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PLANNING & DESIGN
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Planning

The first step in developing your garden is to have a plan. This can be achieved by first deciding on your needs. What do you want from your garden in terms of outdoor activities, gardening interests, and functional concerns such as pathways, storage and service areas. Next comes a site inventory. Make an assessment of these items: Topography, orientation to the sun, existing vegetation, views both good and bad, remarkable features of the neighborhood, prevailing winds and microclimates provided by buildings etc. The third step is to come up with a strategy. Decide on the type of style that suits your house and neighborhood. Provide areas for activities, services and storage. Take advantage of views including those from the house. Provide for screening and privacy. Provide outdoor seating areas with sun and shade. Provide the pathways. Work out a strategy for grading and drainage. Plan to channel runoff from your house, outbuildings and paved surfaces to supplement the water elsewhere, for example, to an existing shade tree. Whether or not the planning process is done on paper, it is a good idea to record your finished plan, for reference, since it is often necessary to schedule the work over an extended period of time. Also having a plan on paper makes it much easier to tackle the next step: Design.

Design

The objective here is to work out a strategy that will be defined by hydro-zones. This concept is based on the idea of a water budget. Over all you are going to reduce water consumption, as compared to the traditional garden, but the savings will not be uniformly applied. Think of an oasis.

Establish a core area in the garden where water use is highest. This could be a lawn, or an outdoor space surrounded by lush plantings. This area uses plants that are medium in water demand. Usually this area is located close to the house for convenience, for visibility from the house and for the cooling affect it will have on the house in summer. Extending out from this mini-oasis there is a transitional zone that relies on plants with low water demand. And extending further is the driest zone. In this zone you will use native and similar plants adapted to our arid climate.


| Intro | Planning/Design | Practical Turf Areas | Plant Selection | Soil Improvement | Mulches | Irrigation | Maintenance | Plant List |