Table of Contents
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Chapter One: Design
- 2.1 Planning Your Garden
- 2.2 Elegant Garden Borders
- 2.3 Planting Your Borders
- 2.4 Fruits and Vegetables
- 2.5 When You Should Plant
- 2.6 Elegant Social Gardens
- 2.7 Elegant No Maintenance Gardens
- 2.8 Elegant Small City Gardens
- 2.9 Elegant Sloping Gardens
- 2.10 Elegant Rooftop Gardens
- 2.11 Elegant Contemporary Gardens:
- 2.12 Elegant Urban City Gardens
- 3 Chapter Two: Plants
- 3.1 Top 5 Flowers to Buy:
- 3.2 Plant care:
- 3.3 Leaf spot is caused by bacteria and fungi and is a very common disease. You will see spots on the leaves in grey, black, or brown. You should immediately remove any affected leaves. This will reduce the likelihood of re-infection the next season. Prune back your shrubs and only water sparingly. Then use a fungicide with myclobutanil every two weeks throughout the season.Safety when treating diseased plants:
- 3.4 The fourth is treating pests.
- 3.5 The fifth is feeding your plants.
- 3.6 Making Compost
- 3.7 Choosing Trees & Shrubs for Your Garden
- 3.8 Top 5 Low Maintenance Trees
- 3.9 Top 5 Low Maintenance Shrubs
- 3.10 Planting Your New Trees & Shrubs
- 3.11 Watering Your New Plants
- 3.12 Tips for Caring for Your Trees & Shrubs
- 3.13 Cultivating a Healthy Lawn
- 4 Chapter Three: All Things Water
- 5 Chapter Four: Decks, Patios, and Outdoor Rooms
- 5.1 Installing Decks
- 5.2 Creating the Perfect Outdoor Area: How to Design Your Patio
- 5.3 Size Matters: Design Your Patio Accordingly
- 5.4 Beautiful Lines: Beautifying Your Patio through Stunning Visual Design
- 5.5 Beauty & Durability: Which Material Offers Both?
- 5.6 Decorative Concrete: Beautifying a Patio with Color
- 5.7 Outdoor Rooms
- 6 Chapter Five: Accessories
- 7 Conclusion
Elegant gardens use many illusions of space and detachment to make a space, no matter how small, a welcoming and engaging one.
Even a small town garden can be transformed into a calm and restful space. While the notion of owning a summer home and retreating each year is wonderful, it is not always feasible. When you cannot work the costs of a summer home into your budget, you may be better off creating a more cost-effective retreat: a garden retreat. You can create a grandiose focal point within your practical space that takes advantage of your view, or your new water feature.
You can turn any point in your garden into the new focal point. Once you have the focal point in mind, you can position and scale your hedges to create a “room” around the focal point. You don’t have to compromise your view but you can still maximize the overall space.
You can enhance your existing hedging with clipped box plants. These round plants can be placed in terracotta pots. They align with the quintessential garden topiary too. By incorporating a lawn, you can revert to the classical yet subtle garden influences. With a unified planting scheme you can create a calming atmosphere in your garden that also stretches the existing space. You can combine trailing foliage with various flowers which have heavy scents for something particularly special.
No matter what you decide to do, it is important that you make this elegant escape all your own. Begin with the design. During the design phase you must consider the colors, shapes, and themes you want. Once this is done, you must decide upon the plants, flowers, and trees you want in your garden. You must learn how to tend to them so that they bloom beautifully each season and bring you years of joy. You can then integrate water features, such as ponds or waterfalls, to complement your theme. You may want to include a deck, patio, or outdoor room in which to sit and entertain guests. Once this is done, your final task is to consider the accessories you will need including lighting and outdoor furniture. After this, you will be well on your way to creating an elegant garden escape!
Chapter One: Design
Planning Your Garden
An elegant garden does not just appear overnight. The best elegant gardens have been carefully planned. You don’t have to be a landscape architect to plan the perfect escape either.
As you sit down to write your plan, consider the following:
Where does the sun fall on your garden and at what time?
Before you start making a blueprint of where everything goes, you need to note where and when the sunlight falls on your yard. This is important if you want to incorporate a nice dining area which will be dappled in shade at the appropriate dining hours, or a sun bathing area next to your pool that is sheltered for children to play.
How much privacy do you already have and how much do you want?
If you have nosy neighbors and an open yard, or your home rests at the bottom of a hill, then you may need to incorporate tall trees or a trellis so that you can block the view that your neighbors get.
Do you need an outside tap?
If your yard does not already have a tap which you can use to connect to a hose, then you may need to have one installed before you can properly irrigate your yard. This can be useful for those with children who will need to fill up a small wading pool in the summer or set up a sprinkler to sit in the middle of the lawn.
Then you have to work out any practical matters.
Does your design need to cater to a family? Does it need to cater to family pets? Is its purpose to host social events? Will the design cater to just you and your spouse?
Remember to consider the needs of everyone who will be enjoying the elegant garden escape. If you have a dog that likes to play in your flowerbeds then it may be best to reconsider delicate flowers that will only be trampled. If you have children, you need to consider the safety of your design. A water feature without a basin may be better suited than a pond for families with small children.
Lastly, you must consider any storage you may need. If you have garden furniture that is not weather proof, then you may need to make room for a shed that can store the furniture, bikes, toys for your pool, etc…
The design of your elegant garden should be made to fit your space, large or small. If, for instance, you have a view then you will want to craft a relaxing space that opens up toward the view. If you instead are surrounded by nosy neighbors, you may want to create a sense of privacy around a central area. You can establish layers if your garden escape is located on a hillside and incorporate walkways, stairs, patios, and decks to complement existing structures, wrap around trees, or go around a pool.
Creating the perfect elegant garden is a combination of plants and ambience. Ambience is the result of the whole project. This means the manner in which the plants flows together, the shape of the garden, the lighting, any water features, furniture, and accessories. You can mix and match colors and styles to create unique ambiences all their own. You can mix and match materials such as concrete, rocks, stone, or wood.
There are many materials that you can use in your elegant garden. Composite bender boards are the best for footpaths and walkways as well because it doesn’t rot and it bends easily. Wood would rot and does not bend as much. It must be replaced often. Concrete can be decorative but it isn’t very elegant. Stones and pavers are also nice. Granite or flagstone or slat are durable and do not rot.
Elegant Garden Borders
Whether you are planning a new elegant garden escape, or you are redesigning an existing garden, you can create a striking layout by starting with your borders. The borders for your yard can vary in terms of color, shape, and design. You can combine hedges, trees, a lawn, or your favorite plants.
Not too long ago plants served one of two purposes: they were formal which was meant to define distinct areas with precision and structure, or they were informal where emphasis was on arrangements that flowed and were relaxed. Informal planting imitates the manner in which things naturally grow through casually positioning plants and bulbs.
The ideal mixture today is a controlled hybrid of both styles that results in a unique and awe-inspiring display.
After this you need to assess your garden aspect. Consider where the sun hits naturally. Pay attention to the direction of your walls and boundary fences. A majority of the greenery in your elegant garden will grow along these areas. If you have walls which face east, they will get a lot of sun in the early morning. If your walls face west, then they get the majority of their sun in the early and late afternoon. Walls which face south get very hot in the middle of the day when the sun shines down directly while those that face north only get about one hour of direct sunlight each day. If your walls face north, then you have to consider plants like ferns or other types of foliage that love the shade.
Consider the type of growing environment that your garden/yard offers. If there is a particular plant you absolutely must have in your yard, then you will have to research the best spot for it. If you want to incorporate flowering plants, vegetables, and/or fruit, you must find areas that get at least six hours of sun each day. If you have any area that is lightly shaded, or you can build one, then you have many more choices open to you. If you live in an area that is particularly windy, then you might want to clear the site of all garden weeds each week because the wind will cause your plants to shed rubbish habitually. It is recommended that you clear out the dead leaves and other weeds each week for windy areas.
