Creating a garden plan

Lastly, I make a low-tech paper plan to double-check that this is all going to work.

Draw a plan on paper

  • Cut out rectangles of paper and colour them to match the flower colours of your chosen plants.
  • Draw a rough garden layout on another paper with the same proportions as your actual garden shape.
  • Place the paper rectangles for taller plants in the back and shorter ones in the front. I write the height of each plant on the coloured rectangles.
  • Plan to have 1 plant per square foot. By planting densely, you reduce the space and light for weeds to grow.
  • Distribute the colours like pizza toppings. Or, you can cluster brighter colours together as focal points, with white, blue, or grasses in between.
  • I try to place plants that bloom at the same time together on the plan to make combinations.
Arranging paper rectangles that represent drifts of different flowers.
  • Cut the rectangles into irregular shapes to make them fit together into your space.
  • Moving the paper pieces around is easier than digging up and moving plants in the ground.
  • Pay attention to the background behind your garden. If your house is red brick, red flowers will blend in if they’re placed right in front of it. Instead place contrasting-coloured flowers, such as white, in front of a brick house, and then the red flowers in front of the white ones. Likewise, if the fall leaves of a shrub are red, you won’t notice them in front of red brick. Instead choose a shrub with yellow fall colour.
The final arrangement of paper pieces that have been cut into more natural shapes.
  • Expect to make ‘field adjustments’ when you plant.