Finding Your Gardening Style
By Uma Campbell
As we move into warmer months, many of us are already thinking of creating a garden. Whether it’s our first one or we’re an old pro at making it beautiful, many decisions need to be made. Of course we want to make our gardens beautiful. But in this day and age of environmentalism, many of us share a concern of saving water.
So what kind of garden style can you find that fits all of your needs? You’re in luck – below is some information to help answer that question and help you develop some great ideas along the way.
Preliminary Gardening Considerations
- Climate: When deciding what to plant in your garden, one of the first things to consider is your climate. Every area of the country has different weather patterns. So it’s important to understand what plants work best in the climate you’re in. For example, if you do want to save water, you may want to rethink that English rose garden. Doing some research first will help you understand what will thrive in your area.
- Sunlight: Another thing to consider is how much sun you get. Surrounding trees and buildings play a major role here, but your latitude is a factor as well. Northern states receive less sunlight than southern ones, and will have dark, cold, winters.
- Use Native Plants: Planting things that are indigenous to your area has numerous benefits. Native plants tend to be low-maintenance and require less water because they’re suited to your local climate conditions already. Native plants also support the biodiversity of your local ecosystem, which has evolved to utilize them.
- Kids and Pets: If you have little ones or furry friends, you may want to reconsider bushes that produce berries or anything that can be chewed on easily. Little kids – and most pets – may not know any better than to start gnawing and chewing, which can be harmful to their health. Be sure to check out lists of plants that are toxic to kids and plants that are toxic to pets
What’s Are Some Different Garden Styles?
Geraniums work well in the summer and don’t require a lot of water. Petunias work well in the colder months but they do require more irrigation and fertilization. Native wildflowers are always a great option.
Herb lovers and novices alike can work their magic with mint. Mint is easy to grow, but keep in mind that it does spread out, so you may want to keep it in containers. You can use the mint plant in all sorts of ways – as an addition to a meal or to steep in your tea. It has great health benefits, and it’s delicious!
Japanese-style gardens often include features like stone or gravel beds, evergreens, ornamental grasses, bamboo, streams or ponds with bridges (especially koi ponds), pavilion structures, and winding paths to connect the different features. The Chase Garden in Washington is a beautiful example of what a large Japanese-style garden can be. The Chase family worked with an architect who helped them build structures, and the family used their knowledge of Japan to create a meadow and woodland. The garden features gravel, rocks, and plants such as dwarf wallflowers.
If you’re more environmentally-minded, you can follow the example of an eco-friendly home created by Nelson Byrd Woltz, Warren Byrd, and William McDonough in Virginia. These gentlemen have worked together on many projects where the main idea was always about benefiting the environment.
They designed a freshwater pond and a green roof garden. They also wanted to transform the woodlands into meadows. Lastly, they wanted to create a network of rills and canals that would assist with storm-water retention. Plants included broomsedge, buffalo grass, and native grass. They also added a vegetable garden, and a freshwater pond that receives water from the lily pond through the rill.
Whether you’re a novice gardener or have been doing it for years, there are plenty of gardening styles to choose from. And you don’t have to rely only on plants to create your garden; there are other ways to create your style. If you’re having trouble deciding what kind of gardening style fits you, here are more garden ideas to consider.
Have fun, be creative, and try to save water!
Uma Campbell is a yoga instructor and freelance writer. She currently lives in Southern California. She enjoys writing about meditation, natural medicine, and home design. Her interests include home decor, yoga, and running. She also really loves crafting and has her own line of homemade jewelry. She lives alone with her cat and two turtles.