You then have to check your soil. You can conduct home tests to analyze the quality of your soil with DIY soil test kits. You can get these from any garden center. They help you to measure the pH in your soil. If your readings indicate pH above 7 then your soil has high alkalinity, whereas a reading below 7 is acidic. Almost all soil ranges between 5.0 and 7.50. If yours does not, that is ok. You can find plants that fit highly alkaline soils or acidic soil.
**Just a note: if you are buying your plants from a garden center or green house, you should check their labels for information on the pH preference. If there is none listed, the plants will do fine in neutral soil.
In addition to the pH of your soil, you should check the texture. Some soil is very heavy with clay, while other soil is sandy or rocky. The ideal texture is a sandy loam but if yours is not like this, it can be fixed with organic matter like compost.
Planting Your Borders
As you plant borders in your elegant garden you should incorporate low growing plants. Low growing plants can give you great ground cover and will soften up paved areas in your garden or straight borders. You should look for plants that are an average of 15 cm by 1m. You can grow taller plants if you plant them as low clusters first.
You can integrate rounded plants into your elegant garden escape. They can contrast a display and are the perfect fillers if you have extra space in a border or plant bed. Lavender shrubs are a great example of this, as is baby’s breath. .
You can plant something spiked to make an eye-catching lone figure. You can plan a cabbage tree or yucca and they will add a nice contrast to a dome plant.
Fruits and Vegetables
If you want to transform your garden into an elegant escape AND enjoy tasty fruits and vegetables fresh from your yard, consider planting some seeds in a container or bed. Be sure to place these containers on flat ground—or make a level area specifically for them. The reason you must do this is because an unleveled area will led to problems with erosion and water run-off.
If you want to create a vegetable garden in your luxury landscape, you must section off the plant bed and separate it via pathways. They can be small pathways but they must be pathways nonetheless. The reason being, you need to ensure that no one walks on the growing crops. If you can, run the beds from north to south so that all of your fruits and vegetables get the same sunlight every day.
Even a small garden can be an ideal location for some vegetables like tomatoes or green beans. Tomatoes or green beans are perfect for smaller yards because they can be strung up along a fence or trellis. But don’t let this limit you. Your vegetables can be placed throughout your new luxury garden. For instance, you might create a border around your center piece fountain with lettuce.
When You Should Plant
The best time to plant is a dry day. You want to ensure that all of the plants you purchase from a store are watered in their pots prior to planting them. Make sure you dig the hole for them before you take them out of the pot. If you don’t, the roots will dry out. When you pull the plant out of the pot, the roots may be tightly packed together. Use your hands to gently pull them apart, teasing them so that they can grow into the soil. When you bury the plant, it should be buried at the same height as when it was in the pot. If you do not bury it far enough, then the roots will stick out and will dry. When you place the plant into the ground, do not press it down too hard. If you are leaving your hand print in the soil then you are pressing too hard. Once they are planted, water will naturally settle them into place.
Elegant Social Gardens
If you want to create a social garden, one in which you can entertain all of your guests and your family, then privacy will be your main concern. The best way to give yourself and your guests’ privacy in your elegant social garden is to plant trees and climbers that form a screen. If you opt for trees, remember that placing them too close to your house or that of your neighbor is not good because the roots may eventually damage the foundation. However, you can place trees at the end of your garden and form a screen that does not hinder your view from your home.
You want to then create a seating area. You might start with a deck that has built in furniture. But bear in mind that the position of your deck and your outdoor furniture is important. If you plan to dine outside in your garden, then you need to measure the amount of shade and the amount of sunlight you get. That means keep track of where the sun falls and where the most warmth will be. When dining, most people prefer to be in the shade. If your yard is mostly sunny and there is no naturally shaded area, you can plant something that creates some shade, such as a row of tall bushes that will form a screen under which you can place your outdoor table and chairs.
If you plan to be outside with company, don’t just lay down grass and move on. Instead, plant things which are colorful and scented so as to attract butterflies or bees. Lavender is great for this. You might also plant climbers like a clematis armandii or something spiky which adds a bit of architectural flair like flax or palms.
Be practical about your design. If you want to include a dining area, it may be at the loss of a shed. That means that some of the gardening tools you have may no longer have a home. If this is the case, think practically: by seats or a table that have a lid on top which doubles as the bench or table top. Then you can store your garden tools underneath the chairs or tables and still keep your secret hideaway neat.
In terms of seating, look for comfort no matter what design you buy. Invest money in seat cushions so that when you bring guests outside, they have a soft place to sit and relax. The best part about seat cushions is that they can easily be thrown in the wash after use.
If you do create a deck outdoors, especially one which is raised, soften the edges visually. Don’t leave it protruding, instead, cover the borders with plants. The ideal plants are scented herbs or fresh herbs because they will not only soften the borders, but they smell great. And if you are cooking food outdoors, you can just pick some and sprinkle them on top!
As a finishing touch, consider trellises around the dining area. They have a very coordinated and neat appearance and can be fixed over a broken or old fence in lieu of replacing the fence. You can train a scented climbing plant such as jasmine up the trellis. This will provide your private escape with a wonderful aroma and look beautiful.
Elegant No Maintenance Gardens
While it would be ideal to have a no-maintenance garden, there is no such thing. However, you can create a very low maintenance garden. The key here is to create a space that is interesting enough in appearance and ambience that you will want to invite friends to join you, but contains plants and shrubs which are easy for which to care. Hard landscaping is one nice way to add interest based on changing levels and various materials, and you only have to prune the surrounding plants once per month and then sweep every so often.
Dividing your space is important. If you are not going to use the garden space for baseball games or a small soccer field, then you can divide it into small rectangular sections or choose the classic square sections. In order to keep things divided without making the spaces smaller you should select a simple design, change the materials used in each space, and add details through colors. You can soften the divisions between each section with small flowers or herbs. You can add shade and color, as well as height to your garden with tall translucent plants like verbena.
The verbena is also good because the nice color returns year after year. If you want something that has a similar shape to the verbena but is more permanent then you might want to consider bamboo. If you plant bamboo, it must be planted inside of containers that are sunk into your flowerbed. If you skip this step, the shoots will start appearing in the gravel directly outside of the flower bed or in between your paving.
If you want to add life to your low maintenance garden, the best way is through color. Color can be from the hard landscaping or from masonry, or perhaps a small circularly paved seating area with bright tiles. Whatever form, you should choose your colors with care. If you are creating a traditional space, then you want pale blues, greens, and creams. If you want a contemporary look the colors should contrast your natural surroundings. This means you should look for reds, blacks, grays, and purple. If you are unsure of the color you want in tile or furniture, you can take a swatch of that color and compare it to the garden. See what color works and what color doesn’t.
Sculpture and shape are also important. You can plant hedges in rows or in blocks and leave room for paving in between. This is a great way to add interest to your garden and is very low maintenance. You can buy young plants which you can then shape how you want. This will save you money and you only need to trim box hedging twice per year.
One nice trick for a garden that has minimal foliage is to pick a variety of heights. Plant your items separately but mix and match ground cover plants with trees.
Elegant Small City Gardens
If you have a small amount of space, that is not a problem. You can make a city garden that is useful, gives you privacy, and makes your small space feel much larger.
The design for a city garden needs to be well organized so that it delivers the stylish effect you want, but can still offer a degree of privacy, provide a handful of seating opportunities for your guests, and accommodate structural planting. The result will be a space that has a vibrant energy in which you can relax and social for years to come.
Seating is an important feature for a small city garden. In fact, the most significant feature for any small garden is an attractive table and matching bench set. The reason being: it becomes the inevitable focal point. This means it doubles as a place for seating and a structural device. This is why it must be as attractive as possible.
You can create neat screening with a row of olive trees or bamboo. This will form a strong structural presence and act as a boundary for your garden. The repetition created by a row of trees will screen adjoining gardens and creates a sense of harmony.
Low plants along a footpath or your seating area can offset the larger paved area in your city garden and will bring greenery closer to the part of the garden you use the most. For small city gardens you can put low-maintenance gravel surfaces in lieu of the traditional lawn. This will act as an additional seating area and if you retain the shape and the size of where a lawn would be placed you can maintain the balance of your garden. You can also blend stone paving with granite chips to provide variety in a low-maintenance space.
