The English GardenThe English Garden
Flowering plants that provide color and fragrance are a usual starting point. Often a small area of lawn, and sometimes a small area for vegetables.
This type of garden will give a soft, homely feel. It may not be best suited to a modern house, but elements of the standard design format can be used in almost any design plan.
Build a Raised Planting Bed
Raised beds have lots of advantages, they are easy to maintain, they can be used as seats, and they make an attractive feature to the design of a garden. You should remember to consider the width of the bed so the plants are within easy reach.
It is a good idea to plan the shape, size, height, and structure of the raised bed, on paper before you decide to build it. This brief guide cannot really cover all the potential aspects of the designs available, a visit to your local garden center will be very useful to see the type of kits, and also the books and guides with design plans.
A few simple guidelines are provided below. Mark out the shape and size of your raised planting bed, on the ground, before you start building. Use string and small canes to do this. Using building materials such as railway sleepers for the walls of the bed will help to ensure a regular edge.
After removing the turf, prepare the area thoroughly and ensure that the bed will have good drainage. Once the construction is completed make sure you add in the best quality compost and fertilizer to give any new plants a successful start.
Making a Flower Bed
Always a classic element to add to any garden design, and they are simple to make as well.
1 Mark out the shape of the flowerbed using some string and a few canes. You can easily adjust the shape until you are happy with it.
2 Dig out the shape carefully taking out the turf sections. Removing 2.5 cm (1in) of topsoil. This can all be added to your compost heaps to rot down.
3 Clear away any large roots, stones or other debris from the flowerbed planting area.
4 Dig over the area to break up the soil. Pull the soil away from the edge towards the center.
5 Once the soil is thoroughly broken, to a depth of around 12″ or more, you should add rotted manure or compost, to provide a rich growing environment for any plants.
6 Choose your bedding plants and plant them according to the growing instructions supplied. Consider the location of the flower bed, the amount of sunlight it receives and other key factors when choosing the range of plants.
Build a Rockery
A classic garden feature and well worth considering in any design plan. The best time to build and plant the rockery will be in the early spring when all new growth is starting. This will give the newly planted rockery a chance to establish itself.
Future of a Design Plan:
Consider that what you put down as a plan now, may have factors that will not be required at a later time!
For example: If your garden design is linked to a family a garden layout, and you have young children. You will probably be thinking about adding a children’s play area, sandpit, swings, etc. This is great while they are young, but obviously, the usage of the garden will change over time.
Therefore it makes sense to have a flexible design that can allow for these natural changes to have a minimum impact. Future modification to the garden will require some work at the relevant point in time, usually by preparing the area correctly to add in the new feature you have planned. It is worth consulting gardening supply design books to see how you can best use the space you have available.
General building guides
a. Select a site receives a good amount of sunlight. Then remove the turf in the area you plan to build the rockery on. Keep the turf stored to one side.
b. If the area is flat, you may want to build up a level of earth and base material, old bricks, and non-toxic gardening supply waste can be used.
c. Lay the turf upside down over the rubble and firm down. Fresh soil will be needed to raise the level further still. If possible, this should be mixed with a coarse grit (4mm to 6mm is ideal) and some generous handfuls of bonemeal or similar slow-release fertilizer.
d. Now you can add in the rocks. It is a good idea to use local rock if possible, as this will look more natural to your area. Bury at least half the rock to help the plants’ roots remain cool in summer and survive any drought. The rocks should be placed together to make appropriate planting areas.
e. Top dress the bare soil with gravel that matches your rock. This prevents the soil from drying out too quickly and stops the small plants being splashed with mud during heavy rain.
f. It is a good idea to let the gardening supply settle for a few months before planting. This way, any subsidence can easily be repaired without disturbing the planting.
When the rockery has settled and you are ready to plant it, use bulbs and a range of suitable rockery plants. Consult your local suppliers to see the range available. You can use dwarf conifers and shrubs as the permanent framework, and alpine plants and bulbs inserted in the gaps.
Planting an Ivy Fence
Ivy makes an excellent wall or fence covering. This can be a great way to mask and soften the boundaries of a gardening supply. Ivy will grow quickly and will require regular cutting back, and maintenance, but the results are well worth the effort.
1- Prepare a bed close to a fence or wall by digging over the soil to remove weeds and large stones. Dig deep to break up heavy soil, and then fork in well-rotted manure to improve drainage. This also helps the soil hold more moisture. Rake the surface level.
2- Once purchased, carefully untie all the stems of the ivy and remove the cane they came supplied with. Unravel and separate the individual stems and lay them to one side.
3 A single ivy plant will easily cover a 1.8m (6ft) square fence panel, so plant it with this in mind, usually in the middle of the fence will be the best option. Dig a suitable hole for the plant to go into, and make sure the soil is broken up.
4- Place the root ball into the hole. Keep the surface of the compost level with that of the surrounding soil. Pour soil in around the rootball. Firm in by hand.
5- To ensure the widest area of the fence is covered with ivy in the quickest time spread out the trailing stems along the base of the fence. Try to divide the shoots equally between the two sides, laying each stem directly on the soil so it makes contact.
6- To encourage each stem to root into the soil along its entire length, make some wire pegs to push down the stems at regular intervals. These will hold the stems firmly and prevent them from blowing about in the wind. Cover sections of the stem with soil, keeping the leaves clear.
7- Water the plant thoroughly, and maintain regular watering in accordance with the growing instructions, or to suit your environment.
8- Side shoots will not grow immediately and take time. Once the stems have rooted into the soil they will send up shoots from virtually every leaf joint. Ivy is a self-clinging climber, but you can help by tying in stems with wire clips pushed into gaps in the panels.
9- Keep growth in check by trimming any unruly shoots. An occasional foliar liquid feed will ensure growth remains strong and healthy.
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