Garden Design: Asking the Right Questions

Categories|Garden Design
Garden Design: Asking the Right Questions

At Spotts Garden Service, plants are the last thing we choose when designing a garden. Instead, we ask “How do you want to live in your outdoor space?” What functions does the garden need to fulfill?

With a function-first approach, you can create a garden that reflects you and suits your particular spot of earth!

The Human Touch

We begin by asking a lot of questions of the clients, about how they want to live in the garden.

How much time can you devote to maintaining this garden?

Whether you’re planning to do your own gardening or hiring help, we need to design a garden you can keep in good shape! Knowing how much maintenance you want to invest can eliminate some styles and plants right off the bat.

How do you want to live in your outdoor space?

  • Do you have pets or children? How do we need to accommodate them?
  • Do you plan to entertain in this garden?
  • Are you a cook? Do you want fresh herbs or a kitchen garden?
  • Do you like to drink your morning coffee or an evening cocktail outside?
  • When do you spend time in the garden: morning, evening, weekend?
  • Where do you keep your trash can? Grill? Compost heap?
  • Do you want to attract birds, butterflies, bees, or wildlife?
  • Do you have outdoor hobbies we should make room for?

Do you have favorite plants or styles?

  • How tidy do you like your garden?
  • Do you like bright colors or restful greens?
  • Do you like a certain specific garden design style?
  • Do you have plants with sentimental associations? Plants you love?
  • Are there any plants you particularly dislike?

Garden Design: Asking the Right Questions

What Does The Site Say?

The human element is only part of the equation. We also observe the site carefully for answers to these questions:

  • How much sunlight do different parts of the garden get?
  • What is the soil pH?
  • How much organic matter does the soil contain?
  • Where is the water source?
  • How does water flow through the garden? How can we ensure it gets back into the ground instead of running off?
  • Should we highlight or screen view of the surrounding properties?
  • Do we need to solve specific challenges, like boggy locations, wet basements, spots with forgotten concrete under them, microclimates, or old tree stumps?
  • How can we encourage wildlife, make use of native species, and otherwise be good environmental stewards?

Butterfly Garden

Pulling It Together

Good design can solve a multitude of woes in the garden. For example,

  • Regrading and installing a rain garden can eliminate a soggy basement.
  • A rose hedge can force people to go through the gate instead of cutting across the garden.
  • A pergola on the west side of the house can cool the interior of the house and create a shaded spot for entertaining.

Style—colors, textures, influences—all guide us in creating a garden, but they are secondary to how the garden functions.

Let Us Design for You!

If you’re ready for a new outdoor space, we can create one that works for you! Contact us today to get started.