More in Outdoors
First, determine the type of garden you want to create. If a casual, relaxing space is what you desire, locate your garden in an area that's quiet and tucked away. Next, come up with a design plan. The Internet can be a great source of inspiration, and gardening experts will guide you in the right direction.
Before you begin planting, conduct a soil test. This will determine what additives need to be worked into the soil and what plants will grow best. Soil testing determines the ph, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium levels.
When it's time to plant, create visual interest by arranging plantings in three tiers. The "basement" level, which is your carpet of ground cover, includes low growing plants such as lambs ear, ivy and bergenia. The "mezzanine" level features medium-sized plants such as coral bells and hostas. The third -- or "penthouse" -- level should include taller plantings such as an arbor covered climbing roses.
For even more visual interest, turn to container pots filled with evergreens or ornamental grasses. You can also create unique planters by simply drilling holes into the bottoms of containers. Fill them with rocks, add soil and fertilizer and plant. If using an arbor as a focal point, add interest by hanging wind chimes or placing a garden bench underneath.
For those cool summer nights, include a fire pit and a few chairs topped with comfortable all-weather cushions. Also, sprinkle in other garden features such as a calming water feature and even something whimsical. Use stepping stones to lead into the garden and accent the path with solar lanterns.