British garden designer Natalie Cade says that if it’s not in the top 10 on Gardeners’ World, you probably shouldn’t bother. She’s right.
I’ve seen more than a few green thumbs turn green when they consider a DIY mistake at home. However, Botanic gardens are uniquely placed to appreciate the different styles, shapes, and sizes of plants, which is the basis of the thousands of different garden designs that are featured each year.
Famous garden designer Natalie Cade explained that each individual garden is influenced by the surrounding environment and the surrounding seasons.
“The concept of the garden comes first, and then designers make the space safe for plants, heathy for wildlife, and enjoyable to visit,” Cade explains. “It’s all about developing a vision and then finding the right materials to achieve it. It all starts with the dirt, plants and what materials are just going to work.”
Creating a garden that reflects the surrounding environment is especially important when gardeners apply a “think globally” approach.
Botanist Jeffrey Kleintop, who works for the Garden Bird Conservancy, says that the “good ol’ U.S. of A. has tons of space to use if we stop trying to crowd out birds and conserve open spaces. In other words, we can move forward right now by leaving habitat alone in favor of building them instead.”
To achieve this vision, Southern California’s Getty Conservation Institute is planning a network of 19 “heritage” birch groves that will stretch over 590 acres. The groves will recreate a botanical forest, reminiscent of the ancient New World forests and will also introduce wildflowers and unique bird habitats in Los Angeles.
Although we might hesitate to sign up for a class because we believe we’ll hurt our backs (a true problem in the garden) or feet (which is natural, no judgment), these factors aside, a small garden can still have a powerful impact in the community.
While it’s easy to get caught up in designing big-box environments, Joel Gates, CEO of Key Gardens, a database that matches urban and gardeners, recommends paying attention to details.
“Smaller gardens are more often vertical and in most cases solar,” Gates tells The Source. “You want to target landscaping that keeps you cool, plants that will sequester water, and will help reduce the amount of energy that you use.”
The big focus is still on soil, Gates explains. “It’s about your own soil care, re-wetting the soil, getting a really good water retention system. And when you walk your weeds, then they might help capture some carbon in the soil and it’s things like that.”
Ultimately, there is no single formula to an outdoor living space that your bank account can sustain. The next time you’re considering some renovations that could cost thousands of dollars, consider investing a little effort in something you can return to all year long.