Elegant Sloping Gardens
If you have a sloping garden, your choices for an elegant getaway are limited. The trick with a slopping garden is to use levels and hard landscaping. The biggest challenge you will face in terms of design is to find a suitable theme and find the best plants for that theme. You can divide your greenery into “mini rooms” along the slope which creates levels in your garden. You can use terraces to create various levels. As you go up the slope or down the slope, you might consider making one level a dining area which will catch the last of the setting sun and then leave the other levels for a small pond or a row of plants. You can provide each terraced level with a distinct aesthetic flavor and still maintain strong planting with clipped boxes. These boxes will remain neat in appearance and will echo the strong lines of your slopping design.
A slopped garden will naturally draw the eye toward the top end. Therefore you want to make a local point that is aesthetically pleasing. This can be a bench placed beneath a small tree, a garden sculpture, or a table and chairs.
With a sloping garden you can add shapely plants like herbs, lettuces, spiky grasses, or box hedges to draw attention from the shape of your garden and toward mini garden rooms you design. Container gardening is often a suitable alternative for sloping gardens so that they are easy to reach. You should select one color and one material for your pots because it will heighten the neatness of your elegant design.
When you create different levels, designate a purpose for each. Zone one section of your terraced garden for dining, zone one for reading on a bench, and zone one for vegetables and herbs.
As with any sloping garden you will need steps. Make them more than practical. Make them an attractive feature of your garden. If you mix and match materials, just be sure that the steps can be safely walked upon when wet.
Elegant Rooftop Gardens
If you have a small rooftop garden that you want to turn into a verdant spot for entertainment and relaxation, consider the following: Hidden rooftop gardens are a great way for urban dwellers to re-connect with nature. However, the soil you will bring to a rooftop is often restricted to containers. Your plants and garden foliage will also be subject to unrelenting sun and wind exposure that it would not otherwise get at ground level. This means that your two biggest battles will be preventing desiccation and maintaining proper moisture levels.
Your rooftop garden can still be converted into an elegant escape by grouping your greenery and plants together to not only make the space very green visually, but to also helps them fight off the effects of the weather.
You can use vertical planting in the form of tall plants or containerized trees to surround the lateral views and the views of those overlooking your rooftop. These trees also provide shelter from winds.
Speaking of shelter, you want your seating area to be deliberately located in an area that gets the most shelter from the wind. You might also place the seats next to containers that you packed with scented herbs like lavender or rosemary. These will add to the impression that your rooftop garden is far from the city over which it looks.
Every plant must be placed in a container but these containers can be clustered together to provide a border. The best thing about container planting is that you can move the pots around until you find a combination that works best for your elegant garden. Another advantage to grouping your container plants is that they form a natural shelter against drying out, which means you don’t have to water them as often as you would if they were standing alone.
You can install a timber deck as an open space that is flexible in use and breaks up the overall composition of your rooftop garden. Timber decks are practical and lighter than concrete or stone which makes them an ideal material or a rooftop.
Elegant Contemporary Gardens:
If you are creating a contemporary garden that is still elegant in style and feel you need to ensure that your garden is practical and has a high end design. The garden should cater to your needs. This means offer a restful place for sitting and relaxing, creating shade to block out the harsh summer sunlight, and maybe even act as a source of food via herbs and vegetables you plan.
If you have children, or plan to entertain in your elegant garden, then you should have a desk. This is a practical place for dining, lounging, and playing, and is very low maintenance once installed. If you have a lawn that meets the edge of your deck, then divide the two areas and soften them with low plants. You can add interest via colorful foliage or select easy-care plants like flax.
If your garden overlooks an unsightly view, you can create a screen with tall plants. If your garden runs along the back of a road or a noisy footpath you can place tall plants along the border to deaden the noise. The best plants are ones which will not outgrow your garden space like cordylines or bamboos.
If your garden is busy, you can define the shapes with graphic patterns. These patterns will make the garden feel neater. You might consider using square slabs which are set in gravel, lined with small flowers to soften the border. This is easy to manage and adds visual interest to your elegant garden.
You will want to create a space for lounging. Whether you want to lounge in the sun or the shade, you will need to set up a hard surface on which to rest your outdoor furniture. If you place a lounge chair and table on your grass it will sink into the grass and then sit unevenly, or the grass will die underneath it. If you have an area that offers natural shade, use it. This is a bonus that not every garden has. If you have an area that is partially shaded, this is even better because you won’t have to move the chairs around throughout the day.
By edging the borders of your garden you can avoid having to trim your garden paths. You can instead use mulch on the borders. Mulch not only maintains the cleanliness of your plants, but it protects them from cold and sun, retains moisture in the soil, and inhibits the growth of weeds. It reduces your overall efforts tremendously.
You can plant low maintenance plants that have a variety of colors, scents, and leaf shapes. Be sure to pick plants that love the sun for sunny spots in your garden and plants that love shade for those border spots that never see sun.
Creating a small footpath with rocks or slabs of wood can ensure that your elegant garden is not being trodden down. If you have trees in your yard that you have been dying to get rid of consider this: cut them down but leave their stump and roots. You can convert this into a natural step over which a small stream or pond may be located.
Elegant Urban City Gardens
Many urban city gardens have unique shapes and sizes. The L-Shape is one of the most common. This shape can be challenging to work with because the view from the side return is often bland and the space is too small to place a deck or an outdoor room.
The first step is to define the spaces. Your goal in this elegant garden design is to create a garden that is full of interest in a very small space. Planting is the most obvious solution, but planting does take up quite a bit of room which means you should only plant items that act as architectural showpieces.
This leaves you with hard landscaping and changing the materials you use. You can create a quite space that is hidden from view, protected from wind, and can act as your seating area. No garden is complete without one. In awkwardly shaped gardens, you can add half-walls that will hug your outdoor benches or seating area.
For urban gardens, your design should be simple but make the most out of the space you have. This is where you can play with angles to add a great deal of detail. Try putting in a deck which runs in one direction and then add lines from a paved area that run in the other direction. The eye is naturally drawn to the lines and this plays a visual trick on your guests: it creates the impression that your garden is much longer than it is.
Pick plants that are in leaf all season. Because your space is limited, you want plants that will grow all year round. You can break up the landscape with paving or a small deck, or even a row of colorful shrubs or small trees.
If you have a fence you can paint it or stain it a bright color. White will make your small garden seem bigger and bright colors can show off the garden furniture you have or the plants you have. If you want to create a modern look, consider somber grey colors to contrast your plants.
Chapter Two: Plants
There are thousands of plants from which to choose when decorating your elegant garden. Some can hang while others can be planted in boxes or in the ground. Hanging plants require the most care and regular watering. So if you have the time to water them daily in the summer then there is no difference. The next best thing is to plant in a pot. Pots are good in the sense that it will give you the ability to put color anywhere regardless of you have dirt in your backyard or not. Beyond that, planting in the ground will offer the longest and healthiest plants in the long term. If you can put your greenery in the ground, that is best.
When you plant you can use planter boxes or hanging plants. Planter box should be composite wood not plastic because it will not rot. It should be filled as full as possible when you get it because it will settle to around one inch below the lip once it is watered. If you leave it too low it will settle too far down.
When you plant it is better to mix and match plants that bloom in different seasons. The reason being, you want a continuous palate of color so you want bulbs to come up in early spring and then summer flowers and then late bloomers. There are still some things which bloom in the winter but you definitely want to stage it so that something is in bloom in all time.
Generally speaking you are not going to get extreme color differences. Blue roses for instance are artificially dyed. They have been immersed in dye. You are limited to natural colors. Most flowers will come in white and go to the blue spectrum or they will come in white and go to the red spectrum. Flowers will not go in both directions. This is continually being worked upon so as to manufacture black roses which are dark red in actuality.
You can buy your flowers as seeds or as pre-started flowers. It is best to buy pre-started because it will save you time. When you search for pre-made flowers, you want to find a greenhouse or nursery. It you have a local nursery their selection will be better and their staff will be more helpful. Places like Home Depot which cater to all things will not have the expertise you need especially as a beginner. No matter where you go for flowers, when you buy the plant you want it to be blooming. But if all of the blooms are close to being spent then it won’t have a long bloom cycle once planted unless it is a plant which blooms continuously. Therefore careful selection makes a difference. You want to inspect the material to avoid diseased plants. It is best to read about diseases so as to avoid them.
