Money Saving Tips For Garden Designing

Garden designing, often called landscape designing, is of course a big undertaking, and can consume a great deal of time and energy. Professional Garden designers can be very expensive consequently you need to do some serious planning before you go out and hire a professional Garden Designer. Here are some garden designing tips to save you both time and money.

First and foremost you must have a clear idea or vision of the kind of garden you truly wish to have. Here is list of the most popular:

English Gardens promote a style that accentuates harmony between the architecture of the house with the garden. This is often accomplished by using the placement of flowers and plants and borders to accentuate the rhythm of the structure of the house.

Asian Gardens are usually found in smaller backyards to promote peace, health as well as beauty. They often employ evergreens, rocks, rock formations and water features in just the right places to create a feng shui effect.

Woodland Gardens are beautiful and scenic well suited to a house that has a wooded backyard.

Formal Gardens have a style consisting of many perfectly geometrical shapes with straight lines. Everything is orderly and planned, this means the garden design will not tolerate random placement of plants.

Informal Gardens are usually the charming, quaint style you see in Cozy Cottages. In this style Garden Beds have rounded or curved boundaries instead of perfectly straight lines. Unlike the formal garden, the plants are often randomly placed to bump up the charm factor.

Mixture of Formal with the Informal Gardens is the style that often has lovely brick walkways that emanate formality but lead to a circular or curved garden spot which is softer a feature often seen in an informal garden. This arrangement of formal and informal bring to mind the English Garden style but without formal borders.

And my favorite…

Vegetable Gardens where you plant what you love to eat and share with others. This garden type with a bit of imagination and planning can also be built with many of the above styles in mind.

The Style of Your House:

While you plan out your dream garden there’s another very important thing to consider, and that is the style of your home. If you have very formal architecture the charming informal garden may not be properly suited the style of your home. This is just as true if you have a cottage style house it is important to realize that a formal garden may look completely out of place.

Your Lifestyle:

Also take a good and truthful look at your own lifestyle. Do you enjoy spending your spare time caring for numerous beds of plants, trees and flowers which entail seasonal cultivating and pruning? If you love this please plant them.

On the other hand if you prefer spending your free time traveling, going to the park or beach then choose a garden design that gives you what you need or love but make sure that it is relatively suited for easy care.

The Vision of Your Finished Design:

Once you have made the above choices it’s time to diligently think about your finished design. So take a discerning look at your existing landscape and make a list of how you truly want use this piece of land. It is now time to decide what kind of plants you love and want to include. And what features are important to you. In other words, would a barbeque or swimming pool be appropriate? Would you like an area to entertain friends and family? A children’s area for playing? A pond with koi fish and lily pads?

Favorite Place:

Issues in Garden Design – Designing Gardens With Limited Space and for Health and Play

Perhaps the trend towards smaller gardens makes good design even more important. It is often said that designing a small garden is more difficult than designing a large one. In a small space there can be issues of privacy; the need to disguise borders whilst still maintaining enough usable space. Choice of plants is critical because each plant has to earn its living in more than one way – a small tree, such as Amelanchier lamarckii, for instance, will provide spring blossom, attractive spring foliage, summer shade, autumn colour and winter structure – a shrub such as Choisya ternata will be evergreen, provide spring flowers, sometimes with a second flush in September, and a gorgeous scent when its leaves are brushed, whereas something like an oriental poppy (Papaver orientale), spectacular though its flowers are, will only bloom for a short period, and leave behind rather scruffy foliage for the rest of the season, or a hole if it is cut down, and in any case dies down in winter. It really doesn’t earn its keep where interest needs to be maintained throughout the year within a limited space. Although the space is small, planting should not be limited to small plants which can make the space seem even smaller. Climbers are an essential ingredient in a small garden, and this is where green roofs and living walls come into their own. Gardens in built up areas can be very sheltered, so allowing a wider range of less hardy plants to be grown, on the other hand, they can be very shady, which offers its own set of planting opportunities. Good design will maximise the opportunities presented by any setting, and create a coherent space, full of interest that offers an enhanced quality of life.

However, budget may be another problem. Garden designers, like everyone else, are facing recession. It may be difficult to persuade people to splash out on what is seen as a luxury, and when they do decide to invest in having their garden designed, the budgets available may constrain the design. We have to be inventive about how we retain the quality of design whilst limiting the cost, for instance by specifying smaller but faster growing trees, rather than spending money on mature specimens. Garden designers are also having to diversify by looking towards designing public spaces, writing, teaching, supplying plants and offering garden maintenance as supplementary sources of income.

