Thursday, 8 November 2012

Balancing beauty and practicality for your vegetable garden design

There's no hobby as relaxing, fulfilling, and useful as gardening. It will keep you active and outside during the summer. It's the cheapest way to eat, and as an extra bonus, no food tastes as good as what you grow yourself. A properly planned garden can also be a beautiful addition to your property. With many factors to consider when designing your garden, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Here are some tips to help you create the attractive vegetable garden that's right for you.

Key factors : Sun, water, soil

The first step is to choose the best location for your garden. Most vegetable crops need plenty of sun, so an unobstructed view of the south is a must. Convenient access to water is also critical. You also want to test your soil to see if it drains properly so the roots of your plants won't mould. You might need to consider designs that help improve drainage.

Choosing the right design
There are many options for designing the layout of your garden. We'll take a look at the most practical first, and then move on to more aesthetically pleasing options.

Row cropping
There's a reason why farmer's choose the standard row-cropping design, where crops are planted in single rows with about a half metre of space between. This allows for larger gardens that can be tilled and tended with machines. However, most people who grow personal gardens prefer to till, weed, and fertilise by hand. This makes it possible to have thicker rows or small plots.

Four-square gardens
One popular option is the four-square design, where a plot is divided into 2-4 square metre beds that conserve space while allowing all plants and weeds to be within arm's reach. For a better-looking and more unique garden, try plots of varying sizes and shapes, intersected with parallel and diagonal lines.

Raised beds
A personal favourite for both beauty and practicality is the raised-bed method. Here you build a 10-20 cm high wooden frame for each of your garden beds. Like a picture frame brings structure to a painting, raised beds accentuate your garden. While building the initial frames is a lot of work, there are also several practical pay-offs, such as preventing soil compacting and improving drainage. The result is a garden that grows well and looks great.

Pots aren't just for cooking

We are all used to seeing flowers and indoor plants in pots and other containers. However, most vegetables also grow well in pots. These can interspersed anywhere in your garden, along your home, or conveniently next to the grill. Not only can you choose beautiful and creative containers, but you gain portability in case some plants start to look like they need more sun.

Be creative
Whichever design you choose, remember to be creative. Adding personal finishing touches can really make your garden special. An elegant birdbath will bring welcome, bug-eating visitors as well as adding charm. An arched entry is stylish and gives you climbing plants like peas something to hold onto. The result will be a space that is pleasing to your eyes and your stomach. View some of the innovative examples of work from
Bluefishlandscapes garden designers, and their recent T.V collaboration with the loveyourgarden team, and the inspirational Alan Titchmarsh, the principal guiding hand, presiding over the talented group of landscapers.

Add colour
A truly beautiful garden takes advantage of the wonderful colour combinations nature has to offer. Growing flowers alongside your vegetables isn't just attractive, it also attracts beneficial insects that will pollinate your crops and kill harmful insects. Of course, there are also colourful vegetables that can add flare, like multi-coloured tomatoes, Swiss chard, and rhubarb.


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