When you create an elegant garden there are a handful of tools you will need to have:
The first is a spade shovel for planting. The second is a hand trowel. The third is a set of pruners. The fourth is a watering can if no watering system is in place.
The amount of plants you have should be based on the amount of room you have. If you plant too many plants they can choke each other out. You want to give everything room to mature and spread especially if you are planting new things. Do not plant things the day before an event and expect instant results. You want to plant low ground cover or trailing flowers in the front and as you move toward the back, plant the medium height items. As you move back you plant the tallest.
Top 5 Flowers to Buy:
The best selling flower is the impatiens. These come in every color but blue. These are small flowers that bloom almost continuously. They are low maintenance and somewhat fleshy in terms of their stalks which makes them easy to cut back. All you have to do if they become too leggy is pinch them off. They also self-sow which means once they finish blooming the seed pod (shaped like a football) will pop open and impatiently shoot the seeds out all over the place giving it its name. They are easy to cultivate and germinate regularly.
Petunias have been hybridized into what is called the “super tunia” which produces a large number of blooms. They are perfect for hanging baskets. Petunias come in every color now. They should be planted in the spring or the summer because they enjoy the heat.
Pansies are easy. Pansies are mostly French. They are a low growing plant which will spread lightly. The flowers are held up above the leaves and they are often the size of a half dollar. They have the classic black face in the middle and come in a variety of colors including orange, yellow, white, blue, pink, purple, and red. They thrive in the cooler months. They are one of the few flowers which cover the entire color spectrum. So if you want variety in terms of color then select pansies for your elegant garden.
Snapdragons grow upright and have a long bloom spike. These are not heat lovers so they work better in the cooler seasons like fall and winter.
Angelonia is a nice is a vertical flower that grows upward rather than out and has a lot of blooms in purple and pink or red colors. These can be planted in the spring.
Cut flowers like the Alstroemia or the Peruvian Lily—can be cut and the blooms will last up to ten days. They are much longer lasting than a rose and much less maintenance. So these produce a lot of blooms for very little effort. They are available in multiple colors including yellow and lilac and red. They can be planted any time of the year because they bloom from early spring through fall. It is a spreading plant that will work its way across your garden. If you want it to bloom greatly you can water it regularly. If you deny it water it will store the water in its root structure which causes the leaves to die off but once it is watered again the blooms will be restored.
Once you have decided on the plants you want in your elegant garden, you will need to take proper steps to control the foliage and keep the plants healthy. There are many steps to this.
The first is pruning and deadheading.
Pruning your plants and trees is the best way to encourage new growth and keep your plants shapely. Most plants will have a label to which you can refer for pruning instructions.
Never throw away these labels. They provide you with quite a bit of useful information about your plants. It is best to store them all together in a shed or drawer.
Try to identify all of the plants, shrubs, and trees in your elegant garden. This might mean taking photos and searching online or looking through a gardening book to find the right match. If you cannot pinpoint the exact plant then consider these basic rules:
Most flowering and fruiting plants need to be pruned between the late winter and the early spring. It is during this time that they are dormant. Some trees and shrubs which bloom in the spring will only do so once old blooms have fallen off. This means that you need to prune them shortly after they flower. There are a few plants, however, that require constant pruning and deadheading. This is why it is very important to identify the plants in your garden and follow their instructions for care.
Deadheading is simply pinching off the faded bloom on roses and other flowers. It will prevent the plant from using the energy to produce seed. It you do this then the plant has more energy to produce the flowers instead to moving to seed. This differs from pruning in that prune controls the shape and growth of any plant but deadheading is for flowers like roses and pansies.
The second is cutting trees.
If you have trees in your elegant garden you want to always make sure the branches are not hanging into your neighbor’s yard. You don’t have to cut them down if they do; you just have to remove those particular branches. Other than that, you only need to gather fallen fruit and dried leaves regularly to keep your elegant garden clean.
The third is treating diseases.
Every plant and every shrub and every lawn is prone to some disease and the last thing you want in your elegant garden is to sit down for a drink in the shade and notice dying leaves and mold on your flowers.
One disease is powdery mildew. This will grow on the surface of the leaves. It will thrive in dry soil conditions. Just like the name says, you want to look for powdery mildew coating the leaves. If you find it, you need to remove and destroy all of the parts of your plant which has been affected. In terms of organic treatments, you can use a dispersible sulphur spray or you can choose a fungicide which has penconazole.
The next disease is botrytis. This is also referred to as gray mold. It can be found on flowers that are kept in humid conditions. You will see a lot of grey, furry mold on the leaves, petals, and stalks. You can pick off any affected parts of the plant or reduce the humidity by improving air flow around the plants. You can try a lime sulphur treatment as well.
Another type of plant disease is clematis wilt. This will strike at large flowering plants. The signs are wilting and collapsing flowers with brown shoots hanging from the stems. In order to treat this, you have to remove the affected shoots. If the whole plant is suffering, then you must cut it all the way to ground level and then give it a good liquid fertilizer. You can speed up the healing process by spraying the surrounding soil with a fungicide which contains penconazole.
Damping-off disease is common in seedlings. It is often the result of contaminated water, poor circulation, over-watering, or dirty containers. You will see rot at the soil level and your seedlings will begin to collapse and lose the leaves. You can treat this by sowing the seeds in clean pots and good compost. Then dampen them moderately with fresh water. Be sure to allow for great ventilation. Also be careful that you do not sow the seeds too quickly. You can treat this disease chemically with copper-based fungicides.
Leaf spot is caused by bacteria and fungi and is a very common disease. You will see spots on the leaves in grey, black, or brown. You should immediately remove any affected leaves. This will reduce the likelihood of re-infection the next season. Prune back your shrubs and only water sparingly. Then use a fungicide with myclobutanil every two weeks throughout the season.
Safety when treating diseased plants:
When tending to diseased plants you need to ensure you are safe. You should have gloves and goggles if you are removing infected parts of your plant. You should wear a respirator when applying fungicides or pesticides so that you don’t inhale anything. There are not many restrictions for homeowners. If you can find the fungicide in a local store then it is suitable for your area. The biggest restriction is that you cannot use the same items on commercial properties that you can on residential areas.
When you are in need of pesticides or fungicides the best type to use are usually water-based chemicals. Sometimes there are powder forms available but they are tricky. Water-based chemicals are easier to measure and apply as a homeowner.
The fourth is treating pests.
Every garden no matter how elegant is prone to an invasion of pests. It is important to the foundation of your garden that these pests are removed safely and quickly.
Ants are a common pest problem in gardens, especially along plants, lawns, and fruit trees. They will create nests in sunny regions of your garden and while they conduct minimal damage to the actual plants, they are often a nuisance that will weaken the structure of your plants. You can dust around the plants with ant killer spray or powder. You can also try home remedies such as clove oil or mint. If you want to get very creative, you can create a mash from water and hot peppers and spread it along the problem areas.
Aphids, which are greenflies and blackflies, are a large problem because they will suck the sap from your plants and leave a residue that is conducive to spores. As soon as you spot these, use a greenfly insecticide. You can also create a home remedy by spraying diluted washing liquid. This causes them to suffocate because they breathe through the skin.
Bulb flies are small and will lay their eggs in the crown of your flower bulbs. These eggs then create maggots which feed on the inside of the bulb. It will leave the inside of the bulb empty and rotten. Your plants will be unable to produce more flowers or leaves after this. You can eliminate these flies with insecticides and water. After your plants bloom, you can also cover them with a light garden netting to stop them from laying their eggs.
The fifth is feeding your plants.
Plants require food. Many plants can drain the nutrients in your soil and if any of these nutrients begin to dwindle, the plant will begin to show signs of hunger. Lack of food will affect the plant’s ability to grow. This is why it is important to feed them.
