Designing Next Years Garden

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Designing Next Years Garden

designing next years garden

Now is the time to start planning and designing next years garden, not while you’re standing in the nursery contemplating every new plant that tempts you. Whether it be your whole yard or a pot you have been holding onto not knowing what to do with, I may be able to help. So lets spend some time looking at your garden now, viewing it objectively while your successes and failures make themselves known. When you’re thinking of plants, think first of heights so you can layer your plants, tallest in back and smallest in front. Second, think about contrasting colors, variegated leaves and the different shapes of leaves.

Designing Next Years Garden with “Thriller, Filler, Spiller”

I chose a pot I’ve had for over ten years not knowing what to do with it until a friend gave me this unique pine tree. I went to Navelet’s nursery and found six packs of perennials for $1.29. Perennials will last from year to year until you have to separate them when they get over crowded. Because my pot has unique colors in it, I decided to use the “thriller,” “filler,” “spiller” approach. The pine tree is my thriller. It will grow tall and look great in the pot. I used Heuchera Palace Purple coral bells as my filler. They bring a stately new look to an old favorite. These Coral Bells sport very dark foliage of a gleaming mahogany-maroon with little mini bells that will contrast beautifully with the silver on the top edge of the pot and will completely surround the tree come spring. The spiller is bacopas and they will fall over the edge of the pot with white flowers. By planning now and getting the little six packs of perennials, you can save considerable money by not paying a high price for gallon pots come spring.


my pot

What Will Your Garden Be For?

When designing next years garden, ask yourself, “What do you want to use your garden for?” Aesthetic beauty is a given, unless it is a weed demonstration garden like one of my neighbors down the road.

  • Will you be entertaining in or near the garden and need paths and patios? Should you be considering elements such as garden stepping stones? Or is this space for small children to play in?
  • Are you looking for privacy from a busy street or neighbors? Are you looking for a noise reduction in your yard?
  • Is it your own private space or do you have public view? Are you trying to create a view from inside the house? Morning, afternoon, or night?
  • Would you like to attract more birds, butterflies and necessary insects into your yard?
  • Will you want to cut flowers to bring indoors?

Since this is the best time of year to monitor your garden site, do it during different times of the day and document the sun & shade levels you get and where. Do you get eight hours of morning sun or afternoon sun? Do you get sun all day or shade? Think about budget constraints; should you plan your garden in stages? Can you propagate from friends and family? Think about the time you can realistically spend in your garden working or just enjoying it. Few of us have all day to garden or all the money we could wish, to buy plants so be creative.

Your Garden Style

Do you know what you want to use your garden for? What you are working with and how many resources you can devote to it? Now, what do you want it to look like?

  • Formal or informal? Cottage? Wooded areas?
  • Do you favor soft pastels or bold tropical colors?
  • Will it be a border or a free standing island?
  • Will it be herbs and vegetables?

designing next years garden

While your designing next years garden, have fun! Go to a small local nursery, as they are the nursery that will have six pack perennials and do your own cost analysis. For me, a six pack at $1.29 means each Heuchera Palace Purple Coral Bell above cost $.22 cents, if I waited till spring to get the same plant in a one gallon pot it would cost me $7.00+ for each one. If you live in a cold hardy area you can either keep them on a windowsill indoors on a warming mat designed for gardening. You can either build or buy a small cold frame to keep your inexpensive young plants throughout the winter.

TIP: Planning an entire yard by yourself can be a tad bit overwhelming, so section your yard out and do a section here and a section there while learning lessons about your yard as you go. Don’t forget you can layer bulbs in pots with perennials so there is always something fun happening in your pots. Plant winter spring bulbs in the ground during the fall as they are the first to pop up out of the ground welcoming you to spring and a new year.

Happy Gardening~ ~Gale

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