Five Point Garden Plan At Your New Place

Ilona Erwin

If you have a new home, or the home is new to you, you probably want to keep up or improve the appearances of the place. I’ve talked with lots of people from my hair stylist to people on the street about their garden plans, and what they want and need. Seen more than a few new lots and what plants are commonly chosen, too.

If you have decided to take your landscaping into your own hands, or have been bitten by the garden obsession bug, consider the five points of success for planning your garden. Even if you decide to go with a professional landscaper,be a part of the process and get a result that truly satisfies you. These five points have degrees of complexity that are entirely up to you. But do try to get a simple outline of where your work and money goes in the outside part of your home environment- you’ll be happier.

You might even find a life long passion for growing things.

Point 1: Make Your Own Garden Plan

5 point garden plan

5 Easy Points To Follow

I call it the “5 point plan” because I know lots of people don’t like the planning process.

They don’t want to sit down with graph paper or draw little circles on a blank sheet of paper. (Some of us love to put plans on paper! We’re the ones shaking our heads sagely at this point).

The thing about this point is that you gather your thoughts, and research, in one easy-to-access place.

A landscape is a potentially large bit of money over time, and it also impacts the value of your home overall, so why wouldn’t you put some thought into how to achieve the best result for you and your investment?

And if you are a budding garden enthusiast, soon your spaces fill up and it becomes evident that a plan would have helped in all those trips to the plant nursery, etc.

garden plan

Make Your Plan Using A Software Program Or Your Own Artistic Skill

How To Make A Landscape Plan

Simple steps to draw up a design
  • Obtain a notebook reserved for your plans. Jot down facts, ideas, and research all in one place. Nothing need to be fancy, but do write things down.From My Blog- Making a Garden Journal: Why, What ideas to include, easy printable journal.
  • Take pictures or notes, or both, of what you like. When you are in your neighborhood, in a public garden, where ever. Cut pictures out of magazines. Make lists. Make something of a storyboard if that appeals to you, but get to know yourself and what you like, because the choices can be overwhelming. this step helps whittle that down. Think about how interior designers work… and that is the same process here.
  • Find out the basic materials of your garden: acid or alkaline soil? What texture of soil: sandy, loamy or clay? More on that, in a talk about dirt. Is your site windy or sheltered? Sunny or shady?
  • Get a few free catalogs. That is the easy way to find out about plants and maybe buy some that aren’t available locally. You do need to ignore the hype and the pretty pictures…skim right down to the soil, moisture, and hardiness requirements of the plant.
  • Walk around your property. If you have your camera, take a few photos, but take in the plants growing there, the feeling you get at your entryway, or in the “social space” of your yard. Is it too open, or not open enough? Does it feel bland, or is there too much going on? Write down how you feel and how you like to feel about those spaces. Remember that large trees take a lifetime to grow, consider any that you presently have. Don’t make poor choices when you want something that grows fast. see “Trees I love“, “Selecting a tree“, and “4 Fast Growing Trees“.

Now you are ready for the 2nd point!

Point 2: Center Your Yard Around You

That sounds selfish, but it’s not. Figure out how you and your family want to use your yard. Outdoor play spaces? Barbecues? Welcome entry? Games or quiet spaces? A place for outdoor clothes drying (it is one way to save energy!) or growing your own food?

See: “Growing Your Own Food”, “A Serenity Garden”. And generally choose a style that you like, that enhances your architecture. Also, “Landscape Style and Design”.

“You”, in this case, is also about your family, and your neighborhood.

It is also about the environment and the wildlife that inhabit it.

“You” is about the things that are important to you, and that you can make a positive impact on. Your landscape is the most public space of your home, and it should reflect how you relate, and want to relate.

So plan the spaces, and the needs of what is important to you within things like vegetable or/and flowers, patios, types of shrubs, lawn areas (that is no longer a given).

Just go wild in the planning process. The options are infinite even if we have to eventually whittle them down in real life. When you plan big, then you include important things into your plan and they don’t get lost in “when I have the time”,”when I have the money” or “someday”. This point let’s you prioritize, and helps you create your dream. In the yard, anyway.

Point 3: Educate Yourself

This is easy. You are doing that right now, as you surf the internet for tips and ideas.

The biggest point to consider is how often there are fine choices in landscape plants, but that people take the easy way out (the easy way that ends up not-so-easy) and let poor choices be made for lack of knowledge. Don’t let that be you.

