Elements of Gardening

Site: Putting it all together

Site: Putting It All Together Site analysis determines the growing conditions on your site. With a little detective work you can discover what your site needs to sustain a healthy garden. Here is a recap of the key steps in a site analysis. Determine your regional climate by referring to the USDA hardiness zone map …

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Style: Putting it all together

Style: Putting it all together In this module, we discussed the elements of creating a garden design with style. It is important to remember that there is no one perfect design. As you experiment with different designs and plants, you will see that many different approaches work well for your site. The raw materials of …

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Plant Selection

Plant Selection A few tips for dealing with nursery staff Remember: the more information you have about your site, the better the chances of getting meaningful help. Armed with the skills and data you gathered from working through this course, you can ask better questions, have a better idea of what you’re looking for, and …

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Climate

Climate A climate is an average range of weather conditions in a particular place. This place can be as broad as the entire planet or as small as your backyard. For our purpose’s climates break down into three levels: regional, area, and microclimates. Regional climates are the broadest you’ll need to be concerned with e.g. …

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Soil

Soil Soil is the medium that plants grow in, and it consists of air, moisture, minerals, and organic matter. It also includes the microorganisms that break down organic matter to further enrich the soil. There are many varieties of soil but they are all derived from some combination of sand, silt, and clay; the relative …

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Sun

Sun Adequate sunlight for plants is essential, if they don’t get the sunlight they need they simply will not grow well. There are two things about the sun you need to know for your site analysis: the path and amount. First, you need to know the sun’s path over your property. To do this use …

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Specific Conditions

Specific Conditions Specific Conditions are conditions that are specific to your site: Wind, Structure, and Variables Wind There are prevailing wind patterns and inconsistent wind patterns. Prevailing wind patterns are relatively constant. An ocean breeze is a good example: over the course of a year this wind pattern may remain roughly the same or change …

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Scale

Scale A sense of scale can help when designing a garden. Keep the relative sizes and distances of the plants in mind, because the way plants fit into their surroundings can have a dramatic effect on the viewer. The goal should be to balance both the scale of the objects in your landscape to each …

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Symmetry

Symmetry In general, symmetry involves mirror-imaging: items are symmetrical if their parts are uniformly balanced and spaced on each side of a dividing line. Items which are not symmetric are asymmetric. In gardening, symmetry implies formality, and asymmetry implies informality. Formal vs Informal Strict formality requires control, order, and symmetry: straight lines, perfect balance, and …

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Simplicity

Simplicity Simplicity when designing can be good. While you don’t want to overdo it, deliberate spacing, uncluttered beds, repetition of plants, and simple lines can enhance your garden and make it easy for the viewer to appreciate it. It also helps the viewer discern subtle changes in style as they are lead through the garden. …

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Variety

Variety A garden with a broad assortment of plants and arrangements can be a genuine delight. A variety of different plants can open new doors to contrast and beauty. After you have decided on a theme and style for your garden, try to select a variety of plant shapes and sizes that fit your theme …

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Arrangement

Arrangement is essential to implementing a garden style. The following core concepts will provide you with the building blocks for arranging beautiful gardens and landscapes. Beds and Borders Beds and borders frame your garden by defining its size and shape. When creating natural gardens (i.e. woodland gardens or desert gardens) you may not want to …

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Plant Types

Plant Types Woody Plants Deciduous shrubs Woody plants that lose their leaves at the end of the growing season are deciduous. Some offer dazzling floral displays before most other plants emerge in the Spring. Many shrubs bloom at other times of the growing season, so you can choose them based on their bloom period to …

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Plant Names

Plant Names Most of the time we refer to plants by their common names, and if we could we would use them all the time. They are easy to remember, easy to pronounce, and they are familiar to us. Still, there are times when common names aren’t good enough: some plants have no common name, …

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