Garden Design, Gardening, Guest Posts, How To, Plants

The key element of having a good landscape is making it look natural. However, the beauty of nature lies in the chaos it presents and how organic it is at all times. This implies that creating a natural landscape design not only involves thorough planning, but also requires the use of organic materials for its better growth.

Landscape design
The end result would comprise of a beautiful landscape made out of native plants and will also have sustainability features. Here are a few tips for designing a landscape that focuses on natural, sustainable plants:

1. Make use of native plants

Keeping the native growth intact is one of the first steps towards a natural landscape. The native plants are more adaptable to the weather around and require a lot less maintenance as compared to the new, brought in plants. These plants can handle extreme conditions like drought in their area and are thus sustainable in nature. Apart from that, the natural growth of these plants adds to the beauty of the design and gives a more natural feel to the landscape.

2. Add edible plants onto the landscape to make it sustainable

A landscape can become sustainable only by adding a mix of edible plants to the already growing native plants. Trees providing fruits and nuts are very popular in landscape designs as not only they adapt well to the landscapes, but also provide food for the community around. Edible plants are becoming a major part of the landscape design these days in the form of individual vegetable gardens as well as community garden plots.

Snail eating strawberry

3. Take inspiration from the surrounding native landscape

A landscape must always be designed on paper or a screen first to understand how it might really look. Using a landscape design software will allow you to draw a plan of your site before moving further with any decisions. One can always take inspiration from the neighboring and surrounding landscapes to get a clear idea of what needs to be made. This will help one understand the nature the plants need to take along with maintaining the aesthetic appeal of the landscape as well.

4. Make use of all the space available

Open spaces play a major role in natural landscapes due to their disorganized nature. These landscapes include logs of wood lying here and there, meadow grass, and a couple of pathways to walk into. Landscape designing software can help the designers plan the area out well, leaving enough room for open spaces and the plantations to breathe in. Empty spaces also allow the plantings to take a course of their own, giving the landscape a more rugged look.

5. Stay away from pesticides and fertilizers

A fully functional and sustainable landscape intercepts rainwater, keeps the air clean, forms a micro climate, and also provides grains for the community around. However, use of pesticides and unnatural enhancers may make them grow faster but doesn’t make them last longer. The chemicals have a harmful effect on both the land and the plants they’re used on. The fruits and nuts obtained from edible plants too aren’t free of these chemicals and could prove harmful. Thus, a natural landscape should be designed and grown with the help of organic materials.

Sean RiggsSean Riggs is a seasoned entrepreneur and technologist with over 20 years of experience in building, operating, scaling and managing technology focused businesses. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

Guest Posts, Mrs P

There are days when I could think of quite a few things to keep me in the house. There are times in the garden when the graftiest of graft can give pretty lean results. There are moments of quiet satisfaction even when its mundane jobs that have been tacked and done.

And there are days when the magic happens, the plan comes together, a changing landscape emerges and the thought that was in your head comes to fruition right in front of your eyes.
And it’s so worth it!

You’ve seen glimpses of it, right at the back by the shed. This time last year it was knee-deep in overgrowth, out-of-control raspberries, ‘Rhu’ the rhubarb fighting for air with various rampant rogues as well as half the estates’ brambles. And now you get to see the transformation.

First I cleared it last summer, moving Rhu and raspberries to new homes and de-weeding in girly style with my trowel.

Then I got serious and unearthed years of broken glass and other debris and let it settle down over the winter covered in weed control fabric. With spring came break through weeds, and where the wind had blown or rips had appeared, out popped the crop of undesirables that you wish had a place at our menu as they grow so easily.

Then with steady thought, plenty of coffee, a new saw, a change of plan, a delivery of wood, came a frame. More weed control, a shake of gravel, some double checking with the spirit level, a bit of screwing and hey ho, I have my unique decking- Amazing!

I went for scaffolding boards in the end for ease and because if we need the wheelchair up that end I thought they would be nice and strong although I have no doubt decking would do the job just as well. I’m liking the effect- A lot. In fact, so much do I like the effect that it galvanised me into action last weekend and a couple of nights after work to clear the last really untackled bit in the back corner, even getting behind the fence and cutting back massive branches that have wanted to be tackled for years. Yes, it created a bit of a logistical problem, two scrawny arms and enough cuttings to bury the garden, but never mind, I’ll cut it up an bag it up over the next couple of weeks. The brambles are in the incinerator waiting for a dry evening. Some of the roots were huge but the whole back fence is clear of them and with the roots out I am hoping life will be scratch free from now on.

With sunshine on the way I’m looking forward to a gentle weekend of contemplation when I can admire progress so far (because there is always more isn’t there) and think about whether it’s a pond, a water feature, a geometric paved feature or a very yummy jammy, sticky cream cake that I need to be getting my teeth into next. I wonder what will win?!

Mrs P