Create a thriving, year-round garden with proper planning. By strategically planning your garden layout, you can combine growing areas for plants, flowers, herbs, vegetables, and even fruits that will flourish. This type of gardening, also called companion planting, has been used by different cultures around the world for centuries. By combining compatible plants in your garden, you’ll establish a beautiful, healthy outdoor garden environment. Different plants give off different types of natural chemicals for added benefits:
- Healthier plants with fewer plant diseases
- Bigger and better plant growth
- Natural pest control
- Pollinating insects
- Wildlife habitat
For a successful garden design, I can’t stress enough that you’ll need to consider your climate, landscape, soil conditions, and the amount of daily sun and shade your garden receives. Before planting, make a planting chart to determine where plants should be placed. It’s important to know planting times, sun, shade, soil, and water requirements for each plant. Proper planting is essential to a successful garden to establish healthy root systems and provide proper nutrients for growth. When planning your layout, I like to recommend creating your garden with in-ground garden beds, raised garden beds or a combination of both.
- In-Ground Garden Beds – Choose an area in your yard with proper sun, shade and drainage conditions. If you use a liner, make sure it’s vented for drainage, then add gravel to secure it.
- Raised Garden Beds – Raised beds can go anywhere in your yard with the right sun and shade conditions. You can control soil and drainage easier. They drain faster, need less maintenance, and provide longer growing seasons.
Another option if you don’t have the space or materials for building garden space are decorative and spacious planters.
I’m a fan of garden galleries such as those of Charlie Thigpen’s that offer a variety of planters, vases, and other garden décor. Implementing tiered planters or strategically placing garden fountains in your designs can help attract other animals and insects that you want to help pollinate your plants and help them thrive while adding unique feng shui to create your own botanical oasis.
Natural Pest Control
By combining growing areas for plants, flowers, and vegetables, you’ll establish a natural pest control system in your garden. Insects are drawn to the smell of plants they like to feed on, so mixing plants with different smells will make it harder for insects to locate their target plant. For best results, intermingle various plants, flowers and vegetables rather than planting them in neat rows of the same species. Just be sure that they have enough spacing to avoid entanglement and allow each other room to grow. Mixing certain plants within the same vicinity can hurt certain plants, so be sure you’re following a standard companion planting guide to avoid any harmful overlap.
A thriving vegetable garden requires pollinators like birds, bees and butterflies. By planting flowering plants or herbs near your vegetable garden, you’ll have a healthy crop of edible vegetables. Friendly bugs flying from flower to flower will guarantee more vegetables in your garden! To attract birds, bees and butterflies you need to provide water. You can add a natural water source like a small pond or a decorative birdbath. Make sure there’s at least one water source to sustain wildlife habitat year-round, even in the winter months.
Helen Yoest is a curious gardener – curious about plants, soil, design, and how others use these to create their gardens at home. She is also curious about what plants do for us today in the here and now, but also about their history and lore. Plants have a colorful past. As an award winning freelance writer and garden stylist, Helen has traveled the world visiting public and private gardens so she can step into the dream that was once just an imagination. Her work has appeared in Country Gardens, Better Homes and Gardens, Martha Stewart Living, Carolina Gardener, and many others, including her work as the national gardening expert forAnswers.com. Helen is also the author of Plants With Benefits: An Uninhibited Guide to the Aphrodisiac Herbs, Fruits, Flowers, & Veggies in Your Garden (2014, St. Lynn’s Press) and Gardening with Confidence, 50 Ways to Add Style for Personal Creativity (2012, GWC Press). Helen curates garden art, serves on the board of the JC Raulston Arboretum, is past Regional Representative of the Garden Conservancy Open Days tour and opens her garden annually, and is an honorary member of Pi Alpha Xi, the national honor society for floriculture, landscape horticulture and ornamental horticulture. Helen lives in Raleigh, N.C., tending to her half-acre wildlife habitat, her husband, and their three beautiful children. Visit Helen at her popular blog, Gardening With Confidence and at Plants with Benefits. Find Helen on Facebook, too.