Posts Tagged ‘landscaping tips’

Landscaping Ideas and Tips

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

dutch touch landscape tips ideas wordpress blog Landscaping Ideas:

Every garden, no matter what its size, benefits from a focal point. Without a main feature, the viewer’s eye is more likely to flit from plant to plant, section to section, without zeroing in to examine and appreciate the harmony of the composition.

Perhaps the most overlooked tool in garden design is the use of texture. Plants are so varied in texture, you could have an entirely green garden and still have plenty of interest, if you varied textures. As you start to become more discerning about the texture of foliage, you’ll also begin to notice the interplay of plant forms. New gardeners are frequently attracted to the same type of plant over and over again. Perhaps it’s feathery foliage or spiky leaves. Too much of a good thing can make your garden looked chaotic and blurred. One architectural, bold-leaved plant, like a cannas, can restore order.

Finally there’s color. Actually, many gardeners like to start with color because it’s a familiar design element. But nature pulls a fast one on us. Even though we know yellow and blue look good together, orange and red will clash and white goes with anything. There are so many shades of each of these colors, even white. Experimenting is the best way to get to know what colors work for you. But the best advice for brand new garden designers is to keep your palette limited. Start with 2-3 colors and you won’t have to worry about making your viewers dizzy.

Since gardening is a living art form, it is constantly changing. Gardens get better over time, with plants filling in, mingling and becoming more lush. But there will probably come a time when more is just too much and you’ll want to think about a redesign, or what I like to call, reining in your garden. That starts with taking a good hard look at what exactly is bothering you about your garden, as it is and making small changes until it’s back to where you want it.

Small spaces and containers simply go together. Containers give you the chance to experiment and try different plants. If you don’t like it or a plant is under-performing, it is easy to correct. But where containers really excel is in control. The gardeners can choose just the right soil, the right exposure and the right cultural conditions.

clay container plants landscape idea dutch touch wordpress blogIt is possible to create an entire garden with potted plants, so not having a yard is no excuse for not having a garden. Not every plant will be happy in a container, but you might be surprised how many and which ones do.

Dwarf trees can be left outdoors year round. This includes fruit trees, ornamentals and evergreens. Many vegetable varieties have been bred specifically to be grown in pots. Anything with the words ‘patio’ or ‘mini’ in their name is a good bet.

orange flowers landscape ideas dutch touch wordpress blogLandscaping Tips:

Using ornamental flowers in containers gives you the means to truly have season long bloom. You can switch out plants or simply switch out pots.

No space can be wasted in a small garden. But try telling that to a plant that’s been eaten or that temporarily succumbed to the humidity. Potted containers are perfect for last minute fixes. Whether you create a new pot of simple petunias or pull a masterpiece off of your deck, it can be tucked in next to the ailing plant and instantly fill the void.

Another specialty of containers is their ability to create a focal point. If you’re having trouble finding a plant that will provide you with height and not take up your entire garden space, look instead for a tall urn or chimney pot. The foot print is relatively small, but you can fill the top with spiky or spreading color. If the foot print of an urn is still too large for your garden space, consider placing a stand, some blocks or a tree trunk in the space and placing the container on top.

landscaping ideas dutch touch wordpress blogEven the pot can be used to add color or texture to the garden. Containers are a great way to express yourself in the garden. Found items, cracked pots, rusted wheelbarrows, old shoes, even the kitchen sink can be put to use in the garden.

Always have drainage holes or at the very least, a 1-2 inch layer of gravel at the bottom of the container. If you are using a decorative pot without drainage holes, consider planting in a plastic pot with holes that is one size smaller than the decorative pot and using the plastic pot as an insert.

Use a good potting soil mix, not garden soil. A mix with peat, perlite or vermiculite will retain moisture longer and yet be well draining. It will also be lighter and won’t compact as the season goes on. Using a chunky-style potting mix in container of 5 or more gallons will help the soil mix remain loose even longer.

In a garden bed, you can select which plants need water and which to pass over. Not so with a container garden. Select plants that will be happy with the same amounts of water, sun, heat and food.

Avoid aggressive spreaders that will compete with neighboring plants and consider dwarf varieties.

Most container gardens are going to require daily watering in hot weather. Even so, there will be times when you potted plants are going to be baking in the sun. Give your container a fighting chance by favoring plants that can handle the intensified heat and dry soil of a container garden.

Container gardens look best when the plants are in balance with the container. Try to make sure your tallest plants are not be more than twice the height of the container and that the fullness of the plant material is not more than half the width again as wide.

cactus potted plants xeriscape dutch touch landscaping ideas wordpress blogTry not to site containers in full mid-day sun. You may have chosen plants that say they require full sun, but container gardens heat up much more quickly and intensely than in the ground gardens. Most plants will welcome some relief from mid-day sun.  Water and heat is a major concern, especially in San Diego North County summers. Try Xeriscape and get some potted succulent plants.

On the other hand, when you must position a container in the shade, consider putting it by a wall that can reflect some light back. The plants won’t suffer from the extreme heat, but they will benefit from indirect light.

Lack of water can quickly kill plants in a container garden. Unlike plants grown in the ground, container plant roots can’t move down deeply in search of subsurface water. Check your containers daily for water needs. Check twice daily in the heat of summer and with smaller containers.

Don’t be afraid to switch out plant material for the change of season. No plant can go on blooming forever. When one plant starts to fade, look for another to take its place. This way you can start your container garden in the spring and go until frost. Longer in warmer climates. With container gardens, sequence of bloom is entirely within the gardener’s control.

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