Planning a Garden

Helpful Tips to Planning a Spring Garden

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Yes, it's that time of year again. The holidays are over and even though the cold spells are still yet to come, gardening season is not that far away. It's the perfect time to begin planning. Now, if your garden is already perfectly arranged and exquisitely planted, you're one of the lucky ones. For the rest of us there's always that shady corner, that spot near the wall, that long patch of weeds that have been so easy to ignore that really needs some attention.

Placitas library 3-3-2010 Horticulturist David Salman started from scratch when designing this garden for the Placitas Community Library.

If your garden is well thought out in advance, it will be easier to fill in the specifics later.

It may seem obvious, but the first thing to do is decide what you mean by "garden." Is it for growing vegetables or flowers, herbs or grasses?

If you're starting from scratch, which probably means starting with open, barren ground, consider your lifestyle.
What spaces do you want? Areas can include a kids play area, a dog exercise area, patio dining, screening for wind, privacy from neighbors. After determining what your outdoor needs are, next comes the site analysis.

Placitas Community Library HCG donated gardenHigh Country Gardens donated the garden for the Placitas Community Library in Placitas, NM.

Note the existing elements such as slopes that might need some erosion control. Determine the hardscaping, the walls and walkways if some already exist.

Also consider the direction of the site. Where is north and south? Which way does the wind blow? Figure out what the soil is, how the area drains and how you plan to water the site. Next locate the shady spots, the sunny spots then take an inventory of existing plants. You might want to leave some native plants and incorporate them into your garden.

Once you have the overall, or schematic plan, then you can work on the details of the garden.

Placitas Community Library HCG donated garden #2Planning your garden in advance will make all the difference.

Things to consider are whether or not you have a favorite plant you want to make sure is worked into the design, or planning for microclimates.

If your garden is well thought out in advance, it will be easier to fill in the specifics later. If you want a nice perennial garden, ask what plants go together and how much space they'll need and then remember they will grow.

If you're planning a big garden or even a little spot near the front door, there are all kinds of elements to think about. But planning in advance will make all the difference.

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