Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Playing Garden Design

I was pleased to get the opportunity to try out a new format to visualize and play with garden design at the Permaculture Convergence. Simply, I laminated some grids and used packing tape and recycled seed catalogues along with some printed pictures from my garden to make faux laminated pieces that you could move around.

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Plant pieces plus two forms: from above and front on. 

You can put information on the back.

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Okay, so you are welcome to disagree with my spacing - I kind of do. It was a bit random as so much depends on context.

It was a useful exercise and we all thought of some neat ways to improve it. My favourite suggestion was to use transparencies of some sort to separate by season. Excellent idea Phil! There was also a desire to do the pieces by scale. I wanted to do this as well but then I couldn't properly fit the info on the back. That's still a work in progress.

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Not atypical pre-design yard.

Another useful amendment that occurred to me today was to make forms for north, shadow, sun and wet zone: black, yellow and purple respectively below. You can also use so-called plastic erasable markers to mark out topography and those other details. Another excellent suggestion was to give people particular projects. I think I'm going to make some pre-drawn situations.

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You may not be able to see but the trees and path are faux laminated with packing tape.

But it is fun to just go crazy!

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Well now that's a change.

You can use them to show specific design features such as contrasting foliage:

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Lay on the plant pieces as well, or use them alone, to think about colour

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I would have preferred to include california poppy here as a sporadic self seeder but I used coreopsis which also self seeds but I'm afraid would overwhelm the lavender. Just included it for the yellow splash of colour. My california poppy 'piece' was multicoloured instead of standard yellow-orange. Included in this design are seakale, lavender, sage and coreopsis which all do well in dry, sunny conditions. Three of the four are edibles.

This year I'm going to take photos of plants in my gardens and cut out their forms. I know there are various plan your garden programs out there but I quite liked this as a hands on demo.

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Very simple veggie patch I just tossed together. A useful tip when planning with rangy plants - like many annual veg - attractive is to lay them out in them with strong geometrical beds. Hence why raised beds can look quite good.

Here's something I wrote earlier: Eat my Yard


Dan Owen said...

Pretty cool looking idea. Thanks!

Stefaneener said...

I work best with concrete visualization tools, too. One of the reason I use tracing paper overlays for my plans (when I do plan!) is to make temporal layers -- it helps with anything that needs rotation.