Landscaping Plans for your Garden

Landscaping  plans  and ideas boggle my brain, so after finally getting my lawn in better shape as seen  below, I switched my brain to the garden. Of course my garden already exists,as battlegrounds where weeds compete with my perennials. Now the garden even has a  huge representation of grass, which makes it  sound like a lovley balanced space. Truth be told, the front is a mess of weeds, grass and some  mystery plants I once knew.


Landscaping plans gone mad

Truthfully the front garden has gone berserk…certainly not very inspiring. Of course since gardening is usually a joy for me, I have been motivated to take action. The first step is to get landscaping done at my house is not to create any more gardens but to plan out what each existing one is doing, other than being overgrown.

If you have a new house or an older one in need of refreshment…something to perk it up, then landscaping plans would be the first step. If you have a general idea of size and what your budget is, there are many routes you can take to get started. There are countless professional companies you can hire to sort out or plan your entire yard, or just the gardens. Searching your yellow pages by hand or via a computer search is a good place to start. In fact the listings below will put you in touch with countless resources at your finger tips.     and

The first site is amazing! It lists contractors, garden design plans, helpful hints and even plant resources and more. The second site also has a great deal of info to browse through!

Don’t forget  there are a great deal in books found at your local bookstore or library. The cool thing about books is that you can carry them around and hold them up to see how things might look Currently this is the best option for those like myself, who are caught up in the costs…okay I am cheap, hiring myself seemed to be the best plan.

Speaking of books and planning, I just happen to find a great book I had forgotten, staring  at me from the hall bookcase. Landscape Planning by Judith Adam, published by FIREFLY BOOKS is full of great information that applies to Canadian gardens, and pictures galore that go with it. I also am enjoying Judith’s sense of humour and her common sense approach to gardens  and landscaping.



In the book she lists her ten elements of Landscaping Design.

Elements of Landscaping Design

1.Personal style – we know what we like

2.Planning  by light, elements, soil. plants and location, self vs contractors etc

3. Lines of Definition-marking the perimeter of yards and gardens with curves and straight lines

4.Space Division – beds, patios, walkways, shrubs, grade changes and arbours just to name a few.

5.Scale and Balance – from the size of trees and plants to stonework and patios etc

6.Garden bones-prominent plants and structures for all seasons

7.Planting Style- what you prefer for example, Japanese, English country garden for overall or individual areas of the garden

8.Colour Choices-themes by colour and season that enhance and excite

9.Succession Planting-flowering tress, shrubs and perennials for all seasons including evergreens and features for winter interest

10.Architectural features-walkways, benches, trellis, gates, fences, bird baths, sculptures and more

For further information please visit my Ten basics of Landscape Design page on this site.


Spacing Requirements


Now I have come to realize the limitations of what planning I had put in to the front flower bed. Right now it is overwhelmed and under loved! It makes sense  when we are strapped for time we neglect many things including our poor plants!  Keeping this in mind, whether your landscaping plans include hiring a professional or landscaping on your own,  try not to get carried away with the  size of the beds and shrubs if you have limited gardening time.

In fact, if budget is also a major factor, try forming small beds . Other items to  consider are the amount of sun you get, what type of soil you have, and whether you want perennials that give you a good return on your money vs short term annuals. Of course if you are new at gardening and want to get the feel of things before sinking your teeth in to perennials, annuals will let you try a wide variety of plants until you get the soil/sun thing worked out.




Assorted annuals







Next steps

Now what you might ask? Well  you can go check out the books and site, or visit a local garden center for hands on help with what plants may suit your needs and go from there. Me, I have decided my  city property has  too many gardens to keep up with and they are  all suffering as a result.

I get overwhelmed looking at all the weeds/wildflowers that now call my yard home, so downsizing and compartmentalizing is the way to go. Of course that may sound destructive, ripping most things out and shrinking things, but when there is only so much time to go around, I think of it ultimately as good time management.

First I have to just focus on a small area or section of each garden so the overwhelming mess doesn’t get me discouraged. I try to pick  a section of garden that is manageable to tidy well and mulch in a few hours. Once this is tackled then I move to the next section, and before the week is out I have one tidy, good looking garden.

To make all the approximately eight gardens look good is too big a task, as they are suffering after several years of neglect, so my landscaping plans include time management. Remember picking one small garden area at a time  means, more time to admire the lovely flowers in bloom and to make garden art like my scroll sawed Garden Shed sign below. 

Scroll Sawed Sign


For further information on scroll sawing, visit the great site listed below:




Garden Slugs and Snails- Pests in our gardens

Garden slugs and snails are only two of the many pests in our gardens.Pesky things drive us crazy, whether they are in our daily work and family lives or even in the garden. As I have written recently, the bald lawn was driving me crazy…then the weeds that were co-habiting with them…so much for lifting my spirits! Or at least that is how it seemed to me…that my enthusiasm was damped and muddied by discouragement as well as lousy soil.

The soil in my yard as well as my garden really is poor and lacking in nutrients…so what am I going to do about it you ask? Well I think it is time for me to look at the garden with new eyes of wonder and realize, like any kid does, that there are lots of really cool plants and bugs out there just waiting to be noticed.

