Thursday, 9 August 2012

Landscaping - part I

My mother recently gave me the job of redoing the garden. Honestly, the garden looked pretty much like a overgrown jungle, if there is a such. Well, I took up the task and set to work.

Many people think of redoing their garden. But unfortunately it doesn't always go as planned. That is probably the reason why people hire professional landscapers. For those who can't or don't want to hire a landscaper, I developed an easy way of getting your garden into tiptop condition. I'm pretty sure many leave their garden untended because of the lack of time, though they want to do the opposite. My method is an organised way, which saves a lot of time.

STEP 1: Planning
I suggest you should keep a small notebook in order to keep track of your plan and progress. Take a look at your garden are and make a rough sketch of how you want the garden to look.

While designing, you have to break up your garden into parts, or as I call them phases. Each phase will undergo three stages each: De-planting & fertilizing, planting and finally laying of the lawn. Design each phase separately. While carrying out of the steps, you can do it in two ways:

  • Slow and steady: Approach each phase separately. Complete all the stages of each phase and then move to the next. You can spend three days on each phase, completing a stage per day. I did it using this method mainly because I'm a bit lazy. This method consumes less of your time per day. But it'll take quite a lot of days before you can complete your garden.
  • Turbo-charged: Approach all phases simultaneously. Here you will have to complete one stage of all phases and then move onto the next stage. You can complete one stage per day. If you have few consecutive free days with absolutely nothing to do other than gardening, you can use this method. It is a very tiring method.

You can carry out the steps in any manner that is befitting. You can combine the above two methods to get a satisfying way.

Leave certain plants, which you like untouched. Build your garden around those plants. They are the centres of attraction. You can grow small shrubs around that plant in a sort of curve. You do not want an overcrowded garden. Having certain plants as the Centres Of Attraction (COA) gives the garden a simple yet beautiful look. They will be like the how the centrepieces of a flower arrangement are at the weddings.

If you do not have an plant you like to be your COA, don't fret. You can buy a nice flower-bearing plant or a small tree. If you go in for a tree, make sure it is not a deep-rooted large tree, because it will disrupt the growth of the plants around it. I would suggest flower bearing plants. After all, they are going to be your centrepieces.

Phase 1 of my garden has three COAs. I have 3 lines of shrubs. Two of those lines run along the boundary of phase 1 area. The third shrub line runs through the middle curving its way around the COAs. I plan to lay lawn in the open areas between the shrub lines.

As you can see, there are two grown plants, which are the COAs. The third COA is still growing. The lawn hasn't been laid yet. I have also made a small rock garden in the corner.

STEP 2: Procuring the plants and manure
The plants, which have to be brought, can classified into the following types:
  • COA: Plants of a significant height, which are very attractive.
  • Shrubs: Plants of low height, which can be planted along a line.
  • Lawn: You should approximately know the area of the places where you want to lay in square feet while placing the order.
  • Creepers: If you do not want to lay lawn, you can use creepers as a substitute. I suggest you grow creepers in small area. Creepers grown over a large can give the look of swamp sometimes. You can also plant creepers in pots and hang them if you have hooks in your garden.
You can get these plants at horticulture camps or gardening shops. For those who are in Bangalore, India, you get plants at a reasonable price at Lalbagh. You will need a lot of shrub plants. Do not be alarmed if you even have to buy 30 plants of the same shrub. I had to buy 15, 20, 35 plants of the corresponding plant in the pic above. Ask the attendee at the shop about how large the shrubs will grow and decide accordingly how may you need.

You will need bags of manure. Do not restrict yourself while buying the manure. You can buy animal dung manure or plant manure, which is made from dead plants. Go for natural manure because they are healthy for the soil.

Here are a couple of plants I bought:

I will discuss the next steps in my next post. Till then, happy gardening!


  1. What are those purple flower ones called?

    1. They are asters! I got them from Lalbagh botanical garden