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How to Create a Balanced Deck Garden Design

Oct 9, 2007
Creating a balanced deck garden design is best achieved by following a series of basic principles. The repetition of colors and textures throughout the bed planting greatly helps to create rhythm within the design and draw it together visually.

Several clusters of the same yellow daylily placed down the center of the bed could be mirrored colorwise by marigolds of the same shade. It is wise to concentrate on repeating plants that offer especially long bloom times, healthy foliage and large, plentiful and colorful blooms.

Generally taller perennials and shrubs are placed at the back of a bed with shorter ones in front. However this can look too rigid. So it is a better strategy to bring some taller plants out a bit mixed with medium sized ones and move some midsized plants to the front to give the planting bed depth and variety. Try mixing plant forms also, interspersing clumps that are upright in nature with others that are of the mounding type.

Deck gardens with plants that are all the same shape are generally quite boring. Make a point of mixing rounded, vertical and flatter type plants throughout the garen plot to achieve a sense of visual contrast. Interest can also be added by combining plants that have very large leaves with those having small, finely textured ones. The repetition of these contrasting combinations creates rhythm in the design and brings a sense of unity also.

Another basic principle that works is to add visual symmetry by echoing the shapes and textures of certain plants. Clumps of perennials with a rounded habit such as sedum can be planted along the front of the bed. Larger ornamental grasses can be placed at intervals along the back of the bed to create a sense of excitement. Repeat these shapes with smaller grasses or clumps of yuccas toward the front of the bed.

The installation of a large planting bed around a deck can be a major project involving a good deal of work. It makes sense to spread the work out by preparing and planting sections over several weekends or even over a season or two. Fall is an excellent time for digging new beds because the weather is cooler and the soil is generally moist and easier to work.

Once the digging is complete it is simply a matter of mulching heavily for the winter and eventually doing the planting in the spring. The best sequence for planting consists of doing trees, shrubs and vines first followed by perennials and other plants last.

If the physical tasks are too daunting it is always possible to hire help to remove lawn grass and weeds and also prepare the soil. Avoid tilling weeds and grass into the soil. The weeds will simply resprout to create the same old problem again. Cut off the lawn in strips with a spade or rent a sod cutter to remove it. To discourage any weeds that remain add a layer of 8 sheets of newspaper over top of the soil before spreading a layer of mulch on top.

Adding more plants to a deck garden results in a layered effect. Beds that are densely planted crowd out most weeds and cover and protect the soil. As a result less weeding and mulching is required and this markedly cuts down on garden maintenance time and effort. The result is a season long show of gorgeous blooms and foliage. The space around and under shrubs can be filled with perennials and ground covers.

A layer of hardy bulbs beneath all of the other plants can add color at the beginning and end of the season. Annuals can be placed within the bed to fill in any areas that cry out for attention.

A balanced deck garden design does not happen overnight and it does not happen accidentally. Using specific design principles it is easily possible to create one that is aesthetically pleasing and blends in beautifully with the deck that it borders.
About the Author
Richard Vande Sompel is a professional deck builder of 35 years and over 850
decks built and is the author of "How to Plan, Design and Build a Deck from
Start to Finish". To Discover More About
Deck Garden Design and Claim your 2
FREE Deck Plans, Insider Report, MP3 Audio and discover everything to know about
building a deck visit:
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