Starting to Garden

When contemplating designing or redesigning your garden, you first need to work out your personal priorities. Consider what you want from the garden and how much time you have to spare, then plan for these needs in the overall design.
Sheltered garden
Tall fences or walls provide shelter, enabling you to grow plants dial might not otherwise survive in your region. Sitting plants close together helps lo reduce the amount staking and makes weeding easier.
If you are gardening for the first time, you will be faced with a number of choices. You can, of course, enlist the help of a profes­sional garden designer who will, for a price, makeover your entire garden or, less expensively, offer advice on which areas you might change or improve. Whether or not you opt for the services of a professional, you will have to ask yourself some key questions: what do you want from your garden, and how do you propose to use it? How much time can you spend on its upkeep? How important is it to you that your garden is main­tained on ecological principles?
Garden styles
First of all, you need to recognize that certain garden styles are more labor-intensive than others. The traditional garden, with a central rectangle of lawn surrounded by flower beds, is fairly hard work, as is a large, productive garden of edible plants (perhaps the most time consuming on all at certain times of the year).
In terms of maintenance, the garden calendar is at its heaviest in spring and autumn, when most soil cultivation, planting, and pruning take place, but summer can also be labor-intensive if the climate is dry and your plants arc not drought-tolerant. Winter is a time of relative quiet.
From an average-sized garden, most people require an area in which to relax and entertain, ideally with a hard surface; a variety of flowering plants, hope­fully blooming at different times of the year; and, for some, the opportunity to grow at least a few edible plants such as strawber­ries, raspberries, and tomatoes and some salad crops.
Those with larger country plots will be concerned with managing the garden and may opt to convert a large area to grass; areas farther from the house may well be turned into small woodlands, or even rough meadow. Larger plants—mainly trees and shrubs-—will be needed for scale, and borders will be composed of I lowering shrubs and perennials.
If you want a garden that more or less looks alter it, you will probably need to convert existing areas to a suitable hard surface such as paving, gravel, or decking. You may also need to replant any planting to include ground-cover, shrubs, and trees, rather than more laborious borders of perennials that require staking, dividing and weeding.
Planting choices
The “rants and how they are planted will inevitably be verned by the climate, soil, and ‘•msin the gulden. Gardens in full sun, for example, require very different plants from those that are in shade for much of the clay. If you pay attention to the conditions when choosing the plants, you will find that they survive much more easily, and involve less work for you, as they are less likely to fall prey to pests and diseases if they are healthy.
If your garden is exposed, your planting choices will be more limited than if it is sheltered, the microclimate of the latter situation enabling you to grow a more interesting range of plants. Where space is limited, clothe vertical surfaces with climbing plants or use container plants, which can take center stage when they are looking their best and can be moved to a less prominent posi­tion at other times.
Color themes Informal perennial borders are becoming increasingly popular. Unity of color, as with these yellows and oranges, creates a harmonious Look to a mixed planting scheme.
Patio garden In an urban setting, where hard surfaces usually predominate, containers provide the obvious solution. Trees, climbers, shrubs, perennials can be planted in this way to provide variety height, form, and seasonal color.

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