Have you ever planted some seeds, then forgotten where you planted them? Most gardeners have done this. We have also planted seeds or plants on top of other pre-emerged plants in the garden because we forgot we already had something planted in the location.
Drawing a simple garden sketch plan can help prevent these garden mishaps. It also allows us to grow the right plants in the right location for the best results. You don’t have to be an artist to do this, just a simple pencil sketch will work just fine.
Plan The Garden
Make this sketch plan before you plant anything. It will help you decide what you want to grow in the garden and what will grow best in the location.
There are many types of gardens, like a cottage garden, tropical garden, food garden, forest garden, permaculture garden, monochromatic garden, cutting garden, etc. There are no right or wrong gardens, just right and wrong growing locations and growing methods.
To get the best results from whatever garden style you want to grow, draw a simple sketch plan first. Use a pencil so you can easily re-arrange the garden on paper before the hard work of planting takes place.
Decide on the location where the garden will be created. Then observe how the sunlight hits the location throughout the day. Is the location in full sun, partial sun, or full shade? The sunlight needs of plants chosen for the garden will need to match the chosen location.
You also need soil testing to determine what type of soil is in the location. Soil pH can be changed to match the type of plants you want to grow, but you need a test to determine what the soil needs and what the pH is.
Drainage is also another issue that needs to be observed and addressed before planting. Most plants will only thrive in well-draining soil. However, some drought-tolerant plants enjoy dry soil and marshland plants enjoy wet, soggy soil.
Shape And Size
Create the shape and size of a new garden by using a garden hose. A flexible garden hose is easy to move around to form curves or circles as desired. In this way, you can visualize the basic garden design before digging takes place.
Once you have decided the shape and size, draw it out on paper and start playing with plant placement within the sketch. Make note of shady areas, full sun areas, wet or dry areas, or any other information that may have an impact on which plants will grow best in a specific garden area.
Mark on the sketch where short plants are desired and where the taller plants will be appropriate. Mark off spaces on the sketch where vines, shrubs, or trees may be desired. Some plants will benefit from being planted in the shade of tall-growing plants. Vines will need plenty of room to grow and space will be needed for trellises.
Also note north, south, east, and west on the sketch since this will also help you decide the right location for each plant.
Match the right plants to the right locations, then sketch where each plant should be planted. Play around with the design and plant placement until the garden layout pleases you.
When possible, save space for seating, or a table, or other inorganic items that you may want to add in your garden.
Unless you already have seeds and plants on hand, you will need to do a little shopping to obtain plants for the garden. Be flexible when shopping for new plants because what you originally wanted may not be available. You are probably going to find a new plant that you must have.
Growing a new plant or two each year is fun. You just may find a new favorite flower or food by growing something new.
Remember to save seeds and propagate plants to keep the garden expenses down each year.
Get the plants and seeds in the garden as soon as weather permits. Make a note on your sketch of where everything is planted. If some of the seeds fail to germinate you can refer to your garden sketch to discover what was planted there. If any plants don’t survive, you won’t have to rely on memory to know what plants were there. You can refer to the sketch for the answers.
Keep A Record
Make notes on the sketch about each plant’s growing habits. This will help you determine the best locations for each plant type and where to rotate food crops.
Keeping garden records also help you know the habits of pests and disease that may show up in the garden. Knowing their habits can help you stay one step ahead of them with organic prevention methods. (I have the article, How to get rid of aphids, where an organic pesticide is introduced and explained.)
Drawing a simple garden sketch will also prevent the problems first mentioned – planting on top of something else. A sketch will remind you of where those spring flower bulbs are planted so you won’t plant a rose bush on top of them in mid-summer. It will also remind you what to be looking for in the landscape during each season of the year.
A garden record is also a treasured heirloom that can be passed down to the future gardeners in your family. Save seeds from your favorite plants to tuck into your garden records so your descendants can grow heirloom plants that started in your garden.