you walk the property, take down measurements of the different areas. Draw in the various slopes and inclines. Take notes about the kind of soil that you have. Is it loam, sandy, rock and dirt that is mixed, etc.?
You might consider using a water feature as the answer to a barren piece of the property. Next determine the light conditions of your yard. Which gardens will utilize plantings that are shade or partial shade. How many hours of sunlight to you have in a particular area for tomatoes, peppers and other sunloving plants? Do you need to create artificial shade in order to satisfy the needs of some of your other vegetable plantings? Do you need to plant a tree or a trailing vine or flower on a trellis to provide more shade?
Vegetable gardens are the easiest to plan and plant. Checking the soil content will help you know where to plant tomatoes and corn – some of the heavy feeders of your soil’s nutrients. Since aesthetics are not a high priority with vegetable gardens, your biggest decision may be to either plant in rows or to used raised beds. Keep in mind, however, that you can get at least 2 crops a year if you plan correctly and keep an eye out on each section of your garden. Make sure to check out companion planting literature which will help to make the best use of the space you have available.
When planning for a flower garden decide if you would like a color scheme that provides several shades of the cooler colors – blues, purples and greens. Many full sun flower gardens use the other side of the color wheel with plantings of yellows, oranges, reds. Or you may choose to plant the entire color spectrum in a flowing garden which circles the perimeter of your property and floats over the slopes and inclines you previously measured while doing a survey of your yard’s terrain.
Another consideration is how much time you would like to spend in the garden. If you like the look of colorful gardens, but don’t have the time to put into them, utilize plantings that have minimal maintenance. On the other hand, if you enjoy being outside much of the summer time a specialty garden might be just the ticket. Perhaps a bed of roses is more to your liking.
If after having taken your measurements, you are still uncertain of how to begin, it might be a wise idea to consult a landscape designer to get ideas. The designer you choose may be able to give you recommendations on a landscape service that can maintain the look you have chosen. If you are not interested in having someone else maintain your yard, ask the designer for a low maintenance type of landscape that you will be able to maintain yourself.
Your yard is a reflection of the person living there. Visit gardens in the area to see what plantings work well in your area. There are plenty of television garden programs, public arboretums and many gardening clubs that can also serve as a treasure trove of information in regard to your landscaping project.