Learn to design your own garden

Sure, you could hire a garden designer or landscaper. Or you could learn to do it yourself. The UW Center for Urban Horticulture has a class called “Home Project Garden Design” that will give you the tools to create your own garden plan. Learn how to make your own plans, work with plants creatively, and design spaces for outdoor living. It is a four-part series, plus one weekend field trip to a nursery. Tuesdays, March 4 through 25, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. $160 course fee; pre-registration required. To sign up or learn more, contact Jean Robins or call 206-685-2590. Register early: many of their classes fill up!

My own garden design project…

Before the fence…

After the fence…
Just the building of a fence can be the beginnings of a garden. I did hire a garden designer for a few hours to help me with plant selection since my experience is primarily with native plants that grow in the shade and this garden area was on the south side of my house and got full sun. Also, I am color blind and wanted help with foliage and flower color selection.

The arbor and the bench were not a part of the designer’s plan. So basically I got some help from a pro but then I still personalized it the way I wanted to. The planting plan wasn’t executed quite the way it was drawn.

Perhaps if I had taken the class from UW Center for Urban Horticulture, I could have saved a few hundred dollars in design costs and had more money for plants! Also something you should know: Plant popularity comes and goes – of the 14 or so different plants/trees suggested by the designer I hired, I was only able to find three available in nurseries that spring. I had to go back to her and ask her to make some substitutions since the varieties she had indicated were not available. I also then ended up going to four different nuriseries to get them together. If I had taken the class, I would have not had to rely on someone else and their ideas of what would look good together quite so much.

The last thing I added was a “dry creek bed” from all of the rocks that got dug up when we removed all of the old soil from this space and brought in high quality garden soil – about 10 inches deep in the entire space. What’s fun about the dry creek bed is that on rainy days it has water running thru it – the overflow hose from the rain barrel seen in this photo is buried in the creek bed.

Then…
We sold our home last summer and bought a townhome in High Point. Strangely enough, I left my Perennial Retreat (what I called this new garden) untouched. I dug up all of my major and favorite plants from other parts of the property and now I garden in pots. I brought hostas, sorrels, bamboo, and lots of natives! Since my deck faces northeast it is PERFECT for native plants.

Sword fern, red huckleberry, oregon grape, salal, and a few other varitiees of fern made the transition to pots very nicely.


Look how having all of these plants, including tall bamboo, in pots on your deck still give you a sense of privacy and intimacy!

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