|Ack, my house is naked!! Quick, throw a few shrubs over its foundation!|
Step 1: Trees, Shrubs, and Hardscaping
The first step in designing a garden is to put in what is called the 'bones' of the garden - the main structures that really anchor all the other smaller plantings. That usually means trees, shrubs, and hardscaping.
|In addition to trees and shrubs, I have two light posts and a few boulders in my garden. One great thing about the Northeast - boulders are plentiful! (Farmers would probably disagree about this being a great thing.)|
I designed this garden with the winter season in mind. It's easy to make a garden look good in the summer up here in the Northeast when everything is blooming, not so easy to make a winter garden look good - and all I hear from people up here is how long the winter is going to be! So I focused on plantings that would look good all year long, such as...
On one side of our yard we put a Blue spruce. The silvery blue of the needles match our house perfectly, and the birds love it!
A Vanderwolf's Pyramid Limber Pine and a Blue Atlas Cedar are planted on the other side of my house. I love how these two evergreens have totally different looks.
...and Foundation Plants with Winter Interest:
Deciduous trees and shrubs going in my yard needed to have either interesting bark or winter berries that would look good in winter!
Winterberry Hollies were planted on either side of my porch, and a River Birch tree with its fabulous light-colored, peeling bark was planted at the corner.
I also planted some Variegated Red Twig Dogwood shrubs. In summer they have variegated, gray-green colored leaves that look quite pretty with our house color. The leaves then turn a fabulous pink in autumn before dropping off to reveal bright red stems for winter!
Step 2: Deciding on Color and Gardening Style
After putting in the main landscaping, it was time to take advantage of the end-of-the-season sales and get some smaller shrubs and perennials for the garden. But what color scheme should I go with? My previous Red House perfectly set the stage for a cheerful front garden filled with lots of yellow blooms accented by oranges, reds, whites, and purples.
But my new house is a subdued grayish green with a hint of blue (yeah, I have no idea what color to describe it as). However, it really lends itself to a.... pastel-colored English-cottage theme!
|We're going pink and pastel here, very different for my garden!|
For this theme I had to have roses, of course, though being the lazy gardener that I am, they had to be very hardy and non-fussy. I found several 'The Fairy' Roses on sale, which are impressively still blooming despite our recent cold snap! I also picked up several 'Magnus' Purple Coneflowers, several different shades of Salvia (I'm a sucker for salvia), Gaura, and some Great Blue Lobelia, among others.
|The Great Blue Lobelia is perfect for a wet spot in the yard.|
Step 3: Plant what you love!
I know I had a pastel theme decided on, but I just couldn't resist putting some cheerful, bright yellow flowers somewhere in the garden. Next to the garage side door I planted a little clump of Willow Leaf Sunflowers, which are fabulously supposed to get around 6 to 8 feet tall. I can't wait.
|I have big dreams for you, baby clump!|
Step 4: The fun has only just begun!
I still have a lot to fill in. Bulb planting has started, and I'm already thinking about what plants to start from seed for next year. Ah, such planning! Hopefully it will carry me through the long, cold winter that everyone keeps warning me about!
But I must say, with the new beds and the landscaping 'bones' of the garden put in, my new house looks much more like a home!