Some of the public spaces garden designers have been called upon to design in recent years include hospital and hospice gardens, and there is a growing interest in the impact of gardens on health and well-being. According to a paper presented by Roger S. Ulrich PhD, to the International Exhibition Floriade conference ‘Plants for People’, entitled “Health Benefits of Gardens in Hospitals”, there are significant benefits to patients of viewing environments dominated by greenery, flowers or water, in terms of reducing stress, diminishing stressful thoughts, promoting recovery, elevating positive emotions and reducing negative emotions such as fear, anger and sadness. These can be measured in terms of blood pressure, heart activity, muscle tension and brain electrical activity. There is also a decrease in anxiety, pain and the length of stay in hospital when an appropriately designed garden is provided, and an increase in levels of patient satisfaction. As far as the design goes, an over dominance of hardlandscaping at the expense of planting, is detrimental to these positive outcomes, and abstract, ambiguous artworks can aggravate stress rather than reduce it. So concentrating on planting and natural scenery seems to be the best policy for a designer, which allows him or her plenty of scope to think about appealing to the senses – sight, sound and smell through the use of scented plants, water for sound, making the garden attractive to birds which will sing, choosing plants for year round colour, texture and movement. Soft and gentle colours, avoiding any violent clashes, may provide a calm and stress-reducing atmosphere, such as greens, lavenders, pinks and blues, although gentle yellows and whites can also be uplifting. The garden needs to be calming and relaxing, but still retain interest.

Gardens can also have a beneficial effect on mental health. Having the opportunity to work in a garden can be therapeutic, and at a time of growing obesity, any outdoor activity can help. Children, it is often said, are becoming out of touch with where food comes from and garden designers can help by designing public and private spaces that put them back in touch with nature and consider their educational and play needs. What children need most from a garden setting is space to play. Quite aside from all the play equipment such as trampolines, swings, tree-houses, Wendy houses, sandpits, swimming pools or paddling pools that can be provided, just having a range of colours, textures, sizes and shapes of plants can provide a stimulating environment. Places to hide, shrubberies to build dens in, mud to dig in are all play opportunities. Tall grasses and tall perennials that tower over the children’s heads, with paths winding through can be magical, as can very small plants. Conkers, acorns or cobnuts to collect, and ponds to do pond dipping are all stimulating and educational opportunities. A garden is a good way of introducing children to wildlife, and no child’s education can be complete without having the chance to grow something from seed. Of course, as designers we must take into account safety issues, including putting a grate over ponds, making sure boundaries are secure, and not planting the most poisonous plants, although no garden can be completely risk free, and there are so many poisonous plants, it is better to educate children not to eat them than trying to avoid them altogether.

Good garden design can be so beneficial to society that it should thrive in the 21st century in spite of recession.

Create Gorgeous Gardens: 5 Useful Free Garden Design Software Features

Today, in the increasingly competitive free garden design software market, some of the skills of professional landscape designers are already built into the software itself. For example, in the past we have to depend on the professionals to select suitable plants that will thrive in your local climate. Today, the USDA Hardiness Zone Map is encoded into most paid and free landscape design software, so selecting suitable plants for your climate has become a much easier job.

Over the years of using both free and paid garden design software for garden design projects for my clients, I noticed that there are 8 “must have” features in the software that can help to save lots of time and avoid garden design mistakes:

1) Large searchable plant library with Hardiness Zone Maps

I cannot stress the importance of correct plant selection enough. Fortunately, access to Hardiness Zone Maps is just a few clicks away with the correct software. Experienced gardeners will tell you that it is pointless to plant something that will not survive in your climate.

Therefore, to avoid the disappointment of seeing dying plants, it is important to know your hardiness zone before deciding what plants you want in your garden.

2) Ability to design gardens in 3D, and produce 2D drawings

From experience, many people, me included, have problems visualizing how the garden will look like by just looking at a 2D drawing. Unfortunately, many professional landscape designers still like to communicate the garden design concept to their clients. For example, by looking at a “bird eye view” plan, there is very hard to imagine how a bird bath looks like beside a raised flower bed. Some clients absolutely love it; however some clients want the bird bath removed after it was installed. Such costly design errors can avoided if the client was shown a 3D photo of the future garden.

Anyway, 2D drawings are still important. It contains much important information, such as the size of the garden, and the location of every garden element. Therefore it is crucial for paid and free garden design software to have both 2D and 3D design capabilities.

3) Ability to import your front yard or backyard photos

This type of free garden design software is probably the easiest to use, and it is definitely the most practical for gardeners who has only a small garden to work on.

This type of software allows you to import your front yard photo and add garden features around them. So, it is particularly useful for creating “before and after” comparisons. Some software even can create different lighting effects so that you can see how your future garden looks like in the morning as well as in the evening.

However if you have a large garden, this type of program is probably not for you. The reason is, if your garden is a large one, in this type of program it is not possible to design in every single detail.

4) Plant growth simulation

With the Hardiness Zone Maps installed into the software, some landscape design software nowadays can also predict how your plants will look like in the next 3 months or 5 years. This is particularly important so that adjustments can be made for space constraints which are not apparent at the first look.

Besides, it is also a great experience to see how your garden will become more and more gorgeous year after year, without the need of time travel!

5) Ease of use

The ease of using your paid or free landscape design programs is one of the most underrated features. Many beginning garden enthusiasts pay too much attention to whether their software has a certain type of plant in their plant library.

Obviously having a large plant library is very important, but I always belief that gardeners should never let the software difficulties limit our imagination. If the software is way too hard to use for you, just change to another one, since there are dozens of them out there.

These are the top 5 features that I will recommend to all garden enthusiasts to keep an eye on whenever they want to install any paid or free garden design software. Once you make a wise decision and install the correct software, you are already one big step nearer to creating the garden of your dreams.