Designing your garden is complete. Now, it’s time to turn the inspiration into reality.
You are looking at a lot of hard work. But it’s also very satisfying work. If you have the time and tools to do it yourself, do it. Or do whatever you can do yourself. The benefits of ‘getting your hands dirty’ are undisputed. If it gets back-breaking, or you need professional assistance, the benefit will be a job done more quickly – so that you can enjoy the result: your Dream Garden!
So – let’s take your completed Garden Design to Completed Garden!
STEPS TO TURN YOUR GARDEN DESIGN INTO A GARDEN:
STEP 1: Go shopping! Get your garden supply basics
You’ll need some basics to get your garden going .You’ll need gardening equipment and tools, soils, fertilisers, landscaping products. You’ll also want to start buying some of your plants now, but it’s best to get your layout done and your soil prepped first.
Once you have these basics, you’ll be ready to start. However, at this stage your shopping is not complete. You’ll find that, as your garden comes together, your ideas and plans may change. Alterations to the original design will may require extra supplies of soil and other landscaping features. Budget for this. There is nothing worse than getting stuck half-way because you have run out cash.
STEP 2: Using string and markers, map out your garden plan
Do this as accurately as possible, faithful to your design. However, if you do not stick to the original plan, don’t worry. Inspiration can come at any point in the process. Things can look different too, when taking them from paper to the ground in exact dimensions.
STEP 3: Do the heavy work first: paving, stonework and irrigation
Your soil beds will go between features such as paved pathways. Laying out the heavy things first, according to plan, will also give you a better idea of how the finished garden will look. Doing this first, offers the ideal opportunity to make changes to your garden layout.
STEP 4: Soil preparation with compost, manure and topsoil
Good soil preparation is the best thing you can do for your garden. It is the foundation of a healthy, thriving garden. It can be expensive, but don’t skimp on this investment. If you create the best soil and growing conditions for your plants at the outset, you will reap the benefits for years. And vice versa. Don’t just plant in any old soil and hope for the best.
How to prepare your soil beds:
- Prepare your basic soil mixture in large plastic tub. You can do this 24 or even 48 hours in advance. Although there may be variances in soil mixtures depending on what you are planting and your local climate, most oil mixture need a balance of organic compost and topsoil. You can also add perlite for drainage. Other fertilisers and additives, such as bone meal to increase calcium soil acidity, can be added now if you need to change the PH of the soil. Some plants prefer a nitrogen rich, alkaline soil and others prefer a slightly acidic soil. This is why it’s best to start with a prepared soil mixture, rather than simply using what you dig up. Unless you already know your soil PH, you won’t know what to add, and you’ll be ‘gardening blind’. Topsoil is slightly alkaline.
- Dig down to around 40cm for most plants and seedlings. Don the existing soil, replace with the pre-prepared soil or mix it in with the original. Make sure the mixture is light and loose, free of stones and other obstacles that might damage roots, and with good drainage. If you are planting semi-mature trees, you’ll need to go deeper – according to the water and root needs of your plant.
- Add water! Make sure the soil is moist, but not too soggy, for when you get the fun part…adding your carefully chosen plants!
Add plants and seedlings! This has to be the most exciting part of creating a garden. Stick to advice on spacing, companion planting and positioning for shade, partial or full sun. You don’t want to crowd your plants or set them up for failure from the start. It’s also a good idea to put the plants in place while they are still in their nursery grow bags or pots. This will give you an idea of the overall look – and again provide an ideal opportunity to change things if need be.
Give you plants a good water 24 hours prior to planting to ensure they are not stressed, then water again after planting. And be careful to not damage the roots when you transplant.
Some extra tips on what makes a garden look great:
- Your layout should make a statement with different textures, colours and contrasts.
- New gardens do appreciate a lot of care and water in their beginning stages – even the lawn.
- Design your garden with indigenous species for waterwise and successful gardens that require minimal maintenance.
Gardening and sunshine make people healthy and happy, so take pleasure in your garden and enjoy every minute of creating it, tending to it, and being in it.