Posted on 13 July 2008 by urbangardencasual.com

Planning Your Urban Garden Carefully

By Vanessa Richins

One of the most important parts of planting a garden is planning ahead.

Your garden will look much better and you will save money and keep yourself from getting frustrated.

Here are a few suggestions you should consider when planning out your garden.

1. Size is everything! One of the most important parts of proper planning is considering the size of your garden in comparison to the size of the plants in it. When you are designing your garden, you should draw up your garden complete with accurate measurements. This will help you pick the proper plants.

In a forum I moderate, someone said they had a tree that was growing way too fast, and they found out that the eventual size would be 60=70′. They were asking if there were ways to prune the tree so it would only stay around 25′, because of neighboring houses. The best solution for this would be moving this tree to a location that can handle its size.

Many garden design problems stem from choosing the wrong plants for your garden. When you are considering plants, ALWAYS be sure to find out the size that the plant will be at maturity.

2. Group plants together that have similar requirements. For example, some plants require much more water than others. You can conserve water and make watering much easier if you group plants together. Other requirements may include pH and sun.

3. Watch your zone and know your plants. The USDA has produced a map that splits the country into 11 zones. Each plant will have a certain set of zones that it will grow well in. While these are not absolute, they are a good guideline to follow.

At a local home improvement store here in Zone 5, I found Princess Flower (Tibouchina urvilleana). The problem is…this plant is tropical, and grows best in the warmer zones of 9-11. It can grow in Zone 8, but will die back in the winter until warmer weather returns.

If I was to plant this outside here in Zone 5, it wouldn’t survive. Don’t trust that the plants available locally will really grow in our area. (However, if you want an adventure and know the facts, be my guest! Many plants such as citrus, princess flower, and banana trees make great houseplants.)

These three tips alone will save you a lot of headaches.

Does anyone have any other suggestions they follow?

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