Can I design my own garden?

Edible garden in Dallas, TX (US) designed by the homeowners

Edible garden in Dallas, TX (US) designed by the homeowners

July 1, 2011

Since there are so many beginners in the group here (and apparently the majority of us have little or no landscaping experience), I'd like to talk about confidence.

It's nice to read about how to put in edible landscaping. It's nice to hide an edible plant inside a clump of traditional landscaping plants (and if that makes you happy, great, but that's not really what this site is about).

What separates out those who pick up the pencil, get out the shovel (or hire someone else to) and change their yard to something different from the rest of the housing tract is usually confidence in their own abilities.

Unfortunately, most schools don't foster confidence in artistic ability. And I know from personal experience that there's a big difference in knowing how to do something and actually doing it in front of your neighbors (who may or not look at you like you're crazy).

But if you really want your yard to change, no one else is going to do it but you.

Are you just starting and not sure where to begin? A prior newsletter issue, "Where to begin?" addresses this pretty well, I think.

Print out the article and follow the steps. If you still need help, you can try my workbook, "How to make your own garden landscape design plans," or you can
contact me for a consultation and we can talk about it.

Do you have a plan, but are afraid to start? It's okay. Make a list of everything that needs doing: hardscape changes, plants that need to be removed, plants that need to go in, etc. See what you can do yourself and see what you need to hire someone to do.

(In my interview with Landscape Designer Heidi Schreiner we talk some about how to decide that.)

Then choose something from the list and start. Even small steps add up!

(If you need some inspiration, take a look at some good quotes that have helped me get going!)

Are you part way through and feeling discouraged? Stop and take stock of what you've already accomplished. Make a list of what you've done so far. Feel good about it! Give yourself a reward. Then take a few days off to regroup and plan where you want to go next. Sometimes a little relaxation can renew your enthusiasm and get you going again.

Is something you're trying to do yourself too challenging for you? Sometimes spending money to hire a group of teenagers to shovel gravel for you or a contractor to put in that concrete walkway is money well spent.

This is supposed to be fun. Procrastination, dreading your time outside, and discouragement are signs that something is wrong. Take some time to pinpoint what the problem really is, then take steps to change what needs changing. Your garden will thank you!

What has helped you have more confidence in your ability to put in edible landscaping? Share it with us!

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