Plants need potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus. Nitrogen helps the leaves to grow. Potassium helps to produce flowers and fruits. Phosphorus will aid in root growth. The plants will take what they need and no more, so you can simply add these items to the soil on a regular basis and promote a longer and healthier lifespan for your elegant garden.
You can buy controlled release plant food. This food comes in coated granules. As water enters these granules, the nutrients are released into your soil. The warmer the temperature of your soil, the faster these nutrients release. These granules are best for container plants. The amount of time required for the nutrients to release is in large part based on the thickness of the coating.
You can also buy slow release food which can be bought in stick or granule form. These can be mixed with compose and used in potted plants. But as the name suggests, they are slow releasing. If you need an instant boost for your plants, there are fast acting foods which can come in liquid form and are quickly absorbed by the roots of your plant. You can also purchase compound foods that have a mixture of nutrients. There are organic and non-organic versions.
Compost is a great way to dispose of household items and provide fuel for your garden. It is economical and perfect for any sized outdoor escape. Compost takes the garden and kitchen waste and naturally converts it into organic food that your plants need. Finished compost can be used on vegetable plots, flowerbeds, or planters. Compost also improves soil conditions, maintains moisture levels, and ensures a correct pH balance. It also helps to suppress diseases.
If you do opt to make compost from your waste products, you want to find a spot that is semi-shaded and not in plain sight. It should also be easily accessed and turned. Your compost heap should be moist but it should not be wet, so keep it away from rain. Also, avoid placing it near trees because their roots may work their way toward the compost.
Choosing Trees & Shrubs for Your Garden
Your garden space is like your little piece of heaven on earth. When you create your personal Eden, plant selection plays an important role in setting the mood for your space. Plant selection also determines how much maintenance you will have to perform on a regular basis. Selecting low maintenance plants will leave you more time to spend enjoying your garden and less time pruning and cutting.
Top 5 Low Maintenance Trees
These five trees are low maintenance, provide shade when they reach maturity, and many also provide colorful blooms and fruit during the summer season.
This tree will grow to a height of 20 to 30 feet at maturity, and it is a very versatile tree. Some pruning and maintenance is necessary during the early stages of growth, as it will branch out excessively. This tree can be grown as a dense group of trunks closely spaced together, or as a single trunk. The tree will grow with a naturally rounded shape, and its dense foliage provides an ample amount of shade.
This tree offers beautiful blooms and brightly colored fruit during the summer months. Growing to a height of around 20 feet and a width that is almost identical to the height, these trees offer shade as well as beauty. They flourish in sunny areas, so if your garden area is heavily shaded by larger trees, crabapple may not be a feasible choice for you. Also, the fruit produced by the tree will cover the ground around it when it begins to drop.
This is perhaps one of the most popular trees in America for decorative purposes. With beautiful white blooms that are the object of many photographs and paintings, the dogwood is a beautiful addition to any garden. These trees are relatively low maintenance and will grow to a height of 25 to 35 feet at full maturity.
This is a native tree in North America, and is very attractive. It provides gorgeous foliage throughout the year. Once the white blooms drop off, a bright orange or red fruit will maintain an appearance throughout the winter months.
This tree offers a beautiful appearance year round. However, there is no spectacular color change associated with the fall season when the leaves begin to drop off. It has wide leaves that provide dense foliage, and a graceful figure that is unmatched by other trees. At maturity these trees are often wider than they are tall, and lower branches may actually touch the ground.
Top 5 Low Maintenance Shrubs
Here is a look at 5 hedges that will add character to your garden space without increasing your workload exponentially.
*Oak leaf Hydrangea-
This amazing shrub offers beauty that is almost unmatched. Its large white flowers turn to a pink color as they age, which contrasts with the green foliage of other trees and shrubs around it. The foliage of the plant turns to red during the fall and the winter months are not strong enough to cause the plant to drop its white blossoms.
This shrub offers vibrant yellow and green color during the summer months. It can be maintained to appear very formal, or it can be allowed to grow wild and will reach a height of about 5 feet. In the fall, the foliage of this shrub will begin to change colors, gaining a red edge and yellow center.
*Purple Smoke Bushes-
These shrubs have stems that grow almost perfectly straight, making them the perfect border plant. They require little maintenance, other than pruning, and offer vibrant color.
Although technically a groundcover bush, this amazing plant grows to nearly three feet in height and 5 feet in width. The beautiful leaves are green with white edging, and the white turns to pink in the fall for an added bonus.
*Blue Star Juniper-
Junipers are a favorite among evergreen shrubs, and this one is perhaps one of the best choices. This shrub is a little more expensive than other juniper bushes, but it is also a very consistent plant with beautiful needles. The needles will take on a slightly white appearance during the colder temperatures of the winter months.
Planting Your New Trees & Shrubs
Every tree and shrub is different, so be sure you consult with a landscape artist or your plant dealer when you make your purchases. Certain types of trees flourish when planted during the winter months, while others require the warmer temperature and soft rains of spring to begin their growth cycle. Consulting with an expert about each particular type of plant you will be using in your garden is wise. Many counties have an agricultural agent who can give you information on specific plants. They can tell you when the best time to plant each one will be.
Watering Your New Plants
Freshly planted trees and shrubs will require some care and maintenance until their root systems begin to take hold in their new environment. Be sure you understand what each type of plant you are using will require in terms of water, so that you don’t over water and drown them. You also want to be sure not to starve them for moisture, especially in hot or dry climates, as this can also cost you your investment.
When you select plants for your garden, inquire about your selections to ensure they flourish in your climate, and also ask if there are any special precautions you should take when watering them. Avoid watering during the heat of the afternoon, as much of the water will simply evaporate, leaving your plant dry and thirsty. Watering at night or in the early morning is the best way to ensure your trees and shrubs get the moisture they need.
Tips for Caring for Your Trees & Shrubs
Aside from watering there are other things you can do to help protect your trees and shrubs. Selecting plant food that is specially formulated for the plants you are growing is one way to ensure they receive the nutrients they need, especially if your soil is not especially fertile. Be sure you don’t overdose them with food, as this can actually cause serious damage to the biologic structure of the plant. Also, if possible, use organic fertilizer over chemical plant food. This does less damage to the environment and poses less of a health risk to you and your family.
You now have some great ideas for selecting your new trees and shrubs for your garden space. These plants all have different attributes and you can use one of them to accent your garden or mix and match to create different areas that really make your garden attractive and elegant. The key is to select plants that do well in your climate and plant them in areas where they will flourish. There are thousands of options besides those covered here, so feel free to search for the perfect match for your personal taste.
Cultivating a Healthy Lawn
For many, a lawn is the center piece of a garden. However, an unsightly lawn that reeks of neglect will taint your otherwise spectacular escape. Whether you are laying your lawn with seed or turf, you want to ensure you give it the best care.
The first thing you have to do when you are preparing for a new lawn is to begin in the spring or the fall. The month of April is the ideal time for spring while September is best for fall. You need to have between 8cm and 15cm of top soil. You should dig around the area where your lawn will be, loosening the dirt and removing any weeks. Then take a rake over the surface and make it a fine and even layer. Get rid of any roots or stones. Then treat the area in order to get rid of soft spots. Once this is done you should place a layer of fertilizer down.
If you use turf instead of seeds you will get faster, almost instant, results, but it will cost more and will require more work. If you are laying down turf, you need to measure the square feet or meters, depending on where you are. Buy at least 5% more turf than what your final measurement is so that you can shape everything perfectly. As soon as your turf is delivered from a garden or landscaping center, you should lay it down within 12 hours.
As you lay it down you want to work along the edges. Lay the first piece along one edge. Then lay the next piece right where the first piece ends. Push the rolls together tightly and if there is any gap, fill it with loose soil. If you have hard edges, cut around them using a knife. The new lawn should stick over the edge of the space (i.e. stretching to the adjoining walkway or sideway) just a bit when you begin. You can cut holes in the turf to fit around things like sprinkler heads or a concrete statue. Once this is done, wait a few days and then use a lawn mower to make a nice trim so that everything is cut back where you want it.
