orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

May 11, 2013

Identifying your garden preferences

Special to The Leader
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — A personal garden is only limited by the constraints of a person's imagination. The vast array of plants and flowers available from all over the world can turn anyone's yard into a melange of functional spaces.

When designing a garden, many homeowners do not know where to begin. Much like decorating the interior of a home, how a garden landscape is executed depends on various factors.



Climate and conditions

The foremost consideration when planting a garden is the climate where the garden will be located. Planting items that are not conducive to growing in certain conditions can be counterintuitive and a waste of money and effort.

Prospective gardeners must become familiar with the hardiness zones of their region prior to making any plans. This will help you to determine which types of plants will thrive on your landscape. Once this is determined, examination of the soil and conditions on the property is also helpful. Taking this step will help identify any plant deterrents, such as poor soil quality and pH as well as any pests that may impede plant growth.

If you live in a hot, sandy location, lush tropical plants may not thrive. Therefore, even if you desire a Mediterranean look, you may have to settle for something that works better with your landscape conditions.



Style of the home

Landscaping designs often tie into the architectural style of a home. For example, an extensive Asian-inspired garden complete with koi pond and bonsai may look odd in front of a log home. Keep architecture in mind when planning a garden so the look of the home you present is cohesive and fits with the community and immediate vicinity.



Design preferences

Are you a free spirit who doesn't conform to convention with firm boundaries? Or are you one who likes order and things in their place? Knowing what makes you tick will help you to choose a gardening style that will be easier to maintain and also make you feel comfortable. For example, prairie-style planting or wildflower gardens are dramatic ways to create natural points of color over a large area. Most plants are allowed to grow as they may.

Those who like a dreamy ethereal feel to their gardens may be inspired by cottage designs, where generously filled borders overflow into a flower and foliage paradise.

If you are more inclined to follow the rules and like an orderly landscape, a parterre, or formal planting bed, may be more your style. When carefully pruned, box hedging can show off symmetry and geometry in your space.

Some people are more focused on the accents in their gardens than the plants themselves. Modern architecture pairs well with a contemporary style that blends minimalist accents and easy-to-maintain plants.

Although you can change plants in your garden, investing in a garden that you will be happy with for a long time is a costly venture. You may want to consult a landscape architect or local nursery to find the plants and trees that fit with your design and lifestyle. These experts can also instruct you in how to maintain all of your hard work and when to expect the full impact of your new landscape to take form.

Homeowners can browse ideas for gardens in magazines and online, but ultimately it will be up to their personal design preferences and the climate where their home is located to determine which garden will look and grow best.