Garden: design ideas & pictures

How can I design a garden to suit my needs?

Whether it’s a space for you to flex your green thumb or a backyard retreat, you need to create a garden plan before you start planting. Make a list of your needs and wants. Do you want to grow vegetables? Do your kids need space to play? Are you dreaming of lazy summer afternoons on a patio? Start by using graph paper and drawing a plan of the site to scale. Plot every feature you find, the naturals ones such as the trees, the shrubs, rocks, and man-made ones such as a pond. You may also want to indicate areas of sun and shade. The terrain your home is located on, as well as the soil, will impact the final layout of your garden. Unless you are adept at using a backhoe or chainsaw, it may be best to contact a landscaping or gardening professional in Canada to ensure your landscaping plan works in harmony with the terrain. 

Which garden features increase my home’s value?

A well-designed garden accents your home and is sure to lure in potential buyers.  Studies in Canada show curb appeal can boost a home’s value by 4-15%, providing some of the highest return on investment of any type of home improvement. Low-maintenance plants, lush well-maintained trees, a consistent style, high-quality paving and a well-kept lawn are some of the features experts recommend investing in.  If you have a house in the suburbs or on a rural lot, you’ve got plenty of space to tackle. It’s next to impossible to landscape a large lot all at once, so divide and conquer. Pick a corner and create a relaxing nook or start with a patio or deck. Every landscape needs a focal point which draws your eye so let that be your starting point. It could be a fountain, a driftwood bench or simply a bed of flowers around the Oak tree grandpa planted.   

Can I grow a garden that is easy to maintain? 

A well-planned and landscaped garden will ensure it is easy to care for, whether you want an English country garden, a Japanese garden or a wild, natural landscape, So before you begin planting, consider the weather, light, and soil conditions of the site. Trees and shrubs have longevity and will blossom and bloom for years. Search for native plants that are suited to the region of Canada you live in. Palm trees might work in British Columbia but certainly won’t in Quebec. Group plants with similar needs together. Clustering simplifies watering, plus it allows plants to shade one another. Create borders, perennial beds or a separate vegetable garden to keep the areas defined. A spaced edge makes mowing the lawn a lot easier. If you are wondering about those nasty weeds, ground cover such as creeping sedum or shade-loving lamium are a clever way to add texture and colour to an area while stopping weeds from sprouting. A 2- to 3-inch-thick layer of wood mulch, rock mulch, pine needles or straw also will prevent excessive weed growth. Compost is essential for a beautiful blooming garden. Healthy soil means healthy plants, and healthy plants are easy to care for. Search for high-grade compost at your local garden centre or, better still, contact your local municipality for information about compost bins and rain barrels.   

What are the best times to prune my garden? 

Regularly reign in trees and shrubs by pruning annually. Your garden will be easier to maintain as a result and you’ll have more time to enjoy it. The rule of thumb to follow: "If you have no good reason to prune, don't!.” Most deciduous trees should be cut back between February and April, before their leaves begin to regrow. The best time to prune flowering trees and shrubs is just after they bloom. Check with a local arborist if you are still anxious about clip and trimming foliage. If you are contemplating chopping down a tree, especially in urban areas, check with your municipality to make sure you aren’t flouting a tree bylaw.   

Will my home lose value if I make my lawn smaller? 

These days, less is better. An emerald-green lawn is inviting but maintaining it means a ton of watering and annual maintenance. If you love a lush lawn, you are not alone. Almost three quarters of Canadian households have a lawn or garden. Average Canadian lawns are about 250 m2, approximately the size of a tennis court. The trend is towards smaller lawns because large lawns aren’t easy on the environment, tough to maintain and are frankly, boring.Today, a smart garden design means seeing the lawn as a visual element that interacts and compliments other elements in your yard, such as flower beds and hardscaping. Established lawns generally require about 2.5 cm (1 in.) of water per week to thrive. If Mother Nature delivers, your lawn will thrive without additional watering. If you want conserve water, let the grass turn brown. This does not mean it is dead — it's simply dormant. An established lawn will recover and resume its verdant appearance once the rain returns..