Fall’s cooling air and still-warm soil are ideal for establishing new transplants. Perennials and evergreens alike can establish root systems before winter—and they require less water as the weather cools down and precipitation is more likely.
If you are not ready to plant but garden projects are on your mind, fall and winter are great times to think about changes to your garden that would make it more enjoyable at this time next year or plan a new one.
Last spring I wrote the following, and it’s worth repeating now:
Consider making a list of goals for your garden and prioritizing them in case you can’t get to everything you would like to do this year. A garden log is an easy way to stay on track, measure your progress, and celebrate your accomplishments. You can add notes throughout the year as new ideas come to mind.
Gardens are built over time, improving as they mature, and benefitting from adjustments along the way.
Here are some basics to consider when setting out your priorities:
Screening and privacy. Do you have the coverage you want when deciduous trees lose their leaves?
Circulation. Are pathways and patios in the best location? Is it easy to walk the entire garden and keep your feet dry?
Structure. Are garden focal points and plant groupings positioned to provide good views from inside the house as well as in the garden?
Winter color. Do your perennial borders need something added to create dormant season interest? Would evergreen color and texture add depth?
Outdoor living. Would a covered outdoor structure create a quiet, dry place to get out of the house and enjoy your garden on a rainy winter day?
If you’re looking for more ideas, please contact me for a design consultation to learn about landscape design or the best plants for any spot in your garden.
Living with small outdoor spaces is becoming more and more common and designing for them is getting more and more attention from the landscaping industry. At the recent Northwest Green Conference small gardens were a hot topic.
Rest assured that even if your space is limited, a dynamic garden is still possible. In fact, small garden spaces offer great opportunities. (See my landscape design galleries for some examples.)
The keys to success for small gardens are creating visual spaciousness and engaging all the senses.
Here are just a few of the tricks I have learned after many years of designing small gardens:
Create balance and contrast. Select appropriate hard surfaces, then use lush plantings to add a sense of abundance.
Connect distinctive areas. Create a theme that connects the contrasting elements in your garden. This can be done with color, repetition or garden art. Carefully placed mirrors can add dimension and depth in dark shaded locations. A simple water feature will provide another sensory experience and create a feeling of relaxation.
Think big; free yourself from limitations. Lofty, transparent plants and open trelliswork and arbors increase vertical interest. Take advantage of different elevations: plants spilling over low walls or vines climbing up a backdrop add another dimension. Open areas keep the garden from feeling cramped
Create a small pathway. Use strategically placed stepping-stones, shiny pebbles or glass to represent an invitation for entry.
As you plan, keep in mind how you want to use your small garden. Is it a courtyard to pass through? Is it mostly viewed from indoors? Or is it going to be an outdoor room large enough for a couple of comfortable chairs or a barbecue and a small table?
Choose plantings that won’t overwhelm the space. Use slow-growing plants and select plants with contrasting leave textures and colors. Choose plants that can be cut back and will come back the next season, fresh and lovely. To create a sense of softness, use low ground covers.
Update and refine your design with annuals. Annuals are a great way to add color, keep things changing, and fill tiny spaces for an overflowing, abundant presentation.
We provide garden planning and landscape renovation for gardens of all sizes — from tiny urban gardens to new construction and established estate gardens.
Are you ready to remove the guesswork and increase your success rate with your plantings and garden features? Contact us to learn more about garden planning, landscape design, and gardens in small spaces.