Design for Beginners, Part 2

Next Generation Flower Carpet Scarlet

Flower Carpet Scarlet is paired with annuals in this colouful but low-maintenance garden

Planning a garden can be a daunting task but if you consider 3 basic components, you can do it! As I mentioned in last week’s post, we have been doing some renovations around the house over the past few months and because of some of the structural changes to the buildings, we needed to change some of the garden layouts.

As I started the planning stages for the garden renovations, I got to thinking about the fundamentals of Garden Design. In my travels for Tesselaar Plants, I have the good fortune of being able to see many incredible gardens throughout the world. That experience has been very helpful for my planning.

However, if you follow the 3 easy and basic components of Location, Maintenance and Aesthetics, you too can be on your way to a great garden planning or revitalization project.


Not many of us (well I certainly don’t) have unlimited hours to devote to our garden maintenance. So, if during the planning stages you think realistically about the time you can devote to up-keep, you can avoid some costly and time-consuming mistakes.

Obviously we all want our garden to look great at a minimal expense and maintenance time. Considering the choices of the plant palette in the design phase can save thousands of dollars in expensive maintenance or replacement.

Whilst I personally love the traditional gardens that I see in European Chateau’s I also know that this look comes at a cost with the maintenance required to achieve the look.  It’s a cost in either time and/or funds for a gardener that I cannot justify for myself.

It is important to consider how much time (or money) you are prepared to allocate in the design phase of garden planning and choosing some low- maintenance, high-performance plants such as Flower Carpet roses which bloom from Spring to late Fall, can save you dollars while still giving a great display in the garden. Flower Carpet roses require a minimum of effort or time to look great which equates to a low-maintenance garden that saves you dollars. You just feed them once each year with a slow release fertilizer and cut back with hedge shears each spring – simple!

easy care roses

Flower Carpet Pink Supreme blooms from late June through the first few frosts.

Other low-maintenance perennials include ornamental grasses, sedums, rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susans) and coneflowers, all of which are available in a wide variety of colors and sizes and work well together.

Black-eyed Susans

Blacked-eyed Susans are a low-maintenance plant and pair well with Volcano phlox

I am often surprised by our love of lawns when I know that the costs of maintaining lawns (with fertilizer, mowing, edging etc.) far outweigh the costs of looking after a garden bed, so make sure you maximize the amount of garden and minimize the lawn expanses in your garden. It’s also better for the environment.

Stay tuned for next week’s final installment of Design for Beginners which covers Aesthetics, and if you have some suggestions on how to make gardening planning or renovation projects easier, we’d love to hear them!


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