Need Rearranging Advice

robieusa(5)August 19, 2005

I am looking for some advice on rearranging my garden. The garden is only a year old & I just sort of threw plants into the ground without much planning. Now, proportions & timing are all off.

I need to rearrange. Please see the linked photos & comments.

Also... when is the best time to do this? Should I wait until after the first hard frost, or earlier? (Fairly new to this).

Many thanks for any advice.

Here is a link that might be useful: Photos

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I love the feel of your garden, the wood and stone and the somewhat rustic, casual look, and the area that looks more tropical. I couldn't get a good fix on where things are and what's next to what (not your photos, I'm very hands-on and need to be there, not good with 2-D views) but you're right in wanting to move the butterfly bush, it does look like it's taking over... some smaller plants would be better for that spot. And I wonder if the pond bed is too shady for the smoke bush? couldn't tell. If it is somewhat shady, how about a columnar holly there? It would give you year-round vertical interest and structure and be a nice focal point. They can take varying amounts of light, too. Some grasses would also give you almost year-round interest and structure. Don't get really large ones, some smaller ones would be nice, and plant one or more to cascade over the rocks a bit... that would go well with the look you've started and would look very "natural" with the water. Then plug in perennials/annuals for color. I personally don't think you want *too* much that's tall there, something for emphasis and interest is a good idea but then low-growing plants around the pond to pull your eye down to that area and some open areas over the top of the plants to pull your eye to the rest of the garden and "tease" you with what you can't see.

Beyond that, I can only make a couple of general comments... keep things like scale in mind (it doesn't look like a huge backyard, so you probably don't want to overwhelm it with lots of big plants). Remember a plant's mature size when you plant it so that it's the right plant for the spot -- otherwise you're into ongoing battles with it, sometimes to the detriment of the plant. Think about your overall goals for the garden and then do some reading to figure out what you need to do to obtain that (for example, our goals for our backyard include low maintenance and a peaceful, Asian influence so we're going with simple plantings, not lots of different colors, most of the interest will come from the foliage rather than lots of flowers, and we're using plants that don't require much care, just to give you a few of the things that are involved in the plan... Our front yard has different goals, is hot and sunny and has more of a mountain meadow look and feel, with a bit of whimsy for fun). I could go on and on but I won't :) There are lots of good books and websites on garden design -- websites are a good place to start because they tend to cover the basics in a fairly simple way. You also might share this post with the landscape design forum. I'm sure they would have some terrific ideas for you.

Many plants are better moved in early spring in your area but some can be moved in fall. Depends on the plant -- check some basic gardening books for information on individual plants.

I love the basic design... you're off to a great start. I've found my garden is *never* done and there's always a plant that needs to be moved or taken out or added :) but that's half the fun. Enjoy!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 5:15PM
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Wow, Carol Ann. Great advice.

I like the idea of a holly near the pond. And you're so right about the importance of maintaining proper scale. The scale now is random, and that is my problem.

Thanks for such good recommendations.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2005 at 9:13AM
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Robert, enjoyed your pictures. The brick walk is neat and I like the beds outlined in rock. The view of the waterfall head on is really nice. I won't comment on rearranging because I have the same problem you have. I start my own annuals and having them to provide continual color all summer is a saver for me. Marie

    Bookmark   August 21, 2005 at 4:53PM
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