Sun or shade, dry or wet, there is a plant to suit every location. When looking for inspiration on what to plant we often turn to the internet or TV programmes. Our imagination can run wild. We don’t know whether to go for a country cottage look or a minimalist modern style. Or maybe a low maintenance planting scheme with summer interest for the gardener with no time.
Gardens in Ireland nowadays tend to be either large gardens in a rural setting, say half an acre to an acre, or smaller gardens in urban settings. Homeowners come to gardens at different stages. Some inherit a garden with hedging, trees, and plants already mature. This is an opportunity to use existing maturity while adding a modern garden design style. Others move to a new home that has a totally blank canvas, this is an opportunity to design and build a garden from scratch and watch it mature over the years.
Whatever image you have in your head for your garden it all starts with the soil, in order to be successful with the plants you use, knowing what type of soil you have is essential.
Before you even think of planting, walk the garden, examine what you have, this will help you make good choices when buying, positioning and planting your garden.
When you have a firm grasp of the soil type and aspect of the garden you will be able to make smart planting choices.
When designing a garden I like to start with the skeleton of the planting which is the boundary planting (hedges, screening and shelter) then move to hard landscaping elements (patios, driveways and footpaths) and then the planting around the living areas of the house. This would mean planting outside the areas that are part of the everyday living of the house. In today’s Ireland this would include planting outside large glazing elements of the house or around the patios.