How to Plan a Garden Around Your Backyard

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When planning a garden, it is good advice to start with an open mind. A gardener should look for suggestions from the site, not omitting to take into account its immediate environment. The best gardens are personal in that they take their character from their makers.

When experts are asked for suggestions for a style of garden for a particular plot they are often tempted to reply �the common sense style" because there is no exact treatment for a given plot laid down by rule. The gardener may not recognize the possibilities of a garden fountain, water wall fountain, or outdoor waterfalls at first glance, but this is possible after carefully studying it.

Straight lines, for example, are useful in an oblong shaped plot of limited size. Without magnifying the problems associated with planning, it must be said that the more knotty problems arise most often in connection with plots of irregular shapes or contours, or plots unfavorably conditioned with regards to the aspect and surroundings.

The treatment of a small rectangular garden plot may be a very simple matter, provided due weight is given to aspect. Yet even the smallest plot involves alternative modes of planning, and even then the gardener must give his casting vote for that one which, after satisfying the requirements of horticulture and the conditions which make for artistic quality, best accords with his personal views.

The first point to consider is the apportionment of the various sections of the garden:

�How much space do I require for vegetable ground?
�Do I want a tennis or croquet lawn?
�Do I need to provide a playground for children?
�Would there be room for the inclusion of large water features, patio statuary, or outdoor fountains?
�Must I limit my flower space to what I can properly manage in my spare time?

These, and possibly other questions, will occur to the planner, and he should answer them definitely before he starts to plan. In doing so he will naturally commence to evolve some kind of skeleton idea of what he would like his garden to be.

His next step should be to sketch down on paper a plan of his garden site to scale, at about one eighth of an inch to a foot, and mark on it the house, indicating the position of the doors back and front, or at the sides, as the case may be. He should then add an arrow to show the north point, to remind him, in the course of his work, of the direction in which the maximum amount of sunlight will fall.

The gate by which the premises are entered from the roadway must be marked in its proper position. This much accomplished, the gardener will have before him in bird's-eye view the main factors that should control his planning. If he has decided to grow vegetables, he may at once rule off on the paper as much space as he wishes to devote to that purpose, as well as any area designated for large statues, large fountains, or other outdoor water features.

Usually this will be situated at that part of the garden remote from the house and there are excellent practical reasons for it occupying that position. The division should be at right angles to the garden's length in a garden with parallel sides, even though the end fence or wall is oblique. Irregularity in the shape of the vegetable plot is immaterial and the right-angled division squares things for the flower garden.

The next thing is to locate the principal border, and if the aspect is east or west, there should be no hesitation in giving it a place against the north fence, where it will receive full sun. The planner may therefore rule a line parallel with this fence six feet distant from it, adding a second parallel line at about three feet beyond to define the principal path. If space permits, a third line may be added, at four feet beyond the second, to mark off a second border, the near side of which will be the grass.

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Allison Ryan is a freelance marketing writer from San Diego, CA. She specializes in landscape architecture, specialty large fountains, and home improvement. For a beautiful variety of patio statuary or for a water wall fountain, stop by

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