Discover what plants grow well and give you the most for your money in terms of enjoyment, all season interest, etc. Buy a couple books, they pay for themselves in the end.

If you are starting out and want 50 great plants, Tracy DiSabato-Aust has written a book on that, 50 High-Impact, Low-Care Garden Plants. I recommend her book highly. Not all garden writers know their subject as well, and her books are not coffee table denizens…they will work for you. (And no, she doesn’t pay me to say this.)

I also have American Horticultural Society A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants on my shelf,where  I  check on plants before buying and planting them. Very handy.

Learn to Garden

Note the most important things

Besides your books, keep jotting things down in your notebook.

Make notes on the best trees, evergreens, and shrubs, those are the most permanent and costly plant choices.

Make notes on what hardscaping you want, also… the paths, walls, raised beds, arbors, etc.

Now you practically have the plan made for you, just by figuring out what you want and the best quality plants to use.

Point 4: Equip Yourself

Find good sources for plants, get good basic tools.

My daughter and her family bought a first home in a wonderful development. It was very well landscaped and the neighborhood association is a little too good about keeping the appearances up (if you know what I mean). But the plant material was of high quality and everything was well designed.

What more does the homeowner need, then, you might ask? Tools.

Every landscape needs maintenance.

That is something most of us don’t think about at first, but it becomes apparent soon enough. I went out and purchased a few of the most important when I visited (have to do something in my off time when visiting). Some loppers for trimming out branches, garden gloves, a good trowel, and that type of thing. I wrote “Basic Gardening Tools” to give detailed descriptions of tools, why you need them, and how they are used.

Point 5: Break It Up Into Little Pieces

I don’t mean smash anything, but create a level of work, installation,and improvements, over a time frame. If you “do it yourself”, there just isn’t time and energy to completely revamp or install a complete landscape in one short season.

If you pay someone, well … Just how much money do you have to get all the work done all at once?

Decide where you will start and how much will done in one growing season (or yearly budget).

I like the idea of completing one area at a time. It gives a sense of satisfaction and keeps the focus clear.

Plants in the plan for a brick house

Coleus and red Salvia are the perfect foil for each other

Suggestions for a Successful Garden Plan:

  • Make an inviting entry. You will see this everyday, and visitors will experience it as their first impression.
  • Choose Your trees and put in your hardscaping, first. Build garden areas around those choices.
  • Make one space your first priority: the vegetable garden? a quiet place or secret garden? a flower border? or an outdoor living area? That space will give you joy even if the other spaces don’t come along for an extended amount of time. See: Kitchen Gardens, A White Garden,
  • Create seasonal colors with containers. This is one way to get a feel for what you like in blooming plants and you can move them around to make experimental vignettes. Remember that they require attention to watering, but other than that, they are a snap. Recipes For Flowering Container Plantings, Container Ideas
  • Try not to bite off more than you can chew… or more relevantly: don’t dig up more than you can hoe. Get empty spaces planted before the weeds discover how comfy you made your yard for new plants. that is my best friendly advice, because I want you to love what you are doing and get the most out of it for a long time.

Baby steps… or at least a good walking pace will get you further in the gardening and landscaping efforts you are making.

General Garden Wisdom: Be Organic

No, this isn’t some political statement, but a time and money saver.

There isn’t anything more expensive than chemicals that you have to apply season after season. If you transplant some exotic garden style to your property without working with nature instead of against, guess who will eventually win? Oh you might put up a powerful fight, but it will cost you: in time, energy, money, and work, work, work.

Giving your soil what it needs means healthier, stronger growing plants that resist disease and predatory insects better. Less damage control for you. Compost – simply making your own fertilizer and amendments out of waste food and yard trimmings. Where recycling got its start, I think.

These methods can be worked seamlessly into your landscape plans, so putting it in right from the start makes good sense.

Garden smart by using a style of planting and maintaining that uses natures own checks and balances to bring a healthy, green, productive environment into being.

Good Soil And Good Bugs

Better Soil, The Good Bugs.

There you have it! Five points to follow your own primrose path or yellow brick road… whatever you decide leads you to your dreams of a hospitable outdoor space.

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Ilona Erwin, author

Meet the Author

Ilona Erwin

I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of Ilona's Reflecting Pool. Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.