Gardening is a popular hobby because of its benefit for the environment and stress relieving side effects. Approximately 29% of all U.S. homes have lawns or gardens, and the global gardening and outdoor living market is expected to grow at a yearly rate of almost 3.5% between 2011 and 2016. By 2016, it should reach almost $220 billion. Gardening and landscaping is huge, and new recruits pick it up every year. If you’re getting ready to landscape and garden, you’ll need a few pointers about garden design and navigating gardening centers. Check out these tips for getting started.
Why Start a Garden?
Gardening is healthy for the Earth and healthy for you, too. Digging and weeding provide great exercise, and many find that the walking, reaching, and bending help them maintain flexibility and mobility. Since the average gardener spends an average of five hours a week gardening, that’s about five hours a week of great exercise that gives back to the environment. Besides the physical benefits, gardens are a wonderful way to spruce up your home. Flower gardens are beautiful to look at and can even attract such lovely creatures as butterflies and hummingbirds. Those who grow edible plants also reap the benefits of fresh fruit and vegetables throughout the growing season and long after, though they do site challenges like time, insect control, wildlife control, irrigation, and cost.
The process of designing a garden is far more difficult than many beginning gardeners realize. A trip to a local gardening center can be helpful, but it is usually recommended to have some idea of what you’re looking for before visiting a plant nursery. There are three major considerations that we will address: color, style, and plant type.
Consider what kind of color pallete you’re interested in. Would a punchy blend of contrasting colors like rich red and mossy green look nice? How about a garden of blue and pale yellow flowers? Maybe you’d like to fill a garden with shades of purple and pink? It’s important to make these decisions before heading to gardening centers to purchase your plants. A garden located further from the house might fare better with warm colors like yellow, orange, and red, which make the garden appear closer. A garden close to the house might look better done in blue and purple. Blending cool and warm colors together gives a feeling of movement and depth, and the color blends can provide a vivid contrast.
Look at the exterior appearance of your home and decide how to best accent it with your garden. Formal landscaping might look nice close to the home, but an informal style might blend better where the lawn starts to blend into surrounding countryside. Do you prefer orderly lines and shapes? Formal gardens incorporating topiaries would look nice, but are often difficult to maintain. Consider whether you’d like a formal or informal garden and choose flowers and decor items at gardening centers accordingly.
Are you going to want to redesign your garden every year or would you rather have the plants return every spring? Annual plants will only last one season, but perennial plants will come back when the ground thaws. Ask around and look at the tags at gardening centers to determine which plants are annual and which are perennial.