Some of the best gardens evolve slowly over time, coaxed along by the patient gardener with an ever changing vision that is never quite complete. Over the course of many years, I have had the privilege to tour some of these magnificent gardens and talk to the gardeners who created them. When asked if the plan is finished and complete, the answer is invariably the same. It will never be ‘finished’. New gardening space can be miraculously found within the maze of plants, and when it runs out, then gardens become re-appropriated. The English garden becomes the Japanese garden, the cutting garden becomes the new water feature, and so on and so on. They are happy to spend their days outside digging in the dirt, enjoying the sunshine and trying one of every new plant that hits the market.
Although I admire their love of the outdoors, I am not that gardener. It does not make me happy to plant a shrub or perennial, and then decide a year later that it would actually look much better two feet to the left and six inches back. I love to plant, but I love to plant once. The enjoyment I derive from my garden comes from me sitting in it with a nice cool drink, not pushing a wheelbarrow through it. I am a gardener who needs a plan.
Whether your landscape needs are small or great, every one can benefit from a plan. Ever hear about the homeowner who came home to find out that their hedge was planted on the wrong ‘left side’ of the yard? Sometimes a quick sketch is all it takes to alleviate any confusion about whose left you would like your shrubs planted on! And, whether or not you are wanting to have your whole yard designed at once, it can be an excellent way to make sure that you know the finished landscape will have a cohesive look.
Having a full landscape plan does not mean that you need to complete it all at the same time, but it allows you to pick and choose certain projects to complete as the funds allow.
And, if you are completing the work yourself, the wheelbarrow may feel a little lighter if you know that each step is getting you closer to the carefully rendered drawing that you have sitting inside.
Robin Carifelle is a certified landscape designer and owner/operator of Robin’s Landscape Designs