One garden does not fit all. A trip to any home and garden show bears that out – and adds to the confusion. So, let some things be your guide:
• Invest in landscaping software or downloads. Inexpensive, it will help intelligently plot a design in form and color. Some even let show the future by aging the plan.
• Green, water-saving designs are commonplace now. The continent is divided into Horticultural Zones which recommend the plants best suited to the geographical area. Selecting the next zone south offers more drought-tolerant choices.
• Consider non-organic materials, including wood, river stone, gravel, crushed granite, water, flag stone, and sand. Non-organic materials add color and texture to complement or offset a display.
• Make the design move with “grasses.” This is a broad class of plants with a range of colors, textures, and heights. Some bear flowers and all move with breezes.
• Curves can get too busy. Keep curves to a minimum in small places, and let the plants crowd over the paths to create curves. Lay subtle curves in large space paths that echo the shape of nearby floral beds.
• Find a point of focal entrance. Determine the most photogenic item in the garden: a gnarled oak or weeping willow, a wishing well or fountain, a small bridge or koi pond, a gazebo or small patio, a bench or large planter. Select plantings and color to direct eye to this point of interest without crowding or smothering it.
• Build a meditation garden in a small place. Set it in the corner of a house or behind some tall growth. Meditation does not invite distraction, so keep aroma, bold colors and harsh textures at a minimum. Include a stone lamp or soft-ringing chime and a comfortable chair.
• Plant fragrant herbs near windows and doors or in clusters among flower beds. Most herbs have color and flowers at different times of the year.
• Plant with season and maturity in mind. Assemble plants and trees that will provide color throughout the seasons.. Pick plants for their growth, color, and size three years down the road. A 1 gallon planter now will likely be a 5 gallon plant next year.
Anything done, in terms of shape, color, or design must feature the house. Landscaping is not meant to distract or cover up, but good landscaping can frame and accent the house. Make it a presentation!