Inheriting a grown-over, derelict garden is a momentous task, even for an experienced gardener. But following these few and easy steps can help you to turn this wasteland into your perfect garden.
The spring is a great time to start a new garden design from scratch.
This task is particularly important if:
– Your garden is overgrown
– You recently moved into a new house and need to start from scratch
– You want to change most of the layout and planting scheme of your current garden
The Biodynamic garden design is similar to any normal design, except that you use the symbol guide on the LWTM calendar to guide you to the best times.
Biodynamic garden design is best undertaken over the winter months or in early spring, ideally during the Waxing Moon and when you see the LWTM life-style calendar symbol.
Step One: Photograph your current garden
It may be the last thing you want to take a picture of – a depressing, overgrown-looking wasteland. But taking pictures of your current garden is the starting point.
Be systematic and photograph every bit of your garden, moving closer to the middle, picture by picture. It is important that you take pictures in a way that they slightly overlap. Once you have photographed your whole garden from all sides and angles, go and print these pictures out.
Arrange the prints in order, so they show the whole garden and glue them together by slightly overlapping. Now you have a panoramic view of your whole garden in front of you.
Step Two: What kind of garden do you want to create?
Do you prefer a formal garden, a cottage garden, a simplistic Japanese garden or some more modern design? A big consideration in all this is:
- How much time have you got for gardening (formal gardens that need a lot of pruning, lawn mowing take up far more time than informal cottage gardens or minimalistic gardens)
- What is the prime use of your garden?do you want to grow vegetables, use the garden as a playground or predominantly entertain?
- Will you have garden furniture, a trampoline, sandpit, compost heap or other garden structures and features
Step Three: Draw your dream garden
Now place a large sheet of tracing paper over the photo-montage and start drawing your ‘dream garden’. At this stage, it does not matter if you get it wrong, as you can just use a new piece of tracing paper. Make sure you add all the garden structures and furniture (at scale) into your drawing. See how much space is left for the plants and possibly other features such as a garden shed, pond, etc.
Add a mood board in the form of snippets from a gardening magazine or pictures from the internet. That is what you would like your ideal garden to look like. Then show your different designs together with your mood board to your family and friends to get some vital feedback (as some of them have to live with this garden, too!)
Step Four: Research plants and conditions
Now you should have a pretty good idea of what you want. Now comes the next step – to see if your ideal design is also achievable and practical? Where is the sun? What type of soil do you find in your garden?
Yellow flowers in a shady corner may look lovely on the drawing board, but now do the research which yellow flowers will actually grow in this shady spot! It can cost dearly and will just lead to disappointment if you plant a sun-loving plant in a shady, damp spot. It just won’t thrive. The same principle also applies to your soil as well. Acid lovers need a different kind of soil than plants that prefer alkaline soil conditions. A good way to choose plants is to walk around the neighborhood and see what other people grow and what seems to thrive in your part of the world. Chances are these plants will do well in your garden, too.
Step Five: Learn about gardening
Gardening is a lovely leisure activity and will keep you in good shape. Good garden design is key to a successful garden that you can enjoy for years to come.
It will provide you with all kinds of tips form planting, digging, feeding, pruning, weeding to composting and companion planting (which plants thrive next to each other and which should not be planted together). It is a must-have for all organic gardeners.