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The basic component of a home landscape is a garden plan.
However, many people are reluctant to hire a professional to help at the planning and design stage. There are numerous benefits, but they aren’t always immediately realized, and the rewards of having a good garden plan are not as tangible as the end result. The secret is that a thorough plan and sound design will enhance the use of your space, foresee and mitigate problem areas, and add touches that pique your interest and your senses all year long. The secret is that a thorough plan and sound design will enhance the use of your space, foresee and mitigate problem areas, and add touches that pique your interest and your senses all year long.
Why Rely on a Designer’s Expertise?
Landscape designers have building construction and horticultural knowledge. They also have skills in art and design similar to those associated with architecture. With these tools, a designer can guide you through the elements of garden design and help you realize the look or style you want to achieve. A designer can also help you form a budget for your project and, in many cases, can help you with the installation of the garden. Your designer can also create a maintenance schedule or program to assist with your garden’s aftercare and growth.
Look for garden designers and installers with special certifications and designations that indicate their area of expertise: click here to learn what to look for in hiring your landscape professional.
Mapping the Botany and the Bones
The right plant in the right place is essential. Understanding the climate, micro-climates and conditions of your garden are important when deciding what plants to use. A garden changes from year to year and deciding how you want the garden
to look in one, two or 10 years is best considered in the garden planning stage.
Plants naturally change with the seasons. A landscape designer will consider your garden’s interest throughout the year as they plan the soft landscape (ie: plants and soil). The planting’s focal point could move from beside the door in winter to along a pathway in spring, simply by choosing plants for their seasonally attractive characteristics.
On the other hand, the ‘bones’ or the hardscape will not change from year to year. The patio stone may have a change of patina and the trellis can be repainted, but the structures themselves are static. Getting the bones of the garden right provides a solid base for the garden.
Defining your Investment and Interest in Gardening
The reality is that all gardens require maintenance — the only variable is the degree of maintenance. Without planning and forethought, maintaining a garden can turn into a part- or full-time job! A plant is going to thrive and grow how nature intended. Understanding what a plant requires and making sure it is provided for, with as little effort as possible, can reduce the amount of maintenance required.
It is important that your garden fit your lifestyle and budget. The initial cost of a garden design can save you time and money in the long run. In fact, your garden will make you money by increasing the value of your property over time.
Colleen MacDonald is the owner of Sage Green Projects Inc. Her landscape company specializes in design and has recently moved into designing green roofs. Colleen has a Certificate in Garden Design from UBC. www.sagegreenprojects.ca