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Create a Garden that Expresses Your Style

creating GardenOften, the most attractive element of an office or home is not the building itself, but the exterior space that it occupies. Shade trees, colorful flowers, flowing water and inviting walkways lend to the ambience of a site. Just as an interior design style reflects personal taste, so also can the exterior space make a design statement. An aesthetically satisfying landscape can enhance the quality and enjoyment of the living space. A house need not be grandiose; a cozy cottage with a well-kept garden and visual appeal becomes a relaxing and satisfying home.

A garden can be a reflection of your unique living style as well as the geographical area in which you live. Gardens can evoke a feeling of serenity. A few well-placed large stones, miniature trees and small stands of bamboo can create the feel of a Japanese garden. A well-defined grassy area ringed by marigolds or roses with a central canopy table and wrought-iron chairs evokes an English garden.

To create a garden that reflects personal taste, take a few minutes to think about how you enjoy your outdoor time. Do you play lawn games such as croquet or badminton? Do you enjoy reading in a hammock under a tree? Do you have small children that like to use a wading pool? Do you entertain outdoors? What are the seasonal weather patterns of your area? How much snow or frost does your area get each year? How hot and direct is the sun in the summertime?

Creating the garden need not be an expensive undertaking. Planning the activity areas and vegetation can be a fun family activity. Although a professional landscape architect can be used to plan and develop the exterior space, a do-it-yourself project may be more satisfying and can be implemented in stages. Keeping each phase small and well-defined will help the vegetation to become established and the project manageable.

Choosing plants that thrive in your geographical area will help the garden succeed. In dry climates, use plants that need little water like cactus. The many types of cactus, from tall ocotillo to low-to-the-ground barrel cactus, provide a variety of colors and shapes that enliven the space. When rain comes to the desert garden, the blooms are breathtaking.

If your yard has shade trees, low-light flowers such as lilies can be planted for color and interest. Many are self-propagating, so a small investment to start with will give a good yield after a year or two. Small grassy areas are easier to maintain. Pebble paths through the space add charm and aid permeability.

A kitchen garden provides fresh, savory herbs almost all year round. Aromatic plants like sage and thyme do well in poor soils and tolerate cold weather. The many varieties of basil provide not only a ready supply of herbs, but add color and fullness along a rock wall or in an unused space next to the house.

A little planning, a few basic tools and a bit of dedicated time will result in an enjoyable outdoor living space. Your garden can grow and evolve along with your imagination and skills.

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