Setting a Mood in the Garden

It can be tough deciding which colors look great next to others. If you want to create a quiet, restful mood in your garden, try using cool colors like blue, lavender, purple, rose and pink. Warm shades like red, orange, and yellow will give your garden a sense of excitement and visual pleasure. While, contrasting colors like purple and yellow, or orange and blue will add interest to your yard. If you are less daring and want to bring unity to your garden, use different shades of the same color, massing a single color of flowers together. This will create an elegant look that works great for small spaces like patios, terraces and window boxes.

With Shape

If you find the traditional 'rectangular' shape bed dull and boring, try coming up with a fun shape like a star or in a zig-zag design. Of course, you may want to try sketching it out on some graph paper first, then arrange plants to fit that form. Keep in mind, you are limited to how it will fit around the current landscaping in your yard.

With Size

Now, it's time to do the math. How much room do you need to grow everything in your imaginary garden? Your garden can be any size – from a kitchen herb garden in a window box, to a pumpkin patch in the backyard. A large, sunny place in the yard gives you plenty of room for growing a variety of plants, but a small container garden is great too – because it's easier to care for.

Conventional gardens, like those you have seen on a farm or the 1970's TV sitcom "Green Acres" with rows and rows of corn can take a lot of space. Here are three alternatives to gardening the traditional way:

Balcony gardens or container gardening can be done almost anywhere where there is plenty of sunlight – usually 6 or more hours a day. Depending on which direction your patio or balcony is facing will determine what type of plants and vegetables will do best. On a warm, light-filled balcony facing south or west, tomatoes and beans will grow best. If your balcony faces north or east and gets limited sunlight, lettuces and root vegetables will do well.

Raised gardens are small plots formed with soil into raised areas on the ground. Landscaping timbers may be used to frame the bed and can be filled with soil and compost. Raised beds are easy to maintain if they are 3-feet wide or less. This makes weeding and harvesting a cinch and by not walking on the bed, the soil stays soft.

Square-foot gardens are formed by framing and can be filled with soil and compost. Beds can be recycled and replanted once a plant has been harvested. With deaf beds, plants can be grown closer, allowing for a larger variety of plants.

With a little planning, you can create the mood you want in your garden, personalizing it, extending your home to the outdoors.