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What are the Best Tips for Planning a Garden?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 17, 2024
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When planning a garden, there are a few basic things to consider that can make the rest of the process a great deal easier. One excellent place to start is with the bones of the garden, then move inward to consider a strong focal point. Of course, the plants to be used in the garden are also a very important consideration, especially how the colors of such plants can be used to create an overall experience. Themes can also be used to give the entire garden a single, cohesive feel and this is worth considering by anyone planning a garden.

One of the best places to start when planning a garden is with the bones. The bones of a garden are the foundation or boundaries and will usually determine the size and shape of the garden. They can be something already at the location, such as a sidewalk, fence, or wall, or may need to be created to give the garden shape and structure. Trees can often be used as bones, and dwarf evergreens have become increasingly popular. These provide color, shape, and texture that can often play well with the plants within the garden itself.

A consideration of color, when planning a garden, is quite important, especially as it relates to choosing the plants. Using a color wheel can make understanding color much simpler. Colors directly next to each other on a color wheel are called analogous colors and work well together to create a single, unified field of color that smoothly pulls the eyes of a viewer throughout the garden. Colors opposite each other on a color wheel, called complimentary colors, work to create contrast when used together.

This type of contrast can often be used in planning a garden to create a focal point for a viewer. By creating a focal point, the eyes of a viewer will typically be drawn to that specific location, and then be allowed to move naturally through the garden. Without a focal point, a garden may just become a single mass of color and shape with no real direction, often leaving the eye of a viewer to wander aimlessly and not really focus on anything in particular.

When planning a garden, a theme can also be chosen that creates a unifying idea for the entire garden. This could be a particular color, with each plant being a different value of that color, a certain shape, or even a particular design created by the plants in the garden. A theme will usually dictate how the bones and focal point will be established, and can make the entire process of planning a garden somewhat easier.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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