Monday, July 3, 2017

Sketching Your Wildlife Garden

"Purple Cone Flowers in Garden"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

I like to sketch how I want my garden to look before I begin any work in construction.  While I am an artistic photographer, not an illustrator or landscape artist, I use some very basic skills which anyone can do.  If you would like to learn further and go into excellent detail about garden design, I recommend visiting Paper Garden Workshop with Lisa Orgler. Paper Garden Workshop- Designing Your Garden Defining Structure.

While she goes into excellent detail which is very useful and helpful for creating a detailed plan, I use a sheet of graph paper, pencils, and colored pencils to do some general planning and design. I am basically trying to provide myself with an overview.

Before you start drawing, measure the area in which you plan to create your garden. Convert the squares on the graph paper to equal an even or easy measurement such as one square equals 5 feet or 10 feet.  If you are designing a smaller garden, you could use smaller measurements like 2 or 3 feet- it’s up to what you are comfortable with and want to design. Once you’ve determined the measurement you want, draw out the parameters of the project.

For me, I don’t always have the time to sit down and design the entire garden all at once.  Knowing that I design a simple legend in a small corner of the page so I could refer back when I return and would remember when building the garden. I’ll use letters to signify certain flowers that I enjoy and want to plant in the garden.

Examples of typical symbols I use:

X or O     Rocks

PC          Purple Cone Flowers

BS          Black-Eyed Susans

DS          Daisies

WFM     Wildflower Meadow

An          Annuals

TRP       Trails or Paths

You get the idea- keeping it as simple as possible will be beneficial in the long run when constructing the garden.

If you are not one who can visualize a project in your mind, here are a few more options.  Use colored pencils in your sketch to signify different aspects of the garden. Visit the website of your favorite garden center and select photos of the plants you would like to grow in the garden.  Save copies to your computer for printing.  Print copies as needed of each plant then delete the photos.  For personal use like this, that’s not a problem or an infringement.  However, do not use them for other purposes without the permission of the photographer or owner- like the garden center.

Once you have sketched out the plan, you are ready to begin construction or to hire someone to build the garden area for you. Since I am not able to do all the digging and building in my gardens, I hired professionals to do the work.

Be sure to talk to the person you hire making sure they are familiar with what you want to do creating the garden. I recommend asking at a local garden center if you should do any soil amendments when digging the garden.  If you live in Northern Virginia with all its red clay, you will probably need to do so for the plants to grow.
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