If you make a mistake and put a plant, especially a tree or shrub, in the wrong spot, don’t be afraid to move it -plants of even four or five years old can be moved successfully, especially in fall or early spring. While the soil is moist, dig a planting hole in the new location. Then dig a circle around the plant, excavating as far as you can underneath it.
Lift it, retaining as much of the rootball as possible as some damage is inevitable, but very seldom fatal. Transfer it as quickly as possible to the new hole, fill in the soil, and water well. For the next year, keep the plant watered during any dry spells. Older plants can have enormous rootballs, but if your only option is to move them, then at least they have a fighting chance of survival.
When you view the garden from the house or from your favorite sitting area, it’s good to have a focal point where the eye can rest for a moment. A beautiful tree, a handsome pot, or even a small statue, carefully sited, can unify the garden design. Long, narrow gardens are the hardest to design. To avoid the “tunnel” effect, break the space up into a series of “rooms” using plants, trellises, arches, or pergolas. An area of lawn and trees, for instance, will look much more intriguing and inviting if it’s first glimpsed through a rose-covered archway or arbor.
If you’re nervous about designing your garden, then it may be worthwhile to get professional help. Be careful as some designers are better than others. Ask your friends if they can recommend someone or inquire at your local garden center. When you find a designer you like, visit gardens that the landscaper has worked on rather than looking at sketches and photographs. Or, check through gardening magazines -you may find an article with a landscape plan that you can adapt to your own garden or the name of a landscape architect in your area. Professionals can offer everything from design consultation to complete installation services.
Gravel may seem like a good low-maintenance idea, an inert covering for large expanses of ground. But children love to throw it around. Soil infiltrates and weeds begin to sprout. Birds can scatter it all over, leaves litter in fall and are a nuisance to remove, and it should be raked regularly to keep it looking neat.