All gardening is landscape painting
William Kent (1685-1748)
Designing a lovely garden is akin to painting a beautiful picture, but with an ever-changing palette of color and texture. The plants that contribute to our garden pictures are many and varied, including trees and flowering shrubs, as well as a continually evolving array of perennials.
Moreover, garden beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Do you dream of a spontaneous mix of flowers and grasses rippling in the wind; or maybe long drifts of colorful perennials against a backdrop of shrubs? Or perhaps you crave a peaceful woodland garden with a carpet of spring wildflowers followed by a rich textured pattern of leaves. Do you want year-round beauty that will entice the birds, butterflies and pollinating insects into your garden?
While you may be able to conjure up a mental picture of your dream garden, to bring that dream to life takes a knowledge of plants and how to combine them in a sustainable planting scheme. For instance we need to consider how big each will grow, when it blooms, and what special color and texture it will contribute to the whole.
Plants also need to be matched to the particular climatic conditions of the site, with special attention to winter cold. Many plants have distinct cultural requirements; some thrive in a dry location whereas others require moisture; some demand sun but others prefer shade.
What is a planting plan?
A planting plan is a scale drawing for one or more garden beds that shows suggested plants and how to combine them for beauty and longevity. A planting plan lays out which plants to use, how many you will need and how they should be positioned within the bed space. A sensitive planting design combines the desires of the gardener and a knowledge of the site, to create a season-long tapestry of flowers and foliage, color and texture.
I also provide a complete list of the plants for the plan which becomes your buying guide at the nursery or for your landscape contractor. For each variety of plant it specifies the English and the Latin names and how many to purchase. It also gives the mature size and cultural requirements of each variety, plus a brief description of its main features.
Creating a new bed
If you are developing one or more new beds based on your landscape design, a planting plan will show you how to integrate all your plants, including trees, shrubs and perennials, so that the whole will not only look beautiful at the outset, but will also mature gracefully over time.
Restoring an existing bed
If you have a bed that feels dated and overly formal, or has become a visual jumble and a maintenance nightmare, a careful makeover can help you restore it. In this case a planting plan will show you which plants to keep and which to discard (or move to another part of the garden), and how to incorporate new plants to recreate the balance and beauty of the whole.
Developing a planting plan
If you already have a landscape design in hand we can transition seamlessly into defining the planting plan for one or more of the beds.
If however you want to develop a planting plan within the context of an existing garden, we would begin with an on-site consultation where together we can discuss your needs and assess the site. I will then take measurements of the bed shapes plus the position of all existing plants you wish to retain.
From here I will then develop a preliminary design and solicit your input before creating the final design and associated plant lists.
Visit my garden
All my clients are welcome to peruse my personal garden for stimulation and inspiration. I grow many plants that thrive in our climate so, as you consider different plants for your garden, you can check out what they look like here–in particular how big each grows, its color and form and how it contributes to the entire composition.
Your active participation
Many people enjoy actively participating in creating their own planting plans and I welcome your input. You are welcome to join me at my drawing board where we can work on your plans together and also look at potential plants growing in my garden.
What will it cost?
In addition to our initial consultation, for a typical garden it takes between four and eight hours for me to create a planting plan and associated plant lists. I bill for my time, both at your site and at my drawing board at $75.00 per hour. I charge for my time to drive to and from your home at $0.50 per mile.
If you will be developing your own garden, the completed plan and plant lists becomes your guide. Optionally I can mark the plant locations on the ground for you, as well as give you written guidelines for bed preparation and planting. Also, if you wish, I can provide the plants shown in the plan and deliver them to your home.
As an independent landscape design consultant I do not provide implementation services myself. If you will be employing a landscape contractor to implement all or part of your plan, you can use the planting plan to solicit bids. I can also make recommendations for landscape contractors for soil preparation and planting. Optionally I can also set out the plants in their allotted spots and oversee other aspects of the installation process to ensure that the details of the design are fully met.