Now that it’s Spring, are you itching for a garden makeover but don’t know where to start? The options can be overwhelming but the best first step is to decide what kind of oasis you’d like to create! Whether it’s a stepped-up outdoor living space surrounded by green goodness, a place to chill out after a stressful day or a garden designed to encourage wildlife or a field of butterflies, we’ve got 7 great ideas to get your creativity flowing!
As cities expand, space shrinks, but small gardens grow! The design of small gardens has reached new heights as landscape designers become more familiar with the needs and potential of smaller spaces. Some smart ideas for a small garden makeover space? Make sure every piece used to create your garden oasis serves a dual purpose whenever possible—like planters that also serve as benches. And make sure to look up! Every inch of vertical space should be considered in the design. Vertical gardens, tiered beds, and container gardens can add dimensions and increase the number of plantings that can be included.
Knowing what we eat has become a growing interest as people seek a healthier lifestyle, so it comes as no surprise that food-based gardening has become popular in the last few years. That trend continues this year, as gardeners seek to grow everything from common vegetables like bell peppers to more unique foods like kohlrabi. Food gardens often work best when interspersed with beautiful flowering plants that encourage pollinators to visit, and can be easily sized for the available space, be that a balcony or backyard!
Meditation Garden Makeover
The world can seem chaotic. In 2018, more people are looking to their yards for a place for peaceful reflection. The perfect serenity garden uses plants and other sound muffling structures to make the space as quiet and secluded as possible. Additions of soothing sights and sounds from water features, curving pathways of rock or pebbled mosaics, and serene, fragrant plantings help set the tone. Make sure your plan includes space is for meditation seating, garden yoga or other favorite relaxing activity.
As awareness grows of the adverse effects human developments can have on local environments, many are seeking ways to restore local habitats for animals of all types. Turning all or part of the garden into a local habitat for birds, frogs, butterflies, turtles, and other local fauna is a growing trend in gardening. To join the movement, find native plants to use in your garden, add a water feature from which animals can drink, and a shelter that animals can to use to escape from bad weather or prey. If you meet all habitat requirements, you can even certify your garden with the National Wildlife Federation.
Most gardens are a landscape of greys and browns in the winter. Not anymore. With the right planning, you enjoy your garden views well into the cold months by growing plants that retain their bright colors and textures year-round. In addition to a variety of evergreens, consider using ornamental kale and cabbage, hellebores, red-barked or yellow-barked dogwood, witch hazel, or red chokeberry. For an eye-catching garden year-round it’s also smart to plant trees with colorful or peeling bark, textured evergreens or evergreens that change color in the winter, and early and late blooming plants and flowers.
Outdoor living spaces have been common garden elements for years, but lately, they have migrated further from the house as people seek to be surrounded by greenery as they sit and dine. When creating an outdoor living space that is truly al fresco, enclose the area with in-ground or container plants that help define the space and make it a more intimate setting. And though it’s not connected to the house, think about creating a special deck for the space to ground the area and create the feeling of an outdoor room.
Long-term droughts have impacted many states across the country. As a result, the interest in drought-resistant and sustainable gardening has increased. Using drought-resistant and native plantings often eliminate the need to water your plants at all. You can even replace your water-thirsty lawn with cascading native plantings or create rock gardens to reduce water consumption even further. To find drought-tolerant plants for your area (like red buckeye in Arkansas or coyote brush in Nevada) use the Environmental Protection Agency’s helpful list of resources or visit your local nursery for suggestions.
Whether you’re designing an entirely new landscape or simply making updates to your current design, start with an overarching idea and go from there. Once you have a theme for your garden, choosing which plants to incorporate becomes much easier. Before you know it, your garden makeover will be the gem of the neighborhood. Happy gardening!