Your home’s exterior deserves the same amount of creative attention that you would give to interior decor. In fact, beautifying the outdoor space on your property is even more fun because the features can be live, ever-changing works of art.
Whether you hope to create a colorful flower bed, an outdoor oasis, a small decorative garden, or something entirely custom to your needs, there are a few necessary things to consider: choosing the right plants, planning hardscape features, and maintenance requirements for your setup.
Plants are lively and sometimes unpredictable. When crafting your garden design, be mindful of the characteristics of your space, your region, and the plants you have selected. There will be many beautiful plants to choose from no matter the limitations of your setup, but some factors that you might want to consider are:
- When selecting plants, be mindful of their growth rate and mature sizes. Some plants will outgrow selected planters or require excessive pruning to stay within the confines of your space.
- Always consider your region’s plant hardiness zone when planting outdoors. Hardiness zones help you figure out what plants are appropriate for your area in relation to climate, soil type, and particular growing seasons. While you may do research and find plants you’d love to keep, if they are not suited for your area, they may not thrive in your garden or require a lot of special care.
- If you are planning your garden around purely aesthetic features, you may not realize that the plants you chose have unexpected behaviors or qualities. For instance, some flowers bloom only at night and will present closed buds during the day. Other popular choices, like foxglove and lilies, are toxic to animals and people, making them a concern for households with pets and children.
Mixing Hardscape & Plant Life
Next, you may want to consider hardscape features to include in your garden. If you are building a new garden, you may want to add a stone path that weaves between planted rows or build raised beds to hold smaller plants. Alternately, hardscape features could be simple additions like benches, birdbaths, and fountains that add function and beauty to your design, no matter the size.
In addition to the earlier suggestions regarding plant choices, you may require certain hardscape elements to properly care for and display your favorite plants. Some trailing and climbing plants, like jasmine, hydrangea, and some species of roses, will require trellises to grow properly and support their blooms.
If you choose to plant these species, be wary of allowing them to climb the walls of your home or on expensive fixtures; strong vines can damage even the strongest of materials. Wisteria, although beautiful, is a prime example of a strong, aggressive climber that can clog gutters and break glass.
Maintenance & Care
When constructing a live feature like a garden, you will have to consider the extensive maintenance and upkeep that growing plants will require to grow well and look attractive. In addition to regular care such as watering and fertilizing, you will likely have to regularly prune or trim larger plants.
Consider whether the plants you have selected are annuals or perennials; you will have to replant the former every growing season and the latter may need special treatment to survive the winter. You may also need to move potted plants indoors during certain conditions, like heavy rain or cold snaps.
Further, you will need to weed your garden beds as necessary to keep them looking clean and prevent pest plants from crowding your decorative plants. While store-bought products like RoundUp may seem like an easy fix, they can be highly toxic and cause serious health problems after exposure. Avoid strong chemical pesticides as well. Instead, look for organic options to repel damaging insects and take the time to remove weeds manually.
By following these tips, you can create a beautiful, sustainable garden that adds value to your home’s appearance. No matter the features you land on, you will have an outdoor oasis that all of your friends and neighbors will love.