Do you look at the gardens of others with more than a hint of envy and wonder how their borders are so lush and bountiful, whilst yours look so barren and bare?
Do you wonder how their planting seems so much more effective, and yet the trays of bedding plants you have bought and planted seem to fade into the background, their impact minimal?
Creating a delightful garden full of colour with details at every turn is possible – IF you know how. Here we have the genius growth hacks that top gardeners have chosen to share.
Not so much of a secret as such, but a gardening hack you have probably left out when you started to revamp or create your garden.
First you have to sit down and plan. And that means grabbing paper and a pencil, and a tape measure.
First, you need to measure your garden or the plots that you intend to revamp and from these measurements, create a scaled drawing. By drawing to scale, you avoid the common mistake of buying a handful of plants and assuming they will fill the gap. But they don’t – they don’t even half fill it.
Another top tip that green fingered experienced gardeners suggest is that you live with your garden through four complete seasons. But you need to take note of a few things: What evergreen shrubs and trees do you have for winter colours? How does the sun travel in your garden. This makes a difference to where some plants and shrubs can and cannot be planted. In spring, do you have bulbs that spring into life? If so, where? Do these need moving? In summer, is there a shrub or plant that overtakes and smothers all others? In autumn, what plants give you a display of autumnal colours, the deep reds, vibrant oranges and golden yellows of the season?
Once you have your scaled drawing – use an online piece of kit to help design your garden – you can start getting down to the details. For this you will need coloured pencils…
Clever Colour Combination
The detail that sets a garden apart is the attention to the smaller details – and that means colour. We tend to think of garden colour as flowers but don’t forget the plants and shrubs that have lush green leaves as well as variegated leaf colours. For interest in winter, there are some shrubs that have deep red coloured branches and fronds.
However, planning your planting means grouping contrasting colours together. But bear in mind that some colours prefer full sun, some partial shade, some complete shade etc. As a rule of thumb, orange, yellow and red flowers love the sun because they have the right mix of sunshine pigments, whereas white, blue and pink flowers tend to be more delicate when it comes to sunshine.
Always read the instructions for each plant and shrub carefully, making sure you plant them in the right situation so they have the best chance of blooming and survival.
Use Height and Spread
Some plants grow upwards – some are tall whilst others are mid-height or close to the ground – but there are other plants that grow sideways, providing ground cover.
Think of your plant height in terms of a slope – taller plants at the back against a background of shrubs, trees or fencing, followed by mid-height plants and smaller plants at the front. Ground cover plants can be used to both suppress weeds and also add much needed colour in-between schemes.
As well as plants, there are all kinds of details you can add. You can, for example, create an overall theme to your garden or have pockets of themes in certain areas.
A garden should be multi-sensory, so as well as sight and smell, consider the delightful noise some plants make as the breeze catches their leaves. Ornamental grasses, for example, are great for introducing a delicate noise to the garden.
Consider adding plants in pots, as well as placing stones and gravel to create low maintenance areas that help to keep your garden in great shape.
Hide fairy doors at the base of tree trunks and hide pretty garden sculptures in the shrubs in the borders.
Oh, and don’t forget to leave space for the garden furniture so you can enjoy a cool glass of wine or iced tea in your bountiful and beautiful garden.
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