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Plan Your Garden

Tips for planning your garden:

  1. Get to know what you have. Spend some time puttering. Knock around out there. Prune a few things, pull weeds, put a few plants in the ground. The point is to get to know the place, to build first-hand experience of your little piece of the earth.
  2. Consider the structure of the place. This means the hard features — driveway, buildings, fences, paved paths. It also means plant materials — what's already growing in the yard and what shape does it give your garden?
  3. Make a simple plan of the property. A property survey was completed for your home at the time it was built, and if you obtain a copy (available in the county assessor's office), it can serve as a base plan. If you don't have the survey or don't want to track it down, you can make one yourself. 
  4. Think about how you use the space... Every outdoor space has functions. Make a list of how you use the areas surrounding your home — do your children play in the yard? Do you spend much time gardening? Do you like to look out on the yard from different rooms of the house?
  5. Do a rudimentary layout. List-making constitutes a simple form of planning, and from it you can make some very simple designs. Think of the garden in terms of rooms—connected spaces that have different characters and purposes. Using your base map (or just a blank piece of paper), draw bubbles that loosely represent these rooms. 
  6. Start small. Gardens are dynamic environments. They're always changing, over time and according to season. Your efforts to renovate your yard, and to care for it, will necessarily play out over time too. Work on one area at a time, gathering materials, building beds, putting in plants, watching the garden grow.
  7. Know when to call in the pros. If you're daunted by the thought of tackling a garden renovation, or don't have the time or inclination to do it yourself, consider getting professional help from a Bay-Friendly Qualified landscape design or maintenance professional.



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