If you are laying seed, you must purchase 35g of seed per square meter. Scatter the seed evenly along the designated area. Scatter it half in one direction and the other half at right angles. This will provide you with a uniform spread. Once this is done, rake over the area lightly until the seeds are worked into the soil. Water it during dry area and protect it from wildlife and birds while the grass is still growing. It is best to mark off the area with wooden markers at the corners and some tape around the perimeter so that no one accidentally steps on it.
Chapter Three: All Things Water
Everything you have in your garden will need to be watered on a regular basis. Some plants may require more water than others.
Irrigation is incredibly important for your elegant garden. Irrigation is used to maintain your garden during times that rainfall may be inadequate. There are various forms of irrigation. The first is surface. Surface irrigation is moving water across your garden in a natural manner with gravity. Others call this flood irrigation. The second type is localized irrigation. This uses piped networks of water to distribute low pressure water across a pre-determined area in a pre-determined pattern. The subsections of localized irrigation include bubbler irrigation, drip irrigation, micro-sprinkler irrigation, or spray irrigation. Drip irrigation uses trickling water delivered straight to the roots of your plants. This is often the best way to distributing water with a low rate of evaporation and low rate of runoff. You can combine this irrigation method with plastic mulch in order to reduce evaporation and simultaneously deliver fertilizer. You can use press emitters to regulate the pressure of your water so as to spray every area of the garden at the same time. This is ideal for sloped gardens. If you have patio potted plants then a drip system is best. But drip systems are not an efficient way to handle your landscaping. If you have sparse shrubs then a drip system is fine.
Sprinkler irrigation is perfect for most residential homes. It pipes water through overhead sprinklers that are mounted to rotors. These rotors can be designed to rotate the water in full circles or in partial circles. You can now install the sprinkler systems under your lawn so that it evenly distributes. If you have a lush garden you need in ground sprinklers which are a minimum of 12 inches because shorter and pop up sprinklers are blocked almost immediately by any plants.
You can use electronic systems to automatically set the time. You can water your garden automatically at night or in the early morning so as to reduce the likelihood of evaporation.
Water features can transform your elegant garden into a place of relaxation and an inviting social scene through sight and sound. You can integrate garden water features or water lilies for small ponds. Anything is possible.
Some artistic water fountains can be created with stacked stone. You can use stacked stone to make the size and shape you want for a patio or courtyard fountain. If you want a natural look for your water feature, try to hide the technical aspects of the water feature. Add whimsical seating around a classical fountain to provide a European style. If you prefer an Asian design, consider a small, remote-controlled water fall. For small gardens a fountain is all you need.
Waterfalls and ponds use a lot of electricity. It can cost between 50 and 100 dollars each month for operation. So if you run it all day you will spend hundreds in electrical. But if you have a fountain that is set on a timer those are fairly low budget. Ponds are great but if you put fish in them the water will always be green because it will fight the algae. If it is a water feature without fish you can chlorinate it like a swimming pool. A pond is a bit more work than a swimming pool. It requires a plastic liner, rocks, decoration around the shoreline, etc…If you create a pond, you can make the walls with stone and mortar and use butyl liner.
You can select a water garden pump that fits any size. You can use plastic liners to create flexible wall liners. You can add sand to adjust a floor and find fountain statuaries and tubing. The finished look can be achieved via ornamental features, plants, or rocks. You may want to include a patio style water feature, a pot style feature, a statuary feature, or a tiered feature. You can use any materials you want including glass and mirror, black onyx, stainless steel, marble, copper, or slate.
Bear in mind that a small water feature can cost only a few hundred dollars. There are pre-made irregularly shaped small ponds at garden stores which you can put into the ground. Unless you have a lot of room you won’t want to put in a pond or stream.
Chapter Four: Decks, Patios, and Outdoor Rooms
Decks are a very flexible part of any elegant garden. They can incorporate plants and ponds. Don’t limit yourself to a flat structure. Instead incorporate trellises and stairs and other fun items for your deck.
There are many ways to position your deck. One popular choice is a deck which extends from the house so as to create an instantly accessible outdoor area. You should try and make sure that the level of your deck matches the room from which the deck leads. This makes the transition from indoors to outdoors seamless.
If you have a garden on a slope than a deck is a practical means of making otherwise unusable space into a practical area for seating. You can create a deck on one or two different levels for steep slopes. You can position your deck where it best suits you. Observe where the sun hits your garden during the day so that you can avoid installing a deck which is too hot or too cold during the day. Your deck can be a small area equipped for two chairs or a multi-leveled structure that wraps along the expanse of your home. The choice is up to you!
The size of your deck will be influenced by the purpose you have in mind for your deck. You might want to use your deck for a hot tub or for build in seating with a pond. You may want multiple decks such as one top deck for seating and a BBQ and then a deck below it for a dining table or for a hot tub. Ideally the deck should not constitute the whole of your elegant garden. Instead it should be used as a zone for dining and seating while the rest of your garden is intended for a lawn or planting.
Your deck should be constructed from a suitable timber. Timber can be durable softwood or very durable that has been pressure treated. You can also install smooth or ribbed boards. There are grooved versions that you can install which are designed to drain water quickly. These boards often come with non-slip inserts which you can place on stairs. As the timber is exposed to weather the color will change. You can treat the wood with a water-repelling coating or you can stain it.
Once you have the deck installed you can make it part of your garden with plants. Plants along the edge of your deck either in pots or plant beds will soften the edge of your deck and make it one with the elegant garden. If you install a raised deck then you will want plants and planters that match the scale of the deck. If you have a large deck that is raised by more than a few inches you might consider small trees or palms.
If you want to soften the lines of your deck you can make a pergola or trellis part of the deck. By incorporating planting into your deck it seamlessly blends your elegant garden. If you use deck squares you can leave one out here or there and replace it with a mini flower bed. If you have a large deck you can interrupt areas of it with beds of boldly colored flowers or shapely shrubs.
Creating the Perfect Outdoor Area: How to Design Your Patio
Summertime means outdoor cookouts, pool parties, and concerts. However, these outdoor parties can be made much more fun with the addition of a patio to your home. Patios add functionality, accessibility, and beauty to your home and with a wide variety of materials to choose from you can completely customize your new patio to meet your needs.
Size Matters: Design Your Patio Accordingly
Choosing how large to build your new patio should not be a tough decision to make. You simply need to know exactly what you plan to use the patio for, and how many people you want to accommodate. If you simply need a place to set up your grill for cookouts, and not necessarily a place for seating, then a small space such as eight feet by eight feet would work. However, if you plan on hosting large parties, then you will need more space to accommodate your guests.
It’s wise to consult with a professional contractor who has experience in building decks and patios for this part of your project. Someone who builds these structures for a living can help you decide how much space you need, based on what you plan to use it for. They can also make suggestions on how the patio should be laid out, in order for it to be accessible and easy to use.
Beautiful Lines: Beautifying Your Patio through Stunning Visual Design
One important part of the design process for your new patio is choosing the shape. Often it is tempting to simply have a rectangle or square patch of concrete poured behind your home and call it good. However, there is so much to be said for an attractively designed patio. Squares are out and beautiful patios with rounded lines and easily accessible sections are in.
When you decide on a shape for your patio, consulting with a contractor is once again a good idea. The contractor can help you plan your entire layout, including placement of your grill and furniture. This will help ensure that you have enough space on your new patio, as well as helping make it easily accessible.
If you have a pool, extending your patio to include the area around it not only increases your area, but also makes your pool much more accessible. You can allow the shape of your patio to differ from the outline of your pool, adding a very nice contrasting effect to your yard.
Beauty & Durability: Which Material Offers Both?
There is a wide variety of materials available to build patios, and this variety also leads to questions regarding the best choice. With concrete being a favorite material, due to its durability and the ability to customize its color, we often forget there are other viable options available. Here is a look at some of the more popular choices for patio construction in the United States.
Advantages: Durable, strong, and easily customizable, this medium is one of the most common choices for patio design. It can be colored prior to mixing, or painted once it is dry, and it will outlast many other mediums.
Disadvantages: Concrete is relatively expensive, and can only be poured in fair weather. If it is raining, or extremely cold, then pouring concrete is a bad idea.
