Design your garden

Bukola Bakare

Gardens in every home should be warm,  inviting and easy to move through. In addition, they must not be too hard to maintain. Here are practical tips that can help you create enjoyable, liveable gardens in your home

Start small

Part of creating your garden is slowly developing a plan and enjoying the process. From your master plan, start with a small flowerbed. Go out and work on it for an hour or two when you have the time, and worry less about filing everything up right away. Give yourself some time to see how things develop. The point is to take time and do it in bits so you are happy with the final results.

Give a wide berth

Make sure that the pathways of your gardens are wide enough for comfortable passage. Nobody enjoys squeezing through narrow spaces. Main thoroughfares should be wide enough for at least two people to walk side by side and no less than five feet. For secondary paths where people walk single file, the width should be at least three feet. Keep in mind that the taller the plantings or structures that flank your walkway, the wider the path needs to be. Tall boundaries make any space feel more restricted.

Watch your steps

According to, if you are creating an outdoor garden, your steps and stairways should ascend gently; otherwise, they are liable to seem daunting. Steps with a rise of six inches or less are the most comfortable. The run (or depth) of each step plus twice the rise (or height) should equal 26 inches. So steps with a six-inch rise would require a run of 14 inches. If your garden stairways include more than 10 steps, consider landings after every fourth or fifth step to ease progress. Landings should be at least as deep as the stairs are wide. A generous landing is an absolute necessity wherever a stairway changes direction.

There must be plenty of elbow room

Patios and decks are perfect spaces for outdoor entertaining. Plan for enough room to accommodate dining and mingling. Consider how many guests you’re likely to host regularly and then plan on at least four square feet of space per person. Outdoor dining means outdoor furniture, so try to leave a three-foot-wide perimeter of open space around any furniture grouping to allow for comfortable circulation.

Plan adequately for growth

Whether you are setting up an indoor or outdoor garden in your home,give your plants room to grow. Plant with the intent to relocate or remove some plants as they mature. You can also plant quick-growing, short-lived “filler” plants to temporarily bulk up your plantings.

Create a comfort zone in your garden

Beauty may be skin deep, but plants can do more in the garden than sit around and look pretty. The right plants, used the right way, can actually add comfort and utility to your garden. Conifers and broad-leaved evergreens can protect your garden from harsh winds. Large-scale perennials or ornamental grasses can make an “instant” privacy screen. A well-placed tree or tall shrub border can provide a shady oasis in the heat of a summer afternoon. Don’t think you have enough room for a tree? Think again. With so many compact ornamental trees available, there’s probably one to fit into any property.

Keep an eye on the future

If you are installing or digging up your garden (or you just need something to add to your to-do list), consider laying down electrical conduit and irrigation piping 18 inches belowground along pathways and near bed edges—even if you have no current plans for lighting or irrigation. In a few years, you may be glad you did. Wiring and plumbing are easy to install later if the piping is already there, and you won’t have to disrupt established plants or rip up your paving.

Work around a focal point

Any good garden design has a focal point or series of focal points, and it’s an easy principle to put in place in landscape design for beginners. It may be a sculpture or a stunning plant, a tree, or a series of shrubs. The point is to draw your eye and move it through the landscape.

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from Punch Newspapers
via ecitynews


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