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Spring garden design project in mind?

Julie Weisenhorn, UMN Extension Educator

Ah, spring at last! If you're like me, you are itching to get out into your garden. This period of fluctuating weather (warm one day, snow the next) is a great time to stay indoors and do thinking about your next great garden design project. Start with these five considerations of sustainable design (in order of importance) and how they apply in your landscape:

  1. Functionality - What do you have to be able to do in your landscape? Some common functions are entertaining, play area, pet areas, grow vegetables, have a fire pit (and haul firewood to your fire pit), access to all areas of your landscape.
  2. Maintainability - Be able to maintain your yard and garden at the level you desire. Common landscape maintenance aspects include mowing, pruning, shoveling and storing snow (ugh), maintaining structures.
  3. Be environmentally-sound - Promote a positive effect on the surrounding environment (vs. harming it) by choosing plants that will thrive - not just survive - in your landscape and thus remain stress-free, pest-free and healthy. This will result in fewer inputs such as pesticides, less water waste, less work for you and a better looking landscape overall.
  4. Cost-effectiveness - Have a landscape you can afford financially and from a time allocation aspect. Summer is short enough in Minnesota without spending all your free time maintaining your yard and garden (unless you're into that kind of thing like I am). Create a landscape that will keep your personal inputs (money, time, work) in achievable bounds.
  5. Visually-appealing - What you want to see when you are in your yard and garden. This is where the fun and creative aspects of garden design bloom. Collect ideas from magazines, websites, home and garden shows, public gardens, garden tours. Think how you can incorpoate some of these into your little slice of paradise.
If you are still wishing you had more help, take part in our Landscape Design Basics for Homeowners workshop on Saturday, April 14, 2018, 8am - 5pm on the U of M St. Paul campus. At this workshop, we walk you through the design process with the goal of helping you to have a healthier, better functioning and maintainable landscape. The day-long workshop includes hands-on exercises on bubble diagrams, plant selection, concept lines, and draft design. There's still space available! Register  here: MSHS Northern Classes & Events

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