Off Season Activites

Designing in the off season

Lantana potm 1 my landscape designThe countdown to spring has begun and I for one can’t wait till the warmer weather is here. I know this is difficult to think about when you may be out plowing a foot of new snow off your driveway and walks, but hang in there spring is coming.  We had just a few warm days and already I’m thinking about my gardens.  There are several gardening related activities that can be done in February and March.

One of the most important….is the planning process. 

designing in the off season blog 2 my landscape designPlanning what, you may ask?  Well several things, first of course, is your landscape.  You may have a certain area that you want to landscape this year so while you’re inside thinking about all the possibilities, let me explain the process so you can start your landscape design.  A few things you will need, some sort of measuring tape, graph paper, and a scale or ruler.  Now some are savvy enough to use a computer for their drawings but you still will need to know the dimensions of the space you will be landscaping.

  •  First measure the length of the bed you need. Then decide on the width. This will give you a total square footage of the bed.  Now that is easy if you are dealing with straight lines.  Most beds have curves, so I tend to “square up” the bed as best as I can.  You know, take a little from here and add a little there so the bed appears square.  The good news is, it is not an exact science, so you just need to be as close as possible.  There are two main reasons for knowing the total square footage of the bed.  First it will help you calculate the amount of soil and mulch that the new bed will need.  And the second reason will help you determine the number of plants you will need.
  • Note how much sun or shade there is and if there are any windows or architectural features to work around. Now you are ready to add plants.
  • Always draw plants at their maturity.  Confusing I know.  But check the plant profile and it will give you a how tall and how wide the plant will get.  The "how wide" is what you’re looking for.
    • Designing in the off season blog 1a my landscape designNow if a plant matures at 4’ wide then each plant should be drawn 4’ wide in your bed.  That is where graph paper comes in handy.  Usually the graph paper is one square equals one foot.  So each square can equal one foot.  If your plant is 4’ wide than you need a circle that is 4 squares across.  By using scaled symbols for plants you will know how many plants your bed will need just by your drawing.  Use a different symbol for each plant and label each plant so you will know where each plant goes.
  • Always choose plants you like but make sure they are compatible with each other in the same area.  Don’t use a Cactus and an Azalea together one or the other will not survive.

designing in the off season blog 3 my landscape design final

Have fun and start drawing and dreaming about spring, it will be here before you know it!