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A sprawling outdoor space must be every gardening lover’s dream, but how do you manage a larger space? While having room to grow all kinds of species, grow your own food and herbs and still have a spot to lounge in the sun, the bigger the gardener, the more it demands from you.
Three key steps for designing and maintaining a large garden:
- Assess your space and needs
- Design your garden layout
- Select plants and materials
- Create a maintenance plan
Throughout this article, we breakdown each step into actionable advice.
Maintaining a large and luscious garden is possible with some forward thinking and dedication. If you’ve yet to landscape your garden, design is key – it’s important that you approach your space methodically. Planning is just the start; once you’ve perfected each corner, maintenance is key to keeping it thriving and healthy. You can reduce the time it takes to maintain your garden by plotting and planning well. Leaving you to stop and smell the flowers…
Assess your Space and Needs
First things first, measure your space. It’s essential to know exactly what area you’re working with if you’re going to grow and maintain a large garden successfully. Having the measurements written down will allow you to draw a detailed plan, which you can begin to play with as you discover and assess your needs.
Think about the purpose of your garden. Is it a spot to unwind? A space to trim fresh-cut flowers? Or a place to grow your own produce? The only limit here is size, so with strategic planning, it could be all three! There are endless options for ways to use your outdoor space, from creating a habitat for local critters to making a shaded space to hang a hammock or an outdoor spot to entertain friends and family.
Each purpose comes with its own considerations; here are some ideas for inspiration…
- Outdoor entertaining spot – Whether you’re barbecuing or sipping a coffee in the morning sun, you’ll need an even plot of land. This will then need decking or paving to create a surface where you can safely place furniture. If you’re a sun lover, you’ll want to place this at the right angle to catch the afternoon sun. If you prefer shade, you’ll want to see what trees or walls are nearby to shield you from the sun.
- Wellness garden – Creating a place to relax? Look for shade, shelter and quiet. So, a far corner or spot bordered by trees or shrubbery is best. You’ll also want fertile soil for planting fragrant herbs and vibrant flowers.
- Vegetable plot – If you plan on growing veg, you might want to place this towards the back of the garden. Being far away from the hustle and bustle of family life will keep your produce safe from accidental damage. You should also consider where you will get the sun and where the soil is healthiest.
Top tip: When checking the quality of your soil, you want to look for a dark black colour and even texture. The more bugs, the better!
Design your Garden Layout
Now that you’ve thought about using your garden, you can start plotting the layout. It’s a good idea to get a sheet of paper and draw what this will look like. You can draw it to specific measurements to return to later when it’s time to get stuck in.
Here are some things to think about during the design process…
- Boundaries – You can get creative when sectioning off your garden. Think of separating growing spaces with trellis walls or thriving borders. You could also use pathways and paving to lead you to different areas.
- Centrepiece – Think about whether you want your garden to have a centrepiece. If so, will this be a water feature – in which case, you’ll need a plot near a water source or a tree that can thrive over the years.
- Growing space – When showing off your green fingers, consider where and what you will grow. Do you need a strong greenhouse to start off seedlings? Can your plants be put directly in the soil? Will you use raised beds for cutting flowers and produce?
- Grassed areas – Dreaming of a garden brimming with luscious grass? Think about how much lawn space you need for your day-to-day life; remember, the bigger the lawn, the harder the maintenance. You can add decking, gravel and paving to create areas of different textures, too.
Top tip: Raised beds are a great way to add depth to your garden, while helping you grow plants in a controlled soil environment.
Selecting Plants and Materials
Now that your plan is in place, it’s time to dig in – quite literally. When it comes to growing a thriving garden, quality product is key. To have a constant supply of mulch and organic fertiliser, it’s a good idea to start a composter. This can hold organic waste from your kitchen, which can be used later to prepare soil or feed plants.
As for the plants, with a large garden, low-maintenance species should be your go-to. Here are some suggestions that are easy to grow and require little fuss afterwards…
- Hydrangea - These provide colour and require little attention. Plus, they’ll flower into the autumn.
- Lavender - Plant in the sun in well-drained soil – they don't need pruning or fertiliser – then breathe in the relaxing scent.
- Dianthus - The perfect low-maintenance border plant.
- Alliums - These are super easy to grow, and keep coming back every year with little fuss.
Create a Maintenance Plan
Now that your garden is thriving, it’s time to enjoy it. Keep maintenance in mind throughout the year to keep your outdoor space looking its best. Here are some top tips…
- Make a maintenance schedule for watering, mowing and trimming
- Create a calendar for planting and harvesting any produce
- Have an at-home composter so you always have mulch on hand
- Start a rainwater collection tank, so you always have water for your borders
- Develop ways to manage pests such as companion planting, plant covers and pesticides.
With a bit of planning and strategic maintenance, you can enjoy a sprawling (and thriving) garden. Creating dedicated sections for planting, growing and relaxing will help make your space orderly and inviting and encourage your plants to grow strong and healthily. Then, setting a schedule for weekly and seasonal tasks will aid in maintaining a beautiful space. So, all left to do is get outdoors and enjoy your hard work!