Frequently Asked Questions
How do you begin process of creating a beautiful landscape garden?
The first consideration is your time and effort versus how much you’re willing to pay someone to do the job. That includes both the installation and the maintenance over the long-term.
The second consideration should be the hardscape. That includes things like sidewalks patios driveways and hardscaping features. Do you want areas to sit on your lawn, dine, water features, fire pit, etc.
Now you’re ready to consider plants. First start with what you have existing, do you want to keep what’s there? Where is the shade from the house and from trees? What parts of the yard are sunny and for how many hours each day?
Make a list of all the plants you think you can’t live without. Research if they will grow in your area and what their soil needs are etc. Observe your neighborhood and talk to your neighbors about what grows best there. Take your time making choices. Pay very careful attention to the amount of space each plant requires. Believe the plant tags.
There are thousands of books of garden designs and plenty online to look at to see what you like. There are certain rules that apply because they make sense. Things like planting shorter plants in front of taller plants for a border against a fence for instance.
The great thing about garden design is that it’s going to change anyway. While it’s great to start out with good bones with hardscaping and the larger trees and shrubs, almost anything else can be easily moved to a different spot if you find it doesn’t work there. Along with weeds, you will get free plants from the ones you planted that seed themselves in different locations. This can be a joy and a frustration.
A landscape is a living thing. The best you’ll ever achieve is a modicum of control.
How difficult is it to become a landscape gardener if you have little prior experience?
Go check out your University’s Cooperative Extension Service! Free to cheap cheap cheap, meaning affordable education. Take all of their classes: Master Gardener, Master Composter, Master Pruner, Master Food Preserver. Oh, also Pesticide Applicator licensing!!
You have to spend some time doing ‘service’ at fairs, markets, and other gathering places to teach. You can ONLY teach what the bulletins of that University tell you. All the dang basics!
Other ways to pay back your education is to work at selected MAJOR experimental gardens. I did a ‘weed’ garden to teach people what the names and pluses/minuses of that plant are and also the best way to CONTROL that weed. Weed are the LAST THING I would ever worry about. I teach how to compost correctly and WHY, how to prune and WHY (get those pruners hidden from the hubby)! and if you have a great garden, you need to know how to preserve food.
I also did a Tomato test garden for Late Blight.
I am a Landscape Architect. Not at all to be confused with landscape gardener or landscape designer. My specialty is drainage. Also designing freeways and roads. Siting buildings, homes… Plants are the cherry on the sundae. And we are taught how to choose, how to design with plants around a home, an office and even a deck landscape…how to place, how to plant, how to plant plants together that need the same needs, how to transplant old plants. Drainage and grading I actually taught at University. Without computers. I taught plant design and ID.
I took 8 years of college to get my degree and then took a 4 day 8 hour per day long test to be licensed as a Landscape Architect. Right up there with doctors and lawyers! You just might find that you SHOULD go farther to get a college degree in horticulture or Landscape Architecture!!
Take these classes from your University’s Cooperative Extension Service. One University per state or county is allowed to HOST these classes. More people need to take advantage of this incredible resource!