Tips on Buying Garden Plants

If heading off to the garden centre on a day out you should first take the time to view your garden and see what plants you actually need to buy. I find that winter is the best time of year to plan out the garden and to decide what garden plants and what colour is needed and where

It is also a good idea to have a rough sketch of your garden so that you can jot down ideas and plans for your garden. I always need to work from a plan as it keeps me focussed and prevents me from buying the wrong garden plants or impulse buying when out in the garden centre

When choosing plants for your garden here are a few quick and simple tips that will hopefully make your life simpler:

  1. Keep it simple. I have designed gardens over the years and with each new garden I would only introduce 3 or 4 new plants. It is best not to buy lots of plants that you don’t know or never heard of. Try to stick to the plants that you know and that you know will work and grow in your garden, and then add maybe 3 or 4 new varieties that you can experiments with
  2. Repetition makes for good design. Your garden will look more coherent and connected when you repeat planting schemes across your garden. Instead of having a mixture of 50 different plants it will look better to have a flowing garden with 15 or 20 different plant types
  3. Plant en-mass and in odd numbers. In the wild; landscapes are often dominated by just a few different plants which give a place its character. When designing and working with garden plants you should keep this in mind. So you can plant 5, 7, 12 or 19 of the same plant together in long drifts or blocks in your garden borders. This will create a stronger and more defined planting scheme. This will also work with the advice in steps 1 and 2
  4. Focal points are key to a finished planting scheme. While keeping it simple it is important to add a few specimen garden plants across your borders. These should be the stand out plants, the larger and more architecturally formed plants that will catch the eye and give the planting scheme a rhythm and flow
  5. When choosing your garden plants start with the larger specimens and choose where to position them and how many you will need. Then choose the medium sized shrubs, again the position and how many you will need and lastly choose the in-fillers or temporary colour plants (such as annuals, perennials & bulbs)
  6. A planting scheme will be most successful when there is a balance in the colour scheme while having a contrast between garden plant forms or habits. So, from the outset you can decide on a colour scheme and as you choose the specimens and shrubs you should consider the form of each plant and arrange them in a way that gives a flow to the borders