Enjoy the atmosphere of your garden through the year
24.5.2018 BY SUVI WULFF
Designing your garden is fun and rewarding. When well-planned, your garden can inspire every family member through the year. Flourishing plants, hiding places inspiring creative play, inviting furniture sets, and why not the beckoning door of a greenhouse or workshop make your garden special. We asked garden designer Sirpa Pasanen how to make the garden of your log house flourish. Read Sirpa’s tips below.
1) LISTEN TO EVERYBODY’S WISHES IN THE FAMILY WHEN PLANNING THE GARDEN
According to garden designer Sirpa Pasanen, the most important element in planning your garden is to let everybody have their say in what they wish from the garden: what they want to do outside in different seasons and how much time they want to spend taking care of the garden.
This conversation will help you get an idea of other decisions that need to be made as well: how to place different buildings on the lot, where to place the functions needed to maintain the property, how to enter the lot, and how to move about there.
Here is a list put together by Sirpa about some of the typical functions that people usually expect from their garden and that might be needed:
- Relaxing and dining – patios, furniture sets for dining and lounging, grill shelter, outdoor kitchen, gazebo, privacy screens
- Play – swing set, climbing set, trampoline, sandbox, playhouse
- Hobbies – space and storage, vegetable or herb garden, greenhouse, garden boxes, outdoor games, DIY projects
- Other functions – garage or carport, swimming pool, outdoor sauna, shed, workshop
- Property boundaries and maintenance – fence, storage shed for garbage bins, garden shed
It’s also good to remember that the city plan might limit certain options, such as the amount of separate buildings you can have on your lot, the amount of parking spaces you must have, or the point of entry to the lot. Also, the surrounding buildings and views, the land form, and the direction of the lot affect the best possible placement of the main building and the garden.
Many people enjoy a green environment. A yard plan will give you a well-functioning garden for a long time.
2) IT’S GOOD TO MAKE A COMPREHENSIVE YARD PLAN
In addition to letting every family member have their say, Sirpa Pasanen also suggests that the base work for the garden should be started at the same time with the rest of the construction work.
You should start the base work for your garden when the rest of the construction work begins.
“You should start the base work for your garden when the rest of the construction work begins. This allows you to cut down expenses. So, take note of digging, earth moving and transfer of ground, material storage, base work for entryways, cabling, subsurface drain work, and the protection of remaining trees on the lot. Big, heavy machines and vehicles are difficult to use on the lot at later stages. That means that there will be less manual work later, which allows you to save on expenses.”
The best result comes from making the garden plan at the same time when designing the house, preferably together with the architect and the garden designer. The best time for planning is winter: that way you can start implementing the plans as soon as spring comes.
3) A PROFESSIONAL CAN TAKE INTO ACCOUNT ALL THE POSSIBILITIES OF YOUR GARDEN
It’s a good idea to use a professional garden designer when you want to have a finished design fast and easy.
A garden designer is able to place the functions and the visual elements of your choice on the lot so that you can enjoy your garden in as many ways as possible. They can take into account the view from different directions, the movement on the lot, and the materials and plants that match the surroundings and your preferences. The costs of garden designers’ services vary between cities and professionals.
Garden boxes, stone garden, patio, or lush greenery?
A yard plan contains a visit to the lot, a sketch plan, and the final yard plan. To make the plan, the garden designer needs to know your wishes but also requires access to the plot plan or other map displaying the locations of the buildings, contour lines, and elevation at each corner of the plot. The house plans for each building are also necessary for an optimal placing of the desired functions. The yard is also looked at from inside the house.
4) YARD PLAN FOR A LOG HOUSE AS AN EXAMPLE
Sirpa Pasanen has made yard plans for many different lots, also those with log houses. She finds log houses to be compatible with all possible outdoor surface materials. The final choice is made according to the intended use, practicality, and the owners’ preferences. There is a wide variety of materials and colours to choose from.
What needs to be taken into account in a yard plan:
- City plans / detailed guidelines for building – building sites, entryway locations, greeneries, fences etc.
- Direction – sun’s rotation, shade, wind conditions
- Shape and size of the lot – borders with built or natural outdoor areas, embankments, slopes, walls, fences
- Surface water – drainage, soaking, delay, direction to a possible storm sewer
- Organization between functions – lounging, play, vegetable or herb gardening, drying clothes, walkways, entryways, parking, where to turn your car or pile snow in the winter
The sketch plan shows the main ideas for how the plot is used, where vegetation is placed and where surface water is directed, what vegetation is kept and where outdoor lamps are placed. This plan does not include decisions on which plants are chosen.
At a later stage, more detailed information can be added to the plan: measurements, amounts of surface materials, borders between different materials, lists of plants including trees, bushes, and perennials. More detailed information on the plants are also included: plant species and varieties, amounts, seedling sizes, and plant spacing. When you have the detailed plan, it’s easier to make inquires from landscape providers.
A yard plan including plants by Sirpa Pasanen.
5) PLANTS FINISH THE LOOK OF YOUR GARDEN – HOW TO CHOOSE THEM?
The preferences and style of the customer guides the garden designer’s choices: what colours are chosen and how easy the finished garden will be to maintain. In addition, it’s especially important to choose the plants according to their intended location.
What to take into account when choosing plants for your garden:
- Soil characteristics (frost susceptibility, permeability, bearing capacity)
- Light conditions, quality and sufficient depth of the substrate
- The correct hardiness zone for woody perennials
- Preferably native plant species or varieties that are optimal for the local climate, have good yield and resistance to diseases, and are decorative
- The colours and look of the garden in the autumn and winter
- The size of the trees with respect to the size of the yard
- Versatility of the plants (depth, leaf shape, shades of green, colours, flowering periods, evergreens and deciduous plants, conifers)
Planning your garden is an inspiring jigsaw puzzle that allows you to imagine the things you want to do in your garden. What would be your dream garden? With these tips you can start planning – or get in touch with a professional to help design your garden.