Ideas for Creating Your Garden Utopia

From on March 27, 2009 in Landscaping


A friend called the other day, full of news about her new home in another state. She said, “Everywhere I’ve visited you, your gardens are always so utopian! How do you do it? I’m looking at my new outdoors here, and I don’t know where to begin.”

I laughed and said, “No problem! Your new garden utopia is easier to create than you realize.” And that’s the long and short of it, no matter where you live or what your garden looks like now. The dictionary says that “utopia” is “an ideal place.” That’s a very open description, leaving a lot of room for personal expression of what you designate as “ideal.”
Here are some of the suggestions I gave my friend. Since they are universally applicable, you can probably put them to good use, too.

Start with Your Comfort Zone

Your comfort zone is also known as your “sittin’ spot.” It’s where you (and your spouse and family or roommates) will gravitate for outdoor relaxation time – morning coffee, al fresco meals, evening libations, and so forth. You’ll want:

  • Chairs
  • Table
  • Sun Umbrella
  • Container Plantings

Make It Private

Many of us live in residential neighborhoods, and that usually means we’re in close proximity to other homes and their yards and gardens. You’ve heard the old saying, “Good fences make good neighbors.” This can be applied to privacy barriers or screens, too. Once you’ve determined placement for your “sittin’ spot,” look around and see where you need screening from neighboring windows or active outdoor areas. Then you can decide what the best options are for creating privacy. Consider:

  • A tall fence
  • Adding a framed lattice topper to an existing fence
  • Planting a hedge of tall evergreens or shrubs
  • Installing a warm-weather screen of bamboo or trellis panels

Focus on the Best Views

This might seem obvious, but it often takes some creativity and ingenuity to orient your outdoor haven to take advantage of the most appealing views. There’s usually one or more eye-catching sights worth emphasizing – by placement of your outdoor furniture, with the addition of paths, fountains, or sculptures to attract and carry the eye. Look for:

  • The longest uninterrupted view
  • A particularly stunning tree
  • An architectural feature that’s uplifting
  • A corner that can be easily converted into a “destination place”

Consult with Landscapers and Landscape Designers

Once you’ve got the basics covered, as suggested above, take advantage of the expertise of the professionals. Most of these knowledgeable people will come for free consultations and provide free estimates for projects and services. Especially if you’ve relocated to a new region, there’s no better way to learn about:

  • Plant species that will thrive
  • Landscaping materials that are popular and readily available
  • Examples of other projects these professionals have done
  • Resources for landscaping ideas and products you may not be aware of

If you’re warming up to the new season in a home you’ve lived in for years, here are good questions to ask yourself for clues about your most effective steps for the coming utopian months:

  • What was the thing that bothered me the most about my garden last year?
  • How can I solve that problem most quickly, right now?
  • What were the items I kept noting last year, and saying, “Next year, I’ll do that!”

Now’s the time to do those things. And then, of course, there will be more things to do – because your utopia will keep growing and changing, just like you.

Landscaping Photos by Absolutely Outdoors