Have you ever walked by someone’s front garden and thought – what were they thinking? The mixture and variety of plants seems to make no sense and are placed haphazardly all over the place. Although you most definitely need to choose a variety of plant types and colors for your own garden layout, how do you know when you’ve gone too far? How do you keep your garden design focused, yet interesting at the same time?
Create a Theme
Before you even place a plant in the ground you should decide on a theme. Take a good look at your home style and your planting terrain, while also keeping in mind the climate in your area. A tropical theme may be something you greatly desire, but if you live in a very dry, arid climate, that’s going to be a tough garden to maintain.
Luckily Japanse gardens can use a variety of plants in several different theme structures. For example, if you tend to live in a wet, humid climate, you may want to consider creating your garden around a water pond theme using more marsh-like plants. For an very dry area, a zen rock garden may be the easiest to work with.
Choose a Color Scheme
Once you decide on a general theme for your garden, you should think about color preferences. Although there is no hard and fast rule as to mixing plant colors, you will certainly want to avoid planting anything that clashes (much like if you were decorating a room). Hot climates are suitable for bold, strong colors, whereas a cool climate will tend to lean toward more muted, serene colors. Pastel colors will bring a restful feeling to your garden. In a Japanese garden, colors lean toward more muted, subtle shades with perhaps an occassional bold contrast to make a statement.
Choose Contrasting Plants
Keep texture in mind when choosing plants. Texture provides visual interest and appeal. Look at various leaf colors, shapes and sizes. A few things to look for are plants that have soft, feathery leaves, while some are spiky. There are plants that grow small, leathery leaves while others produce large glossy leaves. And of course, there are many plants that have colored leaves – usually in the purple, deep red or yellow ranges. It’s not just the flowers that you should be focusing on, but also the texture and variety of leaves that will also add appeal to your garden.
Pick Different Plant Types
Don’t just plant flowers. While you want to maintain the overall harmony of your garden, you should still include a variety of plant types such as small trees, evergreens, shrubs, ground covers, spring bulbs, perennials and annuals – perhaps even some climbing vines. The spring bulbs will start your garden blooming early, while annuals will add color until your perennials begin to bloom.
Stick With Plants That Require The Same Maintenance and Care
Nothing can be more of a hassle than trying to grow healthy plants that have different plant care requirements within the same area. For example, don’t plant something that requires a lot of sun and water with other plants that are drought-tolerant and only need partial sun. You would be surprised at how many people do this without thinking. Then they either over-water the plants that require minimal water… or they don’t water often enough for thirsty plants. In either case, one type or the other will eventually wither and die.
Hopefully the above suggestions will help those who aren’t quite sure how to go about planning their garden area and picking out suitable plants. Be sure to read the plant care labels carefully so that you can choose plants that suit each other for easy care. Take the time to look over gardening books and websites that have pictures of Japanese gardens to get a better idea on how you can coordinate your garden so that it looks wonderful too. Happy planting!