Putting pencil to paper

Good designers observe and discover how the different parts of the landscape — home, gardens, and other functional areas of a site — relate to one another, and they use those relationships to direct their designs. Think through each of the following items as completely as you can, using plenty of paper to take notes and scribble ideas:

  • What you want from your landscape: Your list may include a vegetable garden, herb patch, flowers for bouquets, fruit trees or shrubs, compost bin, tool storage, and recycling bins.
  • How the different items in your list relate to one another: Consider the distance between places that depend on each other. Does it make more sense to put the vegetable garden at the far corner of the backyard or close to the kitchen and tool-storage area in the garage?
  • How often you will visit each area: Places that you visit daily, such as the trash, compost, and vegetable garden, should be located closest to the house. An area that needs infrequent maintenance, such as an orchard, can be situated farther away.
  • How many functions each element can fulfill: Trees can provide shade, fruit, ornament, and windbreak, among other things. Vegetable gardens can be ornamental and also provide food. Flowers attract hummingbirds, color the yard, furnish garnish for salads and bouquets for the table, and provide habitat for beneficial insects.

When you're done brainstorming your list, you're ready to draw up a plan that makes sense on the ground.

Herbs 101

Herbs 101

Learn what you can do with herbs! How to Plant, Grow, and Cook with Natural Herbs. Have you always wanted an herb garden but didn't know how to get started? Do you want to know more about growing your own herbs in the privacy of your home and using them in a variety of cooking?

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