What’s Your Gardening Specialty – Freestyle Garden Design

Ever since I got my hands on my own plot of land, I have been obsessed with garden design. This not only encompasses the plants but the types of beds, pathways, hedges, and yard décor. I like the ability to look outside the box and use what I have to develop a garden that is pleasing to the eye, but also easy to maintain. I’ve had a few fails, but overall, my landscape is one which gets remarked upon by all who pass by. 

On a whim I halved the front yard of my last house where the path to the front door separated them. On one side I installed a Japanese garden, while on the other, I made an English country garden. Neither side matched but both were spectacular and I got to try my hand at both styles. It is this ability to be unpredictable and match my own desires that I love about landscaping. Planning a garden is usually organic, as I watch the topography for a few months. Usually I am so busy initially reinvigorating the lawn and getting rid of weeds that I don’t have time to really design the space. 

My Landscaping Process

Once a few months have gone by, I seem to have the lay of the land and ideas start popping up. My new property is much larger than any I have had before and planning a garden is a much slower and time-consuming process. An entire plot has been devoted to fruit trees and bushes with a border of clumping bamboo to screen out the neighbors. Strawberry plants amble around the bases of the trees and some raised beds provide perennial veggies, like asparagus. Next, I must turn my attention to the rest of the garden.

Around the home there were already tons of bulbs, provided by the lovely previous owner. We have color from February into fall in most beds. However, there is too much grass for my taste. Lasagna beds were started right away as I attempted to minimize my mowing chores and provide new spaces for plants. Right on schedule, the beds were ready for planting in spring. There were few evergreen plants, so that is what I chose for the new beds. There is still too much grass, so I am working on berms. They will provide a much needed dimension on a lot with few trees. 

Garden Design Plans

Just ambling along and adding little touches as they occur to me is my process of garden design. The whole thing won’t be finished for years as I develop my landscaping and add elements when time permits. There is my trusty cobblestone cement frame, waiting for me to acquire the necessary concrete to build a path. There was an area filled with river rock that was mostly consumed by soil. This spring I excavated out all the rock I could and built a path with various species of thyme softening the effect. Whatever is left behind inevitably becomes part of my landscaping. 

Planning a garden is a thoughtful process. It both relaxes and invigorates me, much like a challenging puzzle. And like a puzzle, putting the pieces together will eventually create a whole. I look forward to where my landscaping journey takes me and can’t wait to see what I build. But the time it takes is also precious and a labor of love that I have enjoyed for decades.

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