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Southern Inspirations Garden Design

A family-run business since 1997

Southern Inspirations
Learn DIY Landscaping and Make Your Garden a Better Place
We have a simplified approach to DIY landscaping. We teach you how to improve your own garden. Learn how to design a garden, prepare for planting and installing your personal garden design. This is by far the most exciting part of gardening; seeing your own ideas becoming reality.

Your Own Landscape Design

The first step in DIY landscaping is to do your garden design. During the design you finalize your garden style and theme. View our garden design page to help you complete your design and to get some inspiration. Our garden design page contains some basic steps to assist you in finalizing your own landscape design. You will also need a drawing of your completed garden design before you can start with your DIY landscaping.

DIY Landscaping

DIY Landscaping in Progress
Click on Picture to see Finished Pond

Prepare the Garden Site

Now is the time to get ruthless. Remove all the trees, shrubs, plants, lawn, paving, and other hard landscaped items, that do not form part of the new garden design. Make sure that it is legal to remove trees where you live. Obtain the necessary permission if needed. A difficult task is removing the root balls of all the trees and shrubs that are taken out. This is not a pleasant task, but it is an essential task. Any large roots that remain can interfere with the DIY landscaping of your new garden.

Take care in removing plants that will be replanted during your DIY landscaping. Try and preserve as much of the plants root ball as possible. If the ground is hard, water the plants that are going to be relocated very well three days before removing them (in sandier soil the day before). This softens the ground, but does not cause mud when removing the plants.

If you are planning to make compost, retain all the suitable vegetation. Take away all the rest of the plant material and all the rubble. Take it to your local dump. Your local authority may be able to direct you. You will not be able to do your DIY landscaping in a cluttered environment.

Carefully transmit the design to the site, by measuring the distances on your plan, and transferring them to the site after scaling it up to the correct distance. Hit stakes into the ground in positions of important measurements, so that your garden layout will be perfect just like your garden design.

By now you have realize that DIY landscaping, takes up much more time and effort than you may have bargained for in the beginning!

Complete your Hard Landscaping

Your hard landscaping items should be put in first after your layout has been completed. If you planning to build, a barbeque, gazebo, a deck, pave or build terraces etc., ensure that you are not building over a route to be taken up by your irrigation or lighting!

If you are, then first dig a trench and put the necessary pipes underneath the hard landscaping. Make sure that these pipes diameter, are large enough to accommodate all the pipes and wires to be routed through them. You can then route the irrigation and wires through the pipes when you come to that stage in your DIY landscaping. Now you see the importance of having done the drawings of your garden design properly to scale.

You can now do all the hard landscaping. If you are planning to do it yourself, have fun! If not, chase up the contractors! By now you will not want to wait planting your masterpiece! “Phew! Has it all ready taken this long since I started with my garden design?”

One thing, don’t forget to clear up your site properly again after the hard landscaping has been completed. Clutter on site will fog up your brain and inspiration struggles to flow freely!

Soil Preparation

Remember, a healthy garden is always a happy garden. The most important aspect of any garden is the soil. Without having good healthy soil, plants struggle to grow and flourish, and your DIY landscaping could be a failure.

Prepare the site, especially where you want plants to grow, by double digging the soil. The process is explained more clearly in garden soil preparation. Rake all your soil flat; don’t forget to remove any roots and rocks that may have been unearthed. Redraw the lines of the flower beds at this time. Now is the best time to install your irrigation system and your garden lighting system. All the preparation for your DIY landscaping are completed. Only the planting of the plants still remains to be done! Time to go to the nursery!

Laying out the plants

The final most enjoyable part of DIY landscaping is the actual planting of the plants. Always go to your nursery with a planned list of plants. If you don’t have a list you could return home with plants that don’t even match your style and soil type. When you go to the nursery you will see the plants that are in season, you could easily be distracted and purchase the incorrect plants.

Select just three to four varieties. Grade the plants according to the water requirements, color, size and scale, and beauty. Plants are always grouped together in groups of three, five or one. Never group the plants in two’s and fours. Repeat the same pattern over and over until your garden is complete. This will create unity and harmony in your garden.

Never plant the plants on top of each other. Always allow some space for growth. There must be sufficient space around each and every plant for a butterfly to fly right around it without touching the next plant. Each plant is unique and should have the opportunity to show itself off!

Plant the plants to the same soil level as they were planted in their original containers or bag. If you plant it to deep you could suffocate the plant, and if you plant it too shallow, the roots will dry out. It is a great idea to place all the plants in their right positions first as indicated on the drawing of your garden design.

You may then stand back and look at the overall impression that they make. You may find that you will have to make a few small adjustments at this stage. Just remember that the heights of your plants will be lower when planted (they will no longer be standing in their bags above the ground). Also turn your plants to show of their best sides.

Once you are completely satisfied, move each of your plants away from its position. Dig a suitable hole in the same place from which you removed the plant. When complete take it out of its bag and plant it. Repeat the process until all the plants are planted.

Grab a chair, turn on the sprinklers, get a drink and just watch your beautiful DIY landscaping effort! Pat yourself on the back because you have done it!

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