The ‘Jungle’ Garden

The ‘Jungle’ Garden

Where on earth do we start with you! I’m not going to try to dissuade you from plant buying. I know what it’s like; you’re just innocently walking around a plant nursery with an empty trolley and plants just fall in – it happens to me in supermarkets with chocolate. It’s a complete mystery how so much falls in when you’re not looking…

So, what are we going to do with your garden? The solutions I’m going to offer you do work, but they might require you to make some tough decisions. They might not, of course, but be prepared just in case.

In order for your garden to look good, it must have defined areas of empty space. Yes – empty, as in, not filled with plants! I know, blasphemy, but trust me it’s just like “it’s the space between the notes that makes the music” and any other irksome analogies you can think of.

So, your mission is to find, make and possibly even clear some space. But not just any old space, no. We want to create a defined area with a specific shape that enhances the look and feel of your garden.

To make it easier, let’s break it down into bite sized chunks (is it just me that’s failing not to think of chocolate now?).

Step 1

I normally say to people to make a list of the things they want in their garden. But you already know what you want – plants! And if you’ve inherited a garden crammed full of plants, there’s unlikely to be enough room for any features. If you would like some ideas, though, then take a look at the garden ideas gallery.

Something that you will need to do is map out your garden onto a bit of paper (preferably to scale) – if you want to know how to do this there are some free video tutorials here: http://www.successfulgardendesign.com/ideas/video-tutorials/

If the thought of putting pencil to paper sounds scary, let me assure that it’s nowhere near as difficult as you might imagine. It really is an important step though. On paper, you can see what’s working and what isn’t and change it much more easily than trying to do it all in the garden. You’ll get a much, much better design for your garden if you start it on paper.

You don’t need to be able to visualise, draw well or any of the other things that people list as to reasons they ‘can’t do it’. If you can draw an approximation of a circle or a square, you’re good to go.

The ‘hardest’ part of the whole thing is probably the measuring (and it’s not that hard!). So, if you have an awkward site or a change in levels, then the garden survey mini-course will show you how to tackle these as well as how to draw a scale plan (vital if you want everything to fit when you or someone else builds the garden).

Mark on your base plan where your plant borders are. It might be a good idea to make a few copies of your base plan so you can sketch out several different ideas.

Step 2

Is it possible to get a simple geometric shape like a circle or square etc between all the plants to form either a lawn or open area like gravel or paving?

If you answered yes, then try drawing in different shapes and see which one looks like it works best with your garden. Having one or two main design shapes helps bring clarity to the garden and the areas that are left are where the plants go. This is better than having it the other way round – a small, odd-shaped piece of lawn with no plants.

If you answered no, then it’s tough decision time. You’re going to have to clear some space for your defined lawn or patio shape. Some plants may have to be moved to other locations in your garden or given to friends.

Step 3

It really is worth relocating some plants to get the right shape framework in your garden. A good framework will show off your plants and whole garden. It’s important to make the best use of the available space.

If you have a long, narrow garden, you need to make it look wider than it really is. Or if your garden is small, make it look visually longer than it really is and create more interest and feelings of space. Getting this right will dramatically improve your garden and help it look good all year round, not just when plants are flowering.

Step 4

There are several ways to achieve the right design for your garden, location and lifestyle needs. Now go to the overview on the Garden Design Options page I’ve put together for you and download the free guide at the bottom of the page which shows which steps to take next.GOTONEXTPAGE

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