When it comes to landscape design, your garden’s theme should reflect your personal style. Go outside and take a good look at your property. Mark the boundaries if they are not clear. Use a compass to get the orientation of the house. Check which parts of the yard get sun at different times of the day. Recall where snow piled up during the winter. Take photos. Review the needs of your specific garden(s). Is the vegetable garden in the sunniest spot? Is your water supply accessible? Stand with your favourite view of the garden and make a wish list.

Successful gardening revolves around the use of space, not the use of plants. Good design relates to the users of the garden first. Plan and design for your needs and let the garden grow around you.

Hardscape and softscape

Hardscape elements should manage traffic flow and provide comfortable recreation spaces. Hard landscaping defines the garden with distinct lines and includes all the non-organic design elements such as patios, fences and pathways. Always install the hardscape before the softscape, even if you cannot afford it straightaway. For example, lay gravel and sand until you can afford the flagstones or concrete for the patio.

Softscape comes next. This includes all the plant material that softens and complements the hardscaping. Soft landscaping continues to grow and to change the shape of the yard. Calgary is known for its microclimates, which are mini climate zones in your yard that differ from the surrounding area. Take advantage 
of them by carefully choosing and positioning your plants. Proximity to water may cool the ambient temperature or add moisture. Close to the house, more heat 
is retained, allowing tender plants to flourish. And on a south-facing slope, plants will 
thrive in the warm, bright sunshine.

Avoid the pitfalls of softscaping: making your beds too small and growing more plants than you care to maintain. Landscapes that “bully you” by demanding constant pruning, mowing, fertilizing and watering should be replaced or modified.

Wide beds with sweeping curves. Courtesy, Winston Goretsky

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Wide beds with sweeping curves. Courtesy, Winston Goretsky

Creating New Beds

Flower beds should be at least two metres wide to give plants enough space to spread naturally. Lay a hose to outline where you’d like your new beds, or use flour dribbled out of a wine bottle. (Drink …read more

Source:: Calgaryherald.com


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Calgary Horticultural Society: Some sage advice: before you plant, start with a plan

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