One of the criteria of being a landscape designer is that you need to have the ability to visualize and design in all spaces, big and small. Smaller areas require an understanding and knowledge of plant growth, habits and needs because you have limited space and timeless growth.
That being said, even in small areas you can create beds of interest by using your plant choices wisely. Think down the road three or four years when placing and planting.
First impulse here would be a simple rectangular bed with 3 or 4 plants and be done with it. That could solve the problem. Most homeowners can do this for themselves; however, more than likely, they probably will not choose the appropriate plant for the specific location and space. Of course a rectangle bed is the lowest cost install.
Allocating a slightly larger budget can mean the difference between night and day. Curving the bed along the corner of the house enabled the design to be gentler and free flowing. A really good designer thinks in three dimensions.
In simple laymen’s terms all this means is do not use all the same size plants. It is always best when considering plant material to start out selecting the largest plants and scaling down from there. We call them the anchoring plants. Many times existing plants; if in good enough shape and health, can be properly pruned or trimmed and then transplanted back into the equation so to speak.
The next selection should be the selection of the secondary plants. The third selection should be plant material that is usually closer to the ground. This is often the groundcover and/or low-growing evergreen junipers and such, that tie everything together throughout the growing seasons.
Finally; my favorite selection is choosing the colorful plant material that creates an eye catching effect. I call this the icing on the cake. This simple foundation planting was installed with adequate spacing taken into consideration in order to plant the many different varieties of annuals which provide seasonal color from May throughout October.
The plant material chosen for this landscape design includes
- Chamaecyparis obtuse Nana
- Thuja Emerald Green
- Variegated Boxwood
- Ilex Chesapeake Holly
To provide the plants in this newly established bed, a rich black composted material was tilled into the top-dressing of the soil. This will add nutrients to the soils and establish an excellent growing medium for the annuals and seasonal color the following spring.