Advantages: These are another popular option for patios. The ease of designing a pattern with pavers makes them an attractive option. They are also relatively affordable, with some being priced as reasonably as one dollar each.
Disadvantages: The site for paving stones must be leveled and prepared perfectly. Each one must be placed with equal space from those around it, and that gap should be filled with sand or concrete to prevent the paver from moving. Even a slight hump in the surface of the site will cause your paving stone to wobble and be uneven.
Advantages: This is another popular choice for patios, simply because they offer a sturdy platform and attractive color choices. The ability to design patterns with bricks often leads to very beautiful patios.
Disadvantages: This is another option that requires perfect site preparation, as each brick needs to fit snugly with those around it. If the site is not perfect the bricks will not hold their position.
*Rubber Patio Pavers-
Advantages: This is a material that is quickly becoming popular due to the fact that only minor preparation is required to the site.
Disadvantages: The cost associated with these pavers can be quite high, depending on the style purchased.
Advantages: For a patio that will not hold much furniture, gravel is an attractive choice. Available in multiple colors, sizes, and styles, gravel will allow for a patio of any shape or size and is fairly affordable when purchased by the truckload.
Disadvantages: If the patio will be used for dining, gravel does not allow for a sturdy surface for furniture. Gravel can be very uncomfortable to walk on, and when it rains, if there is no plastic liner under the gravel, mud can wash up through the stones.
Each of these materials has positive and negative attributes, and you will have to choose how to best approach your project. One of the most important parts of planning your patio is knowing which material will be best to use.
Decorative Concrete: Beautifying a Patio with Color
As concrete is perhaps the most popular choice for patios, it is only fair to dig a little deeper into the many ways it can be utilized. With the use of color, concrete can be made into one of the most beautiful mediums for patio creation.
Concrete stains are perhaps the most common method for beautifying a concrete patio. These are available in a wide variety of colors and can be applied by an amateur. You can use these to create a single color layer on your concrete, or mix and match to create a completely customized appearance.
The color options for stains are almost limitless, with new colors being advertised almost every season. Red, green, gray, and blue are a few basic colors, with some kits containing detailed instructions on mixing and matching to create custom looks, such as a faux marble finish.
Paint is another way to alter the basic appearance of plain concrete. With almost any color imaginable, paint offers the ability to decorate your new patio, or spruce up your existing one.
Designing and building your own patio can be a daunting task. Consulting with a contractor could help save you time and money, as well as improve your design. Be creative when designing your patio and let your own personal taste shine through.
A stylish outdoor room is a unique hideaway for any elegant garden. In its most basic form, an outdoor room offers a shelter from unpredictable weather. You can create a semi-enclosed or fully enclosed space in which to serve drinks or hors d’oeuvres.
The structure does not need to be complex. In fact, it can be very simple.
You can find any sized structure to fit your needs. A basic, G-box offers a variety of doors and windows and is pre-wired electrically. The cost for the complete room is roughly forty five thousand dollars. You can create a spa type room with saunas that let in the natural sunlight during the day, or you can make it a greenhouse room.
In order to add value to your property with an outdoor room in the elegant garden the room must have power, and remain warm and dry especially for the winter months. But of course, the more elaborate the outdoor room, the more you will need to plan and the higher the cost.
Be honest with yourself before you start making the plans and looking at different rooms.
Is there space in your elegant garden for an outdoor room or will it take up the majority of your yard?
Remember that an elegant garden is more appealing to potential buyers than an outdoor sauna room that takes up ninety percent of the lawn. You can of course, invest in a temporary structure that can be moved from time to time. Most people install these rooms along the bottom of their garden. However, if the bottom of your garden lines a road, you may need to seek special permission.
If you opt to place it in the center of your garden, it might look odd as the focal point unless you complement it with landscaping.
If you place it somewhere that is in the shade, prepare for the room to get cold and install a form of heating and lighting to compensate for no natural light.
Some outdoor rooms have an EC SmartGlass glaze that will change from clear glass to black in order to improve the UV protection and reduce glare. It can transform from clear to black in a matter of minutes.
Some low maintenance outdoor rooms have a grass roof which is eco friendly and keeps the costs for cooling and heating on the inside relatively low.
Practically speaking, you may need plumbing and electrics inside of this outdoor garden escape which will need to be connected to the facilities inside of your home. You may also need under floor heating if you plan to spend a lot of time in the outdoor room or a surface heater if you only plan to visit periodically.
In terms of light, keep the furniture light in color and construction. Heavy furniture will seem out of place. Also, the more windows for your outdoor room, the better, especially if it is in the center of your elegant garden escape.
Chapter Five: Accessories
Elegant gardens do not just happen. Sadly, throwing out a few seeds and waiting a few months will not help you produce that amazing Eden on your property. There is a lot of time, planning, and labor involved in creating the perfect garden.
To get started on your planning process you will need to do some research and decide what type of decorations you want to use. Gazebos, pergolas, and wooden walking paths all offer their own unique charm. Let’s look at a few decorations and how they can be used to beautify your property.
Walkways Increase Accessibility
Adding walkways to your garden will offer more than one advantage. The first and most obvious advantage is the fact that your garden will become more accessible to you and your guests. By adding wooden walkways to your garden, you increase your ability to move from location to location without stumbling over uneven ground.
You also help set the accessibility of your guests through the use of walkways. By letting your guests know to stay on the walkways when you have a party, you can help protect any rare or valuable plants you may have planted near them. This limits the access your guests have to your garden, thus protecting your investment.
Another benefit to having wooden walkways throughout your garden is that it can be made accessible to wheelchairs. If you have friends or family members who are confined to a wheelchair, offering them the ability to enjoy your garden is an awesome way to help them enjoy an evening out.
Choosing the material to build your walkways is something you will want to consider carefully. Exotic hardwoods make a much more durable choice than pine or other softwood. They also offer beautiful color patterns and amazing grains. Composite decking is a viable, although very costly option as well. Choose your material carefully, as this will become a major part of your garden.
When you create garden paths, play around with scale. You can place giant, round pebbles into your lawn to give a fun look. Instead of placing a straight and long path, place the large pebbles in a snaking shape. You can buy these at any landscaping or garden center.
The best low maintenance path for your elegant garden, which looks great all year round, is a grass path. You can cut squares into your lawn—but keep the space of these squares as wide as your lawnmower is—and then plant decorative grasses into the squares. Each of these squares can be finished with a nice lawn edging.
For contrast, place large black pebbles as the pathway and surround them with white gravel. It can show off your planting in a stylish manner. The best effect though, is to plan something like flax around the path or ornamental grass like black grass.
Don’t let your elegant garden become boring. Instead, add angles. You can create an angular pathway to bring some eye-catching detail into your garden. Try a snaking shape or a zig zag shape that works its way around your flower beds. Border these paths with wood or stone. You can even contrast the color of your edging with a different color pebble. If you want a natural look then you can use bark chips or wooden edging. The nice thing about detailing flower beds with geometrically shaped paths is that it allows you to reach all of your plants for watering or tending, and also adds something special to the aesthetics of your garden.
You can use something seasonal for the times you will spend in the garden the most. If you use the garden mostly in the spring/summer for reading and enjoying a glass of lemonade, plant a swathe of blue tulips so that you have a river of bluebells or tulips.
Don’t forget to use your senses. Place plants along your path that will release a scent as you brush by them. Lavender or rosemary bushes are a great way to add color and a highlighted scent to your elegant garden.
Using Furniture to Help Create an Elegant Garden Space
Shrubs, flowers, and exotic plants are not the only things to consider when planning your garden getaway. You will also want furniture that accents the area and adds beauty to your design.
When it comes to garden furniture, there are many different styles and materials to choose from. Understanding what each of these styles and materials offers is a necessary part of the research involved in designing that amazing hideaway you’re planning to build.
Here are some of the more popular styles available on today’s market for garden furniture:
* Wicker- This type of furniture has been documented as far back as early Egyptian civilizations, and is a popular choice for gardens everywhere. This furniture often comes in either unfinished or a white paint coating, depending on your personal preference.