Okay, so snails and beetles chewing their way through my lovely garden plant leaves may not be waving so I would take notice, but they certainly are making themselves known by the lacy pattern they have eaten. So not only are the weeds/wildflowers sharing in the undesigned landscape around my house, but now the crawling pests have arrived to picnic on my plants.

Of course I find the slimy garden slugs and snails to be the yuckiest…such a highly scientific term! All I know about them is the slimy trail as well as the holes they leave when done snacking. I do know that cold, damper areas as well as the underside of leaves is where they are commonly found and that I single handily use my trusty trowel of death to fling them on to the road. Of course, for the purpose of providing real information on this slimy garden pests, a little bit of research made me fear them even more.

In most Ontario gardens, the grey garden slug (pictured) Deroceras reticulatum is most common and in the fields have the grey field slug Deroceras laeve. What the difference is I am not certain. While some grub like pests live and eat in the soil, the grey field slug is, as it’s name suggests, are more active above ground than the others. Breeding data states one can produce many juveniles despite having a short life cycle, making it a particularly dangerous pest. Further reading revealed that slugs, which are a mollusk, are hermaphrodites! Yes they are male and female in one body…no wonder they have no trouble finding a mate.

I think that finding out about their sex life was more than I bargained for. To make things even worse, once they mate they can each lay up to 300 eggs that look whitish jelly filled, ‘BB’ sized balls. In less than two weeks they hatch and become a lean, mean, eating machine that produces mucous from a foot, which prevents them from falling down off the plants they are eating. No wonder there is such a lacy pattern on tall plants I thought would normally be beyond their reach. Okay, despite my repulsion, I found reading about their life cycle interesting and have provided two of many links, for you to check out.

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Slug grey field variety

Look for Deroceras agresteor

Of course on this slimy topic, I had been following the much cuter mollusk, the banded wood snail, Cepaea nemoralis, is most common species of snail. This one too has the same basic anatomy but carries its house along for protection and can seal the end of the shell when it pulls itself in for protection. Wow that would be handy when predators want to lunch on them!

Speaking of lunch, both grubs and snails are tasty meals for some beetle, birds, garden shakes and mostly eaten by toads. Most wild toads will eat worms, ants slugs, snails,spiders, butterflies, crickets and centipedes, so having one or two around should keep the pest population down. Then the veggies and lettuce you are growing in your garden might make it to a bowl for your lunch.

Certainly most pests, especially thegarden slugs and snail I have mentioned love tomatoes, strawberries, lettuce and other veggies such as beans. Of course not to be left out are the blooms and leaves of petunias, zinnia, lily of the valley just to name a few. I found a snail recently suspended from an the bloom of an anonymous summer bulb, which it was sharing with a ladybug!

Common Garden Pests

Common Garden      Pests


As I do not plan on sharing any more plants with snails or slugs, there are a few steps of preventative nature I can take. Removing dead and decaying plant debris, clearing up standing water, prune low tree and shrub branches cuts down on damp shady areas. Then there is having a sharp stabbing tool handy for organic termination, or throwing the snails out on the road for crushing!

Other organic means include shallow trays of stale beer, that must be emptied regularly. crushed egg shells around plants have some measure of success as does diatomaceous earth (crushed sea creatures), both of which give jagged texture which repels anything slimy trying to crawl over them. Newer suggestions include salt and sea weed as a small scale repellent, but the salt from both sources leaches in to the ground.

There are two main chemical repellants which are toxic to birds, cats and dogs as well as children. Of course i do not fall in to any of these groups, but still find anything toxic to them, harmful to the environment and my self. Methaldehyde and methiocarb are used in pellets and on tree tapes, with killing in mind on a larger scale such as in field and fruit tree farming where financial and business production can be dramatically affected . Then the lacey pattern and the often stripped bare stems would be a problem on a scale I cannot even imagine.

From one little garden where there have been about fifty snails and ten slugs found on my afternoon hunt, I have learned a great deal about mollusks There is also a great deal left to learn, should I choose to . One thing I did learn that I kept silent about earlier was that snails do some good in many countries even the ones in our garden, are cooked for food. Of course most of us have heard that in France cooked snails are referred to as escargot and served as a gourmet appetizer

Eating snails has been a culinary custom for thousands of years and is a delicacy in many Asian countries, in African countries and are catching on in th U.K. and other European countries. From article on line, even north Americans and Aussies are eating them. In fact now they are even raised for such purposesand may be the key to nutrition in developing countries.

Snails are supposedly nutritious, being high in protein and low in saturated fat, provided of course they do not have butter added. According to several articles they are also a good source of essential fatty acids, vitamins E, A, B12 and vitamin K, magnesium, iron, and selenium.Snails and slugs can have be infected with a parasite known as A. Cantonensis which can cause a rare form of meningitis called eosinophilic meningitis if ingested. Don’t let this unfortunate experience happen to you. If eating snails appeals to you, at least make sure they’re well cooked.

On that note I think it is best to move back to salad free of pesticides and garden pests alike. As for my gourmet palate, well I think it is safe to say I do not plan on eating any snails in the near future. Whether pest or food product, I hope this blog has been of interest to you and helpful for a greener, lusher garden.