- Purchase a digital camera to take pictures of your garden. The photos remind you where plants are located, plant colors and how your garden has changed from year to year. Use these photos in laying out your garden design.
- Collect pictures from magazines and books on garden ideas, garden plans, interesting plants and other items that you might want in your garden. Order gardening catalogs off the Internet. Set a budget for your garden design.
- Decide how you are going to use the garden area that you are designing. Are you planning an area for entertaining, recreation, hobbies or play? Ask other family members how they will use the garden space.
- Are you are adding shrubs, trees, annuals or perennials? Check out how big your plant selections will grow including their light requirements, your lighting conditions, their water needs, plant height and width sizes (at full growth) before purchasing. Always do your homework!
- Do a soil test. You can amend the soil when the weather improves.
- Measure your area and spend time drawing the garden. Include existing plants, structures and utilities in your garden drawings. Drawing with pencil allows you to change things as you go. Draw your design to scale. Make your garden the size that you can maintain or are willing to hire someone else to maintain.
- Plan a color scheme and use a color wheel to help pick the garden colors. Consider seasonal color changes in your design.
- Add some nice garden structures like arbors and gazebos. Don't forget to add statuary, seating, bird house, bird baths, walkways, etc. Don't over do it and always add a little whimsy!
- Consider adding a water feature, whether it is a pond or a bird bath. A garden always needs some wildlife to enjoy. Make your garden "pet friendly".
- Be patient as your garden grows. Depending on the age of the plants that you purchase, it could take years before your garden is full grown. Be prepared that you may have to make a few changes along the way.
Now that you are missing all those garden chores due to the cold weather, here is a way to keep on working with your garden. Start drawing, designing and planning that garden on paper for next year!
The Creative Gardener