Gardening with Micki: Design garden with plan in mind | Lifestyles

Recently, I invited two longtime friends from Oklahoma City. Both are avid gardeners. One of them, John Fluitt, is a landscape architect with an impressive client list. Another Terry Zinn loves to travel the world and visit gardens.

John designed the garden plan for my home in 2012. I remember his first visit to my garden. He stood in the middle of a barren garden and simply said: Oh my! He knew that turning a barren garden into a spectacle would be a daunting task.

The design plan he created was for a back lawn and two side gardens, and he knew it would take several seasons to mature. We followed the plan exactly. At the time, I was not a master gardener and was desperate to improve my garden knowledge. What I’ve learned since then is based on some serious questions to ask yourself before planning how to garden when the future of your lawn may look bleak.

Here are some tips from John and Jeff Bredenberg, authors of How to Cheat in Gardening and Yard Work.

• Does your garden have enough sunlight and is water easily accessible?

• What do you expect from the plants in your garden?

• What are the physical limitations of my garden?

• Want to add some color to your garden?

• Do you want to shade part of your garden for privacy?

• Where would you like to place the trails and sidewalks?

• Do you want a formal garden or an informal garden?

Another wise suggestion is to decide if your informal look requires a curved kidney shape or a freeform. Also, decide whether you want rows or stilts for vegetables and herbs, clumps or drifts for perennials, hedges for privacy screening, or site boundary markings, shade or ornamental trees, and shrub groups. Finally, decide which plants go where.

When John was standing in his barren yard ten years ago, he noticed that the fences along the back and sides of the yard were great property markers. The trees are also impressive. He was delighted with the success of his design plan.

Micki J. Shelton is a master gardener from Muskogee.

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