Stuff vs. space in a garden can be a quandary. So what is the stuff? The stuff are the elements you choose to decorate your space. Patio furniture, grills, pots, potted plants, trees, shrubs, you know…..stuff. Once you have filled your space, you no longer have space it becomes stuff. Space is the expanse of an area to look across and wonder “what’s over there?” Space is the freedom to move about without banging your shins or stubbing your toes or walking into a tree or bush. It is simple surface, like grass, or pavers, or the surface of water in a pool.
Space vs. stuff is a primary decorating consideration whether inside or outside. Is there a right or wrong proportion? Not really. The harmony of a yard or a room is simply in the designer’s emotion.
The important thing when decorating a garden is to remember that when you buy a plant it is not going to stay the same size as when you bought it, unlike the couch you bought for your living room. It’s probably the same size now as when you bought it, right? I see this mistake all over the place. Someone buys a Blue Spruce and plants it 4 feet from the corner of their house. You’ve seen that right? Ten years later it looks like someone has hung a house on that tree. Realize that thinning even removing plants from your garden may be necessary to maintain your balance of space and stuff. If your goal is to create a coziness within an outdoor living space plants that end up bumping into each other may not be such a bad thing. But if it’s formality you’re after, carefully plot, plan, and ponder how large each of those hedge plants are going to grow and how close to the checkerboard walkway you want them to encroach.
Beginning with the larger picture of the space you will need/want is probably the easiest place to begin when planning the architectural design of your yard. The geometry, the lines, the curves, the hard elements (garden curbing, patio, pool, deck, etc.) is the necessary skeleton from which to add the rest of the stuff.
And for Heaven’s sake, don’t be afraid to remove a shrub that has outgrown itself! If you planted it 12 years ago and it looked good for 11 years, you’ve probably gotten your money’s worth. Rip it out, I say! Leaving everything as it is forever is way too boring for me. It’s like never being able to rearrange your living room furniture. Changing things up a bit keeps life interesting and fun, right?
Tulips are a free gift every year!
No matter how tired you are of planting this fall, make sure you create for yourself a tulip garden. They are a wonderful way to celebrate your efforts of yesteryear. And no matter how many springs come and go, I am always surprised by the splendor of these florae!
theflowerexpert.com provides these tips on growing tulips:
- Select the location for planting.
- Prepare the soil by working it well, removing rocks and weeds.
- Mix in plenty of organic material and fertilizer.
- Special bulb formulas and bone meal work best.
- The Tulips will bloom in almost any soil with a good drainage.
- When buying Tulip bulbs, select only the finest quality bulbs. In general the bigger the bulb, the bigger the bloom.
- Follow the directions from the supplier for spacing and depth. If no directions are included, plant the bulbs 6-8″ apart and at a depth twice the diameter of the bulb.
- After the Tulips bloom, let the plant continue to grow until it dies off. During the post bloom period, the plant sends energy to the bulb to store for use next spring.
- Tulips require a period of cold while they are dormant and resting between shows.
Some suggest digging up your bulbs after they have bloomed and storing them in a cool dry area for replanting in the fall. NOT ME! I planted these tulips about 9 years ago and this is the sight from my front window today:
Something I have never considered, is planting them in pots and then storing them in the garage to allow them to winter over and then bringing them out in the spring to place them anywhere you want for that splash of springtime color! I love this idea!!
Tulips! A free gift to me every spring.
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!
One of the nicest things my husband has done for me, and he’s done many, was to make me a potting bench in the garage. It’s about 12 feet long with a utility sink in the middle. The one side of the bench has a laminate top and the other side has a granite top. The reason for that is because we bought these pieces cheap at a cabinet shop and a granite slab yard. I have 2 deep shelves underneath each countertop. He used corrugated tin for the “cupboard” doors covering the shelves. Behind the bench he used cedar fence planking, which he stained grey to resemble barn wood, and nailed vertically to the wall to look like an old fence. He also painted the garage wall apple green. It looks great!
I can’t tell you how handy this area of the garage is. And having the sink with cold AND hot water is marvelous. The shelves are nice and sturdy and deep enough to hold half used bags of mulch, fertilizer, potting soil, etc.
He made a couple of shelves to hang on the wall above the “fence” and I have decorated them with some fun random items; a big metal star, organizers with plastic holders for small hand shovels, scissors, pruners, etc., shelves with old watering cans, and even an old camping coffee pot. I have no idea where it came from but it sure looks cute on my shelf. I even hung up my old cowboy hat that I wore on a pioneer trek.
This wonderful work space even doubles for cooking space when I need it. Whenever I make chile verde in my big 22 quart electric roaster that’s where I cook it. The garage smells heavenly. Or if I want to make bacon I take my griddle out on my bench and cook it out there. So much better that my garage should smell like bacon rather than my house. It’s also great to do some canning in the fall. A Coleman stove and our pressure canner and we’re set!
DIY Creek Bed ~
6….okay…..maybe 8 pointers to a magnificent landscape design
If you love the outdoors and want to enjoy the look and “feel” of a beautiful stream, how about a dry creek bed? The very nature of the term “dry creek bed” can bring to mind a desolate and water-starved scene in the Sahara…NO, NO! You don’t need the water to suggest its presence in the garden. If planned correctly and creatively a dry creek bed can look as though there was once rushing water where pebbles and stones were deposited and the lush of foliage remain.
Shared Privacy (or not!) ~ The COZY COURTYARD