* Wrought Iron- This type of outdoor furniture is often used in public parks and other high traffic areas, as it is very durable. Wrought iron pieces today are often made with steel, rather than kiln blasted iron. However, the love affair with wrought metal furniture that began in the early 19th century has carried on into the 21st century.
* Exotic Hardwood- Tiger wood, Ipe, and Garapa are just a few of the exotic woods used in the manufacture of decks, boathouses, and outdoor furniture. These woods are known for their extreme hardness, durability, and beautiful coloration.
* Plastic- Often much less expensive than the other options listed above, plastic furniture provides an affordable option for almost any budget.
Each of the type of furniture listed above can be found in a variety of styles and sizes. With wrought iron often reminiscent of the 19th century, it is often used in historical parks and gardens. Many homeowners also prefer this type of furniture, as it ties in well to other decorations, such as fencing or statues made of metal. Wicker is a favorite for comfort, as the chairs and couches are usually made slightly oversized and large pillows can be used as padding. Plastic furniture is available in a large variety of colors, from green and red, to white. The ability to purchase so many different colors makes plastic a very versatile choice. The exotic hardwoods offer an amazing combination of beauty and durability. The rich color tones, extreme contrasts, and high durability of these woods make them a favorite among almost all homeowners.
Protecting your garden furniture is perhaps the most important thing to remember after you purchase it. If it is made from a soft wood, such as pine or fir, then you will want to ensure that you either bring it inside before it rains, or seal it with a high quality water seal, like Thompson’s. Wicker furniture should not be left outside unless it has been treated with a water sealant, or painted with oil based paint. Both of these types of material are susceptible to rot and heavy weathering over time, so you should take measures to protect them.
Wrought iron is not quite so susceptible to weather. The only issue it presents in regard to weathering is the fact that damp weather will cause it to rust. If you have a certain color in mind for your wrought iron furniture, you can treat it with Rust-O-Leum. This is a spray paint that is specially formulated for metal and outdoor products. It comes in a wide variety of colors and is readily available at most hardware stores.
Plastic is perhaps the simplest type of furniture to care for. There is no need to waterproof this furniture, as it is designed not to hold water. It is advisable that you don’t leave plastic furniture in direct sunlight every day, as the color will begin to fade.
Exotic hardwoods do not require a water sealant. These woods are extremely dense, and are specially equipped to handle water without becoming saturated. You can use a sealing oil to keep the wood looking fresh and new, but simply keeping the furniture clean should be a good start on maintaining the beauty of the wood.
Once you have decided on the material for your furniture, you will need to determine how many pieces you will need. Outdoor furniture can often be purchased in several forms, including chairs, loveseats, gliders, and swings. These will normally seat between one and three people. When you plan your garden, you always want to ensure you have extra seating for guests, so take the number of people in your home into account, and then select the pieces that will best meet your needs in terms of seating arrangements.
Now you have a good base of knowledge regarding what types of furniture are available to help you really design a beautiful garden spot. Which pieces do you think will be the most beneficial to you? Wicker makes a great option if you want affordability and durability. The wrought iron and exotic wood offer s a touch of class that is a step up from everyone around you. If you want simple, yet attractive furniture, you can always select an easy to place plastic set.
One other tip concerning how to create the perfect garden getaway is to create a small patio. Using bricks, landscaping stones or tiles to design a small patio in your garden is an excellent way to ensure that your furniture is on a level area. You can also accent the area around the patio with a gazebo or pergola for added elegance.
The main thing to remember when tackling this task is that this is your space. You need to have a plan of action before you begin working on the project. This will help you set a budget and a timeline for completion. Having set goals of how much to spend and how long you will work will help you complete the garden sooner.
Make your plan, and then stick to it. Purchase only the items that fit within your budget. Lay out your furniture and plants in a manner that you find to be attractive and easy to access. The arrangement of your plants and furniture is the key to making your garden absolutely breathtaking. Set your furniture up in such a way as to display the attractive design. Also remember to have a nice view while sitting in the furniture.
Select the Perfect Lighting Option
One of the most important accessories you will want to decide on for your garden is an outdoor lighting system. The choice of how to light your garden at night will be what sets the mood for outdoor dinner parties, romantic walks, and any other activities you pursue in the evening hours.
Your lighting should help you create an atmosphere, as well as provide illumination. For a party feel Japanese lanterns are a great choice. These lights are easily affordable, and provide a festive atmosphere to almost any outdoor space.
For a more romantic atmosphere individual torches might offer just enough light to walk by, but not enough to ruin the mood. These are relatively cheap to purchase and maintain. However, if you’re concerned about fire hazards, then these might not be the best choice for you.
If you have a deck, bridge, or wooden walking trail in your garden, then lighting that is built in to the railing system might just be the perfect choice. This type of accent lighting provides just enough light to illuminate the walking space without ruining the evening’s atmosphere.
Whatever your choice for lighting, be sure you install it properly. Follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions regarding safety and installation. If you’re not certain about how to do anything, call an electrician and save yourself what could be a shocking experience.
Adding the Final Touches
Now that you’ve decided on a lighting system, you need to begin choosing other accessories for your amazing garden area. Items such as bird baths, statues, and bird houses make excellent additions to almost any garden, and the styles are almost limitless in scope. These items will be the final pieces to complete the mood of the space you’re designing, so choose carefully.
Statues are a very popular item in many upscale gardens. Ancient kings and queens often had likenesses of heroes, gods, and animals in their gardens, and the time honored tradition still holds appeal today. If you have a pond, there are likenesses of men and little boys holding fishing poles which will make a nice addition. Metal statues of men and beasts are available as well.
Once of the more overlooked areas of artwork involving statues is the modern field of metal art. Abstract statues created out of what would otherwise be scrap metal; often add an imaginative flair to your garden. These items can be found online and in many local metal shops. These pieces can be fun, attractive, and they definitely make great conversation pieces.
Whatever your choices for accessories, whether medieval sculptures or abstract metal art, your statues should help carry the theme of your garden. Remember, you are creating a private haven from the world, and the object is not to fill it up with items, but rather to simply add items that make you feel comfortable with the space.
Build a Bridge to Add Charm
If you have creeks or streams in your garden, then the addition of walking bridges is a must. These add atmosphere and character to your garden spot. Exotic hardwood is a great choice for these structures as well, as it is nearly impervious to weather and water damage. Adding a bridge to your walking trails will definitely help you create an elegant mood, while also offering even more functionality to your walking trails.
Goldfish ponds are another great place to add bridges. With a walkway spanning your pond, you can look down into the water from above and watch the fish swimming. This can provide hours of entertainment for children, as well as relaxation for adults.
Your garden will become your Eden, a place to escape the world. This means that you should choose accessories that help you relax, add beauty to your property, and make your garden as accessible as possible. From lighting to walking trails and bridges, each choice you make will help set the tone for the entire garden. Choose products that are durable, attractive, and that work to help you create your own elegant garden.
Overall, an elegant garden may not spring up overnight, but it can happen. So long as you plan accordingly and use your space wisely you can enjoy the perfect garden getaway. By following these five simple steps you can cultivate the elegant garden of your dreams in a matter of weeks. You will have that perfect escape for reading and sipping tea on a hot summer day or outdoor entertainment area where you and your loved ones can catch up on family stories. You can combine fast growing, smaller trees like camphor tree and combine it with low ground cover and watch as the blossoms unfold each season to bring you bright colors and wafting scents of fresh herbs. You can set up a nice bench for reading and lay a decorative multi colored pea gravel for a pathway on which to walk to your bench. This is more durable than bark so long as you make sure you have a composite bin to line it. This ensures that it won’t deteriorate. Remember that you are only limited by your imagination (and sometimes your budget). You can modify your home using the visual area afforded to you. You can shape the natural elements in your garden and install water features or structures. You will mix creative design with observation to produce a garden that exudes aesthetic appeal and practicality. You can contribute to your property value while adding artisan specialties, plant palettes, orientation, focal points, and spatial development. What results is an elegant garden as unique as you. Be selective about angles, colors, and shapes so that you have a yard that is truly personalized and awe-inspiring.