Defining Your Outdoor Garden Spaces for Seasonal Planting

Japanese maple tree in bloom on a rooftop garden designed by All Decked Out NYCMost successful gardeners start their beautification projects with the right planning in advance. Here’s what you need to consider:

  • Think about how you would like your outdoor space to be used. Do you have planters that are viewed only from a distance, do you want your visitors to be able to walk through your garden to admire your plants and flowers? Will certain planters enhance a building or can they be used to conceal or hide a structure from view?
  • Plan how your outdoor space will be utilized. Do you have purpose in your particular design and plant selection? There are several things to consider, color and fragrance of the flowers, butterfly friendly, low-maintenance, heirloom or rain-only xeriscaping gardens.
  • Layout your new site by incorporating in your plan any existing healthy plants and flower beds and then add new plants to your sketch. Keep in mind the size of plants when they mature, heights and widths should be accounted for as well as colors and seasonal blooming times.
  • Draw a drawing of the urban garden of your dreams. Be as creative and fun as you like, consider all the colors, shapes and times for the blooms you want and we will work with you to get you the right plants according to your plan.

Evaluating Your Garden

Picking the Right Plant for the Right Place

To make sure that this year’s planting is successful, it may be worth the time to fully diagnose your outdoor space. There are several factors that may determine what kinds of plants grow in certain lighting and soil conditions. Evaluate the following:

Do your plants have restricted root space?
This can be sometimes caused by underground obstacles, like old asphalt and concrete, clay or compacted soil.

Is there a risk of de-icing salt damage?
This is particularly relevant in areas near walkways, sidewalks and roads.

Potential for damage by mold and pests?
Check your soil conditions. Check to see if there are areas that are always wet, they may have poor drainage, other areas of your garden may be dry and prone to drought, other areas may have soil with low fertility.

Soil texture:
Is your soil’s texture light, dry, sandy, heavy, clay, loamy, etc.?

What is the available light, for how many hours a day?
In Manhattan, gardens that get full sun are rare, most often gardens have partial sun, shade, and some backyards can have areas of deep shade, etc.

Exposure to the weather:
Is your rooftop windy, does it have any reflected light, are there areas of heavy snow build up, snow drifts etc.

Are there any grade-changes, changes in level, or sloping. Is your garden near any utility lines or cables. Do you have bare ground or is it grassy, weedy, etc.

Physical barriers:

Overhead wires that can affect tree limbs, branches, also are there any building overhangs, etc.

A fully grown planted backyard in bloom in Brooklyn, NY. A mixure of plants and flowers that bloom all year long.

Planting your Selection of Plants

Pay careful attention to selecting appropriate plants. It is important to consider the time and
duration of bloom, sun/shade tolerance, water needs, and more. As a general rule of thumb,
choose pest resistant, drought tolerant and native species whenever possible.

Here are some helpful tips when choosing plants:

  • Trees and shrubs are generally very sustainable and require minimal fertilizing and watering
    once established.
  • Perennials have long lives, add color and texture, improve the environment, and need little
    care once established. Tip: short perennials generally bloom early in the season, while taller
    ones bloom later.
  • Annuals provide instant, seasonal color and bring a vibrancy to your gardens but require
    consistent watering and deadheading.
  • Ground covers are a good way to fill in tough spots such as embankments or under trees.

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