Perhaps the most challenging part of small garden design is staring at that blank sheet of paper for the first time.
While the emptiness of the paper invites you to let your imagination run wild, that same emptiness also seems to impose a great deal of responsibility at the same time.
I have watched many people literally “freeze” at these first steps, afraid to make the first mark less it be wrong and mess up the whole project at some later point.
My advice is to relax! Let your creative juices flow and draw whatever you want. At this stage of the small garden design, it is very hard to be “wrong” because nothing has happened that can’t be put right by simply starting over. And, please believe me, it is a lot easier to start a new drawing than it is to pull out a couple of day’s work installing plants and beds (which I have had to do).
So, take courage and start drawing! Here are just a couple of tips that you might want to consider as you work on your design:
- Start with a whole site plan to locate your small garden optimally
- Consider designing “against” your existing plot lines
- Pay attention to your textures
- Don’t forget to add height to your small garden design
By this I mean to make your very first drawing a to-scale rendering of the whole lot. This will be a great help in visualizing where your new garden will be placed and how much room it will take in relation to the rest of the area.
For example, if your yard, or space, is rectangular you can add a lot of visual interest by designing your garden with a sweeping curves instead of straight lines. The contrast between the straight edges and the new, curved, garden space can be very striking.
While the green plastic edging is functional and is easy to install, if your budget and skill level permit, consider using pavers or “wall stones” from the big box home improvement stores instead. These rang in price from less than $.50 each to around $2.00 and work great when used as edging materials. Also, if you are incorporating a pathway, bagged stones (also available at the big box store) work great as a pathway bed.
If you have a space bigger than a window box to work with, adding height is a good idea for visual interest. Raised planting beds, hanging baskets and planters, bird feeders, and bird baths are all elements that can successfully be added to your small garden design.