How to Design Gardens

Thoughts of quiet, private space in which to relax on a warm summer evening lead right to your own backyard. You'll want your outdoor space to be as comfortable as a cozy room with a glowing fire on a cold winter night. The terrace may lead to a swath of lush grass bordered by beds of rich ground covers, evergreens, and budding flowers. A canopy of trees overhead provide dappled shade that moves with the breeze. Your landscape is a place of peace and beauty because of thoughtful planning, hard work, and patience.

In this article, we'll show you how to design gardens:
  • Designing a Landscape Garden

    Whether you're looking to screen an eyesore or frame a beautiful vista, you'll become personally involved in developing a landscape that suits your needs and desires. You may like to dabble in the yard after a hard day's work, or you may prefer to spend weekends in the garden working on routine chores. Any way you look at landscaping, you can choose the style that fits your needs. In this section, we'll teach you how to design a landscape garden.

  • Landscape Garden Tips

    When planting a landscape garden, you'll want to start with an assessment of your personal needs. Make a list of what you want to incorporate into your design. Take notes of special functions or service areas your landscape will need to provide. Then, consider the tips throughout this section as you build your landscape. You'll discover landscape design ideas that, after implementing, you'll enjoy for a lifetime.

  • Planting Ground Covers

    Grasses of many kinds cover all corners of the earth. Some grow tall with wispy flowers then turn to seed. Some hug the ground, spreading by creeping stems. Some species of grass tolerate wear and regular mowing. When planting ground covers, you'll need to decide which of the many varieties of grasses best suits your yard. Turf grasses are the most durable and commonly grown ground cover. Other species, while not as durable to serve as a yard, are wonderful garden plants. Ornamental grasses can serve as long-lived ground covers. We'll explore the different kinds of ground covers in this section.

  • Designing a Mixed Garden

    Any visitor to commercial public garden can tell you just what fantastic displays a mixed garden can provide. Bare walls are decorated with half-baskets full of flowers; large massed plantings line sidewalks and fill sitting areas; huge planters are jammed with color; baskets of blooms hang from tree limbs and archways; and window boxes decorate balconies. When designing a mixed garden, your limits are only the amount of space and your imagination. We'll help you open up your imagination with ideas on how to design a mixed garden.

  • Designing a Garden for Privacy

    Your backyard garden should be your private oasis. That means that your crazy neighbors aren't joining your barbecue uninvited. The kids from the next yard aren't cruising through your yard killing everything in their path. The dogs aren't eating your favorite begonias or leaving you presents to find later. You need to design a garden for privacy. We'll show you the best methods to design a garden using fences, patios, and paving techniques to keep your garden exactly what you want it to be -- yours.

  • Designing with Trees, Shrubs, and Vines

    Every yard needs more than just pretty flowers to make it complete. You'll want the grandeur of trees arching overhead; shrubs provide privacy and protection; vines can fill in bare walls or fences. Without these woody plants defining the landscape, your backyard would look out of place. Woody plants are expensive and hard to relocate, so you want to make sure you plant them in the right place the first time. We'll show you how to design with trees, shrubs, and vines.

  • Tree, Shrub, and Vine Design Ideas

    Planting a tree, shrub or vine properly is the most important step in growing it. Where you place it is the key to success. In addition to considering the different elements of the outdoor ceiling landscape, you can also look to trees, shrubs, and vines for design ideas. Vines on a trellis can be a focal point of a garden, while vines around a pipe can also block out that hideous mistake in home plumbing. Shrubs can be pruned formally  to create an Edward-Scissorhands-like masterpiece for your garden, or informally to act as a natural barrier between your house and the folks next door. In this section, we'll give you some more design ideas for working with trees, shrubs, and vines.

  • Designing a Garden for Shade

    People rarely set out to create shade on purpose, at least not in the garden. Instead, shade is usually something is forced upon them. It is all too easy to look at the negative aspects of shade: the favorite sun-loving plants you can grow, the inability to get a suntan in your own yard, the pervasive greenness rather than the riotous color of the mixed border. Often there is little you can do about shade, so why not accept it and learn to live with it? You'll quickly find that shade gardening, while a bit of a challenge, offers ample advantages as well. We'll keep the lights on a shade garden in this final section.
There's a different type of garden for every kind of design you could imagine. Let's get started by designing a landscape garden.