Instant Gratification for Cottage-Style Front Garden Design
Marian recently moved into her Southeast Portland home and knew how much love and care the previous owner took in the garden. The backyard is beautiful and oversized for the neighborhood but the front yard just looked tired and dull. She hired me to do a complete planting design overhaul.
Landscape Design To Installation Timeline
Getting from design day to finished garden can take anywhere from 1 month to several years! It depends on the size of the project, the skill of the people doing the work and the budget. This is a great example of a quick timeline for a landscape project. I collaborated with Marian in April to turn her goal (“I want to smile when I walk up the driveway”) into a full garden design and planting plan.
In about a month, Marian DIY’d the entire plan- ripping out plants and the old path, and installing a new path, adding a fountain and putting her new plants in their places. As she will say, she met all of the neighbors finally because she was out front so much. Check out the before photo!
Blooms Backed by Evergreens
Even a cottage-style garden needs to have winter structure in order to work. The design’s winter structure includes Carex (Grass), Erysimum (Wallflower), and Calluna (Heather). There are also a few larger structural plants that will take time to make an impact, including Abies procera ‘Glauca Prostrata’ (Dwarf Noble Fir) and Trachelospermum jasminoides (Star Jasmine vine)
Instant Gratification Gardening in Portland
Most gardens take 2-3 years to fill in. You’ve seen photos on this blog or perhaps watched a neighbors yard take a few years to really grow in. For many people this is part of the joy and seeing fresh mulch without weeds is a beautiful thing. But, if you are the sort that wants the garden to look fantastic in year one, I can share a few tricks.
- Hardscape landscaping matters so pay attention to the paths and hardscape. Even the most beautiful plants can’t make up for a path that doesn’t work. All we did was change the line of the path to a simple clean curve and ditch the existing paver materials. The client installed the new path line without a single wobble and now her path sets off her new plants beautifully.
- Add lots of bulbs, biennials and annuals: These are easy to buy in bulk or even seed. They add that wow factor that gives the feeling that you’ve really transformed the space. This is the main trick used in this garden.
- Plant densely: yes, it costs more to buy twice as many plants and yes, you will have to remove some plants after 5 years. But for the most part, their foliage will knit together quickly and look nice and lush years earlier. Take care that your long term trees and shrubs are properly spaced and planted in their long term location. Do the fun overplanting with bi-annuals, trust worthy perennials, bulbs and annuals too.
- Buy big: this one is obvious. Focal point plants or front and center beds that will make the most visual impact and are the best places to splurge. Get a bigger size (aka older plant) to start out with and plant it correctly. This is especially true for trees and it’s as important with boulders and garden art because dinky doesn’t do it.
Are you ready to transform your garden and smile every time you come up the driveway? Contact us today to get started.