I have never been a natural gardener. For years, I struggled to keep basic houseplants alive, only to kill them at the first opportunity. It was difficult and stressful to buy a home with a yard, but I knew that I might be able to learn what I was doing wrong and correct the problem. To start off, I focused heavily on the lawn, and tried hard to keep it trimmed and well-maintained. Next, I cleaned up the flowerbeds. It was a lot of work, but I knew that it would pay off in the end. When I was done, my front yard was gorgeous, and guess what--it even stayed alive. This blog is all about loving your little landscape.
An Oasis In A Sea Of Green - 4 Steps To Designing An Island Garden Bed
by Charlotte White
If you have a large lawn and are looking for the perfect focal point to tie the whole thing together, why not create an island garden bed? An island garden is a colorful flower bed that is freestanding and set inside a sea of green grass or other large single yard feature (such as an oversize brick or flagstone hardscape). It is designed to be viewed from all directions and enjoy unrestricted and easy growing.
Here's an easy 4 step guide to creating your own island bed.
How to Plan an Island Garden
First, locate the large, uninterrupted space you want to use as a base for your island. You likely already know the general area that would benefit from such a focal point or that needs a dash of variety. Within this general area, place a marker or two where you think an island bed should go. Then, view this marker from all angles around it. Pay particular attention, though, to the views that will be seen most often. An island bed can make a lawn seem larger than side beds, and it can also hide something unsightly that you would like to draw the eye away from.
Next, choose a general size. Pay attention to the size of the overall yard and how easy it is to weed and plant in the space. Planting an island bed that is too small for the space only accentuates the size of the yard. Conversely, one that is too large may overwhelm the green lawn visually or make it hard to keep the garden well maintained. If you know what type of flowers you want to use, it's a good rule of thumb to make the garden bed at least twice as wide as the height of the tallest plants. So, if you want to grow delphinium (that can grow 3 to 6 feet tall), you may want to design a larger island that is at least 10 or 12 feet in circumference.
Once you have an idea of the size you want, it's time to pick a shape. Sketch shapes on a piece of paper, then mark them on the ground with wooden stakes and string or even laying out a simple garden hose. The shape will help inform the style of the yard, so choose wisely. A geometric shape like a square, for example, usually creates a modern or formal look. On the other hand, free-flowing kidney shapes are casual and informal.
Finally, start planning your flower and greenery strategies. The interior of the island bed should be higher than the outside, creating something of a shallow hill formation. Plant flowers so that they can be enjoyed from all angles (with a slight focus on the most-used viewing angles). Interesting accents -- such as rocks, stepping stones, small fountains or a sign -- can be added for a little visual perk.
Designing your island flower bed is a fun task that can give a quick and inexpensive makeover to even the most tired lawn. It can take as little as a weekend to accomplish but the beautiful results will last for years to come. For more information, contact Weiler's Lawn & Landscape or a similar company.