Interior Designer Elkhart Goshen Indiana
Have you ever wondered what the secret is to designing a beautiful garden? I believe successful design, whether, inside or out, doesn't just check off one box . Design is complicated and every decision affects the others (form+function+inspiration=success). So design success starts with knowing what you want. That means that doing the planning and the research (I lovingly call 'homework') before the buying and the digging will ensure the process is easier, quicker and calmer for everyone involved.
I am often asked about my gardens and you might be surprised to know that the perfect garden does not have to cost a lot of money. There are cost effective ways to make sure the garden looks as good as possible. and I'm going to share my design process and a few of my favorite garden design secrets to help.
Mornings are my favorite time to be in the garden. I love starting my day with a good cup of coffee, a hymn in my head and a meet and greet with God. It feels like the best inhale ever....like new life...both calming and refreshing at the same time. I feel connected with God while I'm in my garden and seem able to hear Him best among the beauty and the birds. Some people call this morning devotions or garden therapy, and those are all good but sometimes the best description is sacred rhythm, shalom, and Sabbath rest, because after this encounter, I feel empowered, confident and ready to take on the world because It sets the baseline beat of my day and my life.
So, let's get this baseline beat started for you and your lovelies!
Step 1: Create the plan!
The first thing you'll need to do is create a plan (I can hear the cries of despair already) and here is why - because it will save you lots of time and money (and energy) and help you make sense of your ideas. It will also act like a road map to get you where you want to go. If a plan is going to succeed, you need to have a vision and a goal otherwise you "might" get distracted along the way or even worse - discouraged and give up. So before you start digging holes and making endless trips to the stores to buy all that eye candy, let's think like a designer does and put the horse before the cart.
Step 2 - Create the design!
A design is a pleasing composition of all your thoughts, goals, ideas and variables brought to life in a manner that makes sense and looks good to you and your family. I did the one used at the start of this blog post by hand using paper, color pencils and markers. Creating a pleasing composition can be challenging for most people without some experienced coaching and lots of hands on experience (aka: failures) so don't hesitate to hire a professional to help achieve your vision quicker and easier than you can do on your own (wink, wink).
Step 3 - Implement the plan by completing the to do list or action steps.
Now you source and shop for the items within your budget! Buy the seeds, bulbs, perennials, annuals - whatever is on your plan! There is not as much shopping going on as if you were just winging it, but that just means you're spending more time doing more important things like going on vacations and attending kids soccer games!
Hello Gorgeous Black Eyed Susan - you diva you!!!
Step 4 - Install the plan and accessorize
Now it's time to dig the holes and fill them up with all those goodies!
Step 5 - Enjoy the garden in all seasons (aka: live the dream)!
Another goal of my garden is to be an extension of my home. Because of limited resources and because my Mr. Man and I do not share the same design aesthetic, interior design is a slow moving process inside our home. But hey - It's hard coming up with the 'right mix' when one partner loves flowers and bold color and the other one loves tractors, tools and lots of brown. But, my gardens are my space and have become my canvas and a way for me to express myself and create beauty as I am led - and nobody complains when the vases are full of summertime blooms!
Now that you know the simple steps involved in design, here are some of favorite design tips:
Tip #1 - Think about your expectations for the garden....is it a space to linger with friends, a play space for children, a place to connect with God during morning devotions or a place to grow healthy vegetables for your family? My goals have been all of the above at one time or another. Now that my children are grown, it's just me, God and my diva chicken Susan doing morning garden therapy together but I want to bring some of that special garden therapy inside to remind me of my morning outside all season long.
Tip #2 - Ask your family what they love to eat from a garden and about their expectations and then research the details. Paying attention to everyone's expectations is important because when others are involved and their needs are being met, the 'implementing' step (planting & weeding) happens more quickly and with less drama.
Tip #3 - Plan for the future by making your design flexible. think about how your garden may change over the years as your family grows and you age - you know, when the kids have grown and are replaced by diva chickens instead!
Tip #4 - Think of your yard as a musical or a play and create unique sets that each tell a story for each scene of the play in more than one area. When one set is finished with it's production, the next set starts a new one. This ensures an extended, cohesive story of color and texture throughout the entire season.
Tip #5 - Start with the big clean up or 'edit' -- you'll need to get rid of everything that you don't need and that is preventing the makeover from taking place. Start by pulling weeds and clearing debris. You want to create that blank 'canvas' so that you can create something both functional and beautiful and meaningful for you and your lovelies.
Tip #6 - Some plants can be planted together in mass (large groups) instead of in rows because it looks more dramatic (most of the time) and because as one finishes up the other begins. For example, I plant lettuce and spinach with zucchinis and melons because when the spring plants are finished, the summer plants are just taking off. This uses my 'space' efficiently (I don't like looking at large areas of brown dirt or the texture and color of mulch), This strategy also provides our family with continuous goodies all season long. I use the same strategy in my flower gardens. Some flowers such as daffodils bloom during the Spring and then Summer blooming Black eyed Susan's or Chrysanthemums are planted along side the spring bulbs because they start blooming in Summer
TIP #7-Purchasing lots of annual bedding flowers not only gets costly but unless you recycle all the plastic grow trays, isn't so good for our planet - which kinda defeats the purpose of a garden doesn't it? So, I grow annual flowers from seeds. It's really easy and you don't need a green house or plastic containers to do it. Just plant your annual seeds directly into the dirt at the end of April and let nature take over. The seeds won't sprout until the ground is the correct temperature and usually tiny seedlings that are either close to the house or close to the ground stay warm enough to avoid frost damage that might occur in late Spring. How cool is that! Then, usually sometime in May after a good hard rain, I take a spoon and scoop then out of the ground and transplant them exactly where I want them. I know the local greenhouses might hate me for this - but with a little practice, you'll find it works great, you'll save money and you'll have loads of colorful blooms exactly where you need them. I have success doing this with sunflowers, marigolds, assyliums, petunias, and zinnia and it is the perfect way to accessories my gardens.
In conclusion, remember that creating a beautiful garden design uses the same steps I use when creating a beautiful and meaningful home.
1. Write down a plan
2. Draw a design that makes sense,
3. Implement, delegate and mange the work!
4. Make final adjustments and accessorize until the gardens meet your expectations and then...
5. Harvest the results & live the dream.
I hope you are inspired to create something beautiful and meaningful today and I hope you've enjoyed my garden design tips, memories and photos.
One of the questions I always ask my clients as I get to know them is, where is God preparing your room (John 14: 2-3)? The answer to this question for me is in a flower garden.
So, where is God preparing your room? Could He be designing a beautiful garden for you too? I'd love to hear the answer!
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About this blog...
I began writing this blog in May 2016 after discovering that my mother always wanted to be a writer. She has Alzheimer's disease and she'll never realize her dream. Sometimes in our deepest grief we are motivated to encourage others to fearlessly be themselves so that their gifts and stories are shared. I mean, how else can we change the world?. So I began to record the things that reflect who I am and what is important to me, because one day my memories too, may be gone and what would that mean to the people God gave me to care for and the good works He gave me to do? So, here is where I share the important stuff so that you can learn real design, not decorator tricks, but fundamental and salient concepts to apply so that you can create your own exemplary home and so that my family and I can remember the life we lived and created here in our home, our sacred place. Because my work is important, this is also where I share my favorite design projects and how good design enhanced their lives as well. I hope you're inspired and encouraged as I share my memories, my work, my mission & my life. Many blessings, (Numbers 6: 24-26)