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Plant Selection

February 10, 2017

Over summer you may have visited a friends house and admired the landscape design of their property.  Chances are that a large part of what you were appreciating was a well-conceived and put together garden design.  Garden design is at its simplest a planting plan of the selected plant material for a space where a garden is to be formed.  At its best it’s an art form blending horticulture, ecology and psychology that can create an amazing range of responses from those lucky enough to experience it. 

For many embarking on a garden design project it can be a bit overwhelming.  The range of plant choices is vast with many factors that can determine the health, longevity and success of the initial vision.


If you are contemplating the design of a garden area, these thoughts will be useful to guide you in the right direction.

Firstly, you will need to know what sort of garden it is you wish to create.  Don’t be bound but trends , but think through what you like and what garden elements speak of your personality.  Make a list of any plants you would love to use.  The list you come up with may have a sentimental or emotional connection for you.


Look at the space you have and its physical characteristics.  How much sunlight does it get through the day and through the seasons?  What is the quality of the soils present?  Is the site exposed to winds?   These and other physical factors will limit the plants you can successfully choose to match up with the specific characteristics of your site.  If you are at a plant nursery often the plant label will describe the conditions a plant will require to thrive.  Another great hint when making plant selections is to look around locally and see what’s doing well in neighbouring gardens in similar situations.  There’s a good chance they will also do well at your place.


Think about how much time you want to put into maintaining your new creation and be sure to tailor the design to match the energy and enthusiasm you have for gardening. 


Finally be prepared for allow your garden to change with time.  Gardens aren’t static and half the fun and enjoyment can be in making adjustments here and there, removing a plant that’s not doing well or trying the new plant out that caught your eye at the nursery.


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2013 FORM garden architecture ltd | Craig Wilson | Registered Landscape Architect | Christchurch | Website by Studio Blue NZ

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Craig Wilson, FORM Garden Architecture