I’m starting a garden from scratch at my new home in Pacific Grove, and I’ve noticed the creation process has a lot in common with interior design. Even though I’m a designer, it can sometimes be difficult to translate my vision for the garden into plants. Since they are living, breathing, organic life, it doesn’t always turn out the way you imagine.
Having an expert in landscape design to help with what florals you need, terracing that may be necessary in your space and being able to visualize the finished area can be a real benefit. I’ve been tackling this on my own, enjoying how it feels to garden again, and it has been a pleasure.
I put gardening on the back burner for some time, while I was living in homes I wasn’t going to occupy for long. Now that I’m living in my dream home, I’m putting time and effort into my backyard, and loving how wonderful it feels to work with dirt again.
Have you ever noticed that dirt from certain areas has different smells? I’ve noticed there’s a strong connection, almost an attachment between humans and the Earth - a need to till the soil and create something of your own. I enjoy how it makes your home look different, but gardening can also feel like therapy. In clearing out old bushes and trees that were dying, I felt a sense of renewal and rebirth.
Gardening is also a very creative process. You choose colors and plants you want, and layer them into your backyard in a similar way you layer elements in interior design. Unless you’ve studied plants, it can be very difficult to tell how big they will get after you plant them, what they will look like full-grown and even how they drop leaves or die back in the winter.
In gardening, you also have to make very similar choices to that you would in interior design. An example I noticed were the oak trees in my backyard. I had to be very careful about what I planted under the trees since they won’t get a lot of water or light. It’s important to choose plants that will work well in this environment.
Soil and finding appropriate plant choices for your space are also concerns to think about when planning a garden.. There are foundational concerns when planting, which is very similar to interior design. Where I’d normally think about the size of a room, the function of a space and items to place in the area, I found myself choosing plant types, thinking about plant styles and choosing ones that would look beautiful and timeless. I like informal-style flowers and ones that look lacy and pretty, like a Japanese maple, or specialty ferns.
I am loving being in my garden and making the beauty come to life! How do you plan yours?
Photos: Jana Meewes Magginetti