Everyone’s favourite month January is over (few!) and the ground is now ready for digging.
I have spent the last few weeks looking at different plants, seeds and bulbs for the garden and allotment and working on plans and designs. The plan for the allotment is to have designated beds for growing roughly 10ft x 4ft. The design for our back garden (I am leaving the front garden to look after itself for now!) needs more planning with the flowing main things to consider:
* soil type and drainage – to know which plants will be happy where.
* shape and size – we are lucky to have a south facing, square (so relatively simple) back garden but the first thing I did was to work out how the shape of the garden will affect all the different aspects and how the shape will determine the size and position of the flowerbeds.
* lawn space – there need enough space for Rex and our dog Puzzle to run around.
* Current trees and large shrubs – how these will affect the new garden design and all future plants and shrubs.
* Preexisting structures – we currently have a large shed, a very large oil tank, decking plus border fences and concrete wall at the bottom of the garden. I want to work with what we already have but plan ways to conceal and soften aspects of the garden that could be a bit of an eyesore!
* Compost area – not only would I like to use my own compost I need an area to put all the garden waste and debris.
* Seating – how to utilise this space and incorporate it into the garden.
* green house – I plan to have a temporary greenhouse and DIY cold frame so they need to be in a sunny sheltered spot.
The main consideration for all of the points above is light. How much sun will each area of the garden get and how will this change from one season to the next. There is no point having a seating area in a part of the garden that will be in shade all year round. Ideally I would like to grow flowers and have different foliage throughout the year so knowing which plants will be best suited to the right bed is really important. I also needed to be aware of the eventual size of any potential shrubs so started with how I wanted the back of the border to be, thinking of how to add hight and depth with evergreen climbers to cover the wall and fences.
Once I had worked out the direction of each aspect of the garden I picked plants I knew would either like shade for the North facing bed and plants that would be best suited to face the east, west and south. I chose rampant climbers for the shed and oil tank. The next thing I focused on was colour. I love putting different palettes together but there is so much to consider when planning the planting for the beds. Which plants will be in flower when to ensure colour all year round and how will the various annuals, perennials and biannuals work together? Thank goodness for Pinterest, which I use to help me save and put together combinations when researching plants for the garden and allotment.
By considering all of this I have been able to roughly work out how I would like the garden to look but also had made me think about how I hope the garden will function both to grow flowers but also for us as a family. As well as being nice to look at it has to be practical. It will be interesting to see if I can achieve both!
Once everything is in the ground I will go over my plant choices and design in more detail but for now it’s time to get digging!