Planning your landscape in the winter-- Landscape Design
Landscape Design in Winter... planning for spring!
Winter is a great time to plan out your garden. While things are bare, you can really get a feel for what works and what doesn’t. This is the time of year that gardeners begin to plan and buy seeds. Now, I hope you have worked on your landscape designs as well. If not, I will touch on that more after this sample design: I give you a simple nativizing Butterfly garden bed.
One of the great things about a butterfly garden is that it can attract beautiful butterflies (duh) but is also low maintenance and can be as small or large as you want! It gets curious kids very interested, doesn't require fancy soil amendments and is generally an easy care job. It features annuals that can be grown from seed and re-seed themselves, perennials that (if not native exactly) will become very comfortable in your KS garden and a few shrubs for structure and year-round interest.
-Low Maintenance (no fancy pruning required)
-Xeric or simple water requirements (would like regular water until established, please!)
-Butterfly gardens need a place for butterflies to get water. This could be a rock that holdswater but some sources say that a shallow bowl, filled with moist soil worksbetter for the insects.
-They also need protection from wind, so place the whole bedin a protected place (or plant butterfly bush around one edge to form a windblock).
Shrubs to ground the bed:
Buddleia, ‘Black Knight’ (wonderful dark purple butterflybush- 5-6’H) (from plant)
Rhus typhina (Sumac), ‘Tigers Eye’ (from plant)
Perennial Flowers from plant:
Achillea (Yarrow), ‘Paprika’ (plant)
Coreopsis gradniflora, ‘Zegreb’, ‘Early Sunrise’ (plant)
Echinacea purpurea, ‘Magnus’ (seed or plant)
Lavendula, ‘Hidcote’ (plant)
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed) (plant) food source
Monarda (Bee Balm), ‘Raspberry Wine’ (plant)
Sedum, ‘Vera Jameson’ (plant)
Bronze Fennel (direct sow) - food source
Echinacea purpurea, ‘Magnus’ (direct sow or plant)
Larkspur (direct sow) - nectar
Liatris (Gayfeather) (plant, from seed) – nectar
Did you know that winter is a great time to get a design begun for your home landscape?
I really enjoy working on designs at this time of year because it's a slower, more mellow time of year. This gives me a chance to really learn about my client and work on a more complex or themed garden. I can complete a site analysis and client interview, especially efficient when the landscape is in dormancy. We can evaluate what's working and what isn't. We can also play with fun ideas- perhaps you've always wanted a Japanese garden or a xeric garden is a necessity in your life. During the slow time, designers are free to spend more time thinking and playing!
That being said, it's a good time to begin to think about what elements you will do-it-yourself and what elements are best left to the professionals! As a professional, I recommend consulting your favorite local landscape company and designer to get the best idea. I believe that small scale mulching and clean up of a few perennials and roses is a good thing for a homeowner (who enjoys it) to do. As well, maybe you have enough time and energy to work on adding some river rock to your downspout area. However, do you have drainage problems? Questions about your irrigation system's efficiency? Have a large scale lawn renovation in mind? Want to add stone edging? All of these are very important to the beauty and health of you landscape. These are the jobs that we end up re-doing for homeowners most often! So save yourself some money and invest in a complete landscape master plan/ design. This will give you an idea of where to start your own DIY work (if you want to do any yourself