Time to tweak your early season garden design

There is no “finished” garden – every garden is a work in progress.

You might be looking at yours and thinking it could use a little design upgrade. We’ve been improving gardens for over 50 years. Mark has written a book on the subject called “Canadian Garden Design”.

Here are our top seven tips for enhancing the design of any new or existing garden:

1. Garden according to your values. In gardening as in life, we must not pretend. We recommend that you focus on creating a garden that reflects what you care about. A vegetable patch or herb garden for the foodie, native shrubs and perennials for the bird and butterfly lover, a quiet space for those who seek it, and a gathering space for those who like to entertain.

2. Consider the schedule. It’s one thing to have a bed of peonies surrounding your magnolia if you’re only home in May to enjoy it, and for cottagers, it might be. The rest of us live in our gardens all season and if that’s you, be sure to choose a diverse collection of early, mid-season and late-blooming plants and flowers to maintain interest throughout. throughout the season.

To find a succession of flowering plants, suitable for your garden display and growing area, go to markcullen.com and visit the library where our in-house search engine will help you discover new design ideas and of plants.

3. The structure is fair game. Where plant life comes and goes, a fence, bench, planter or sculpture is a constant feature of the garden. Rather than trying to hide your shed, consider integrating it into the overall design. Planters full of color, a fresh coat of paint, a chair in front of the door indicate that your garden is a welcoming place.

4. Create a focal point. Some gardens happen by accident, a collection of random little features brought home from trips to the garden center. These little additions are an important part of your garden’s story, but they’re hard to tie together.

Using a specimen tree, fountain, sculpture or pond can help guide the eye and provide direction for the rest of your garden. Mark uses a giant insect hotel, visible from the front of the garden, to guide the eye to the rear.

5. Place the focal point where you are likely to see it. Most of the time, you will be looking at your garden from a window inside your house. Consider this practical point of view when creating your design.

Consider the view from your window when creating or upgrading your garden design.

6. Repetition. The repetition is visually pleasing. Using any type of rhythm in a garden helps tie it together and give it a useful theme.

A series of evenly spaced coneflowers, a row of trees, or even a tidy vegetable bed can make any garden intentional and inviting. Choose the plant you like the most and make it a theme by repeating it. The rhythm of the plants grouped together gives authority to your garden.

seven. In small spaces, use the height to your advantage. Every year, the average new vegetable garden gets smaller as more people take up less space. There’s a reason sprawling junipers are largely out of fashion: we don’t build big bungalows on big lots anymore.

If you’ve downsized your garden into a smaller garden, look for ways to layer vertically. Consider planting tall grasses or shrubs in the background, flowering perennials in the middle of the ground, and ground covers or small flowering plants in the foreground. Not only will it add interest to your garden through density and complexity, but dizzying heights are also a way to create rhythm through repetition.

Mark and Ben Cullen are expert gardeners and contributors to The Star. Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkCullen4

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