By Erica Glasener, Networx
If your garden could tell you what it needs, these are 7 things it would request.
1. Realistic expectations: Designing your garden to provide year around interest or production of food is a great goal to strive for. However, it is not realistic to think it will have the same look in every season. Spring and summer may offer bountiful blooms but colorful foliage may be the focus in fall, and in winter, bark and berries will be the stars.
2. A plan: Develop a garden design plan or hire a professional designer (or landscape architect) to develop one which you can implement over time. In the long run this will save you time and money and your garden will thank you from sparing it lots of loss, due to the wrong plant being planted in the wrong place. A plan also allows you to think outside the box and to expand your gardening options. Have you considered a green roof as one of your garden options? Meeting with a green roofer is the first step in starting a rooftop garden or a green roof. Fun fact: Did you know that Washington D.C. has the most green roof acreage of any US city? One thinks of politicians rather than green roofers in Washington D.C., but the U.S. General Services Administration promotes green roof technology.
3. Structure: The first plants you add (other than those in containers) should be your trees and shrubs. Before you put in flower beds plant trees and shrubs that will define your garden and help you determine where to plant sun or shade loving perennials. If you incorporate built structures like walls, arbors, fences and gates, choose materials that will relate to the style and architecture of your house. This will help create a garden with a sense of place. Some of my neighbors have hired concrete contractors in our area (Atlanta) to build walls and paths in their gardens. It’s an investment with a huge visual impact.