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Garden Plan Step #1: Assess Your Landscape

by Alex Russel, All About Lawns Columnist

Landscaping Plans
Happy Planning

A garden plan is an invitation to brainstorm your garden ideas before you put seed or shovel to the ground. By taking time to map out your garden plans, possibilities will open themselves up to you and the first step of any garden plan is getting to know your garden.

There are infinite ways to fill an empty plot of land. Plant life is endless in opportunities, no matter the climate. There are so many possibilities and questions that need to be answered and those questions can overwhelm the novice gardener faced with a blank canvas.

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The best solution for gardener's block is a garden plan. Like any plan, a plan compels you to sit down and actually map out how you are going to approach your project. What plants will go where? How big will the lawn be? What kind of grass choose will you choose; trees or no trees?

Know Your Garden

The first step in making a garden plan is to see what you have. Take a long walk around your garden. Take pictures and make specific measurements then draw a map of your garden. This garden planning exercise will help make the gardening more instinctual. The better you know your garden, the more creative you'll be able to be.

Tips for Knowing Your Garden

In getting to know your garden, some things to remember:
  • Locations of permanent things, such as your house, garage, shed, existing decks or patios, pools, ponds, or trees.
  • Slopes of the property, if any (measure the amount of drop over a distance)
  • Areas of sun and shade during the different seasons
  • Views from inside the house
  • Location of water taps, electrical outlets, gas, and water.

Gardens are More Flexible than You Think

In making your plan, don't get stuck into thinking things are permanent when they're really not. Decks, patios, even pools can be removed or changed, depending on your budget and how hard you want to work. A good plan will stimulate you to think about the possibilities you might not have otherwise.

Once you know your garden, then you're ready for the second part of your plan: Finding out what kind of gardener you are or want to be.

About the Author
Alex Russel is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Since graduating from Syracuse University he has worked at many different media companies in fields as diverse as film, TV, advertising, and journalism. He holds a dual bachelor's degree in English and History.

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