Creating a planting scheme

If you are planning to plant a new garden, or replant an existing one, you will need to draw up a plan. This can embrace the whole garden, or just a portion of it. If you plant one part, make sure that the scheme blends well with the remainder of the garden. Too abrupt a change in character between sections without a screen can make the garden feel uncomfortably restless.

You need to consider key practical elements at the outset. Where will you sit? How will you get to the garden shed? Or, if you do not have one, do you need one? How will you move from one part of the garden to the other? It is best to avoid winding paths—inevitably, no one will take the longest route unless you make it impossible for them to do otherwise. However, straight runs right through the garden are not inviting either, so the secret is to make small barriers of boxwood.

Adding height

It is important to consider the vertical elements as well as the horizontal ones. The addition of a couple of small trees or very large shrubs creates a feeling of enclosure, privacy, and security in the garden. If you have no features in the garden taller than the average person, the garden can feel rather exposed! By including the occasional larger feature, you create an area of shade underneath it. This allows you to vary the style of plantings, since the form and character of shade loving plants (large leaves and smaller flowers) is very different to that of sunloving ones (olten brighter colors and smaller leaves).

Starting to plan

If you have never undertaken a planting scheme before, then the key is to keep it simple. On a scale sketch of your garden, map out the structural plantings first: the large trees and shrubs, and any hedges or vertical elements (pergolas, arches, etc). Once you think you have the position of these key elements as you want them, you can start to consider the infill plants.

Most people find it hard to make the mental transition from a flat plan to the 3D reality of a garden. One solution is to take photographs of the garden and get them enlarged. Then, using a felt pen, sketch the proportions of the

Using a photograph

outlines and shapes of the new ft is important that you plan your plantings carefully in order tod.oJ.herolants, justice. You need to make a note not only of the color of the flowers, but also of the form of the leaves, the flowering season, and the likely height and spread of the plants. The best planting plans are those in which you make a rough sketch of the forms and shapes of the plants YOU intend to grow.

Write the flowering time on the drawing and color it appropriately. If the plant is grown predominantly for foliage, use the foliage color as the main guide.
When working out how many plants to include, take note of their eventual height and spread and leave sufficient space for them to grow. Not all plants perform exactly as stated on the label, but if you allow roughly two thirds of the space indicated, you will get it more or less right.
While you to fill in during the first couple of years, plant Fast-growing annuals or perennials that you can remove easily. Flowering tobacco or plume poppy {Macleayu cordata) are good, large infill plants. Larger plants are, on the whole, better than smaller ones for this purpose, as their character, size, and color often suit the overall look of the scheme better than those of smaller plants, which can become lost in a complex planting scheme. And nothing looks more out of place than tiny, brightly colored bedding plants dotted at the front of a large shrub border. The sudden change of color and scale is simply too startling.

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