Planting & Garden Tips

Planting and Gardens
Garden Bed Creation:

The creation of proper Garden bedding for plants is a three part process . . .
1. Design
2. Preparation & Edging
3. Fill & Shape with Topsoil

Step 1.Design:

Determine the desired shape and height or elevation of the garden space. If the bed is going to be raised above surrounding grade, then what kind of soil retention will be used? (Natural Stone or a Precast System). When designing your bed it is important to consider the type of plants you will be using so that you will need to contour the bed to accommodate both the size of the plants and their root systems when they are mature.

Step 2.Preparation & Edging:

Remove grass and weeds from the area and prepare the native soil. If the bed is raised it may not be necessary to remove soil. If not, native soil should be removed to depth of one foot to eighteen inches. Edge area with a pierced natural edge or Stone or Paver retainer.

Step 3.Fill & Shape:

Fill the bed with fresh loam soil. Often this soil is referred to as triple mix or garden mix. For best results, the soil depth should be a minimum of one foot and where larger plants are located, soil should exceed the depth of the root ball by at least six inches. Then shape and grade soil to create smooth contours. Beds that are slightly mounded look best.

With so many choices of plant materials available, designing an appealing layout for your bed can be a challenge. To simplify the process, think of each plant in the following terms: Seasonal colour, form and scale, fragrance and texture.


Your garden can contain a variety of vibrant colours. To prevent an overly complex appearance, it is recommended to keep colour combinations simple. In large beds, emphasis can be achieved by grouping like colours together, and using height & foliage as the focal factor.
Choosing plantings with different blooming periods is a good way to ensure that the garden is adorned with vivid colours all season long. Choose conifers or ornamental grasses & spring bulbs for year round interest. The "bones" of the garden is defined as areas where year round colour (green) is desired. Interest is achieved by adding shrubs & perennials to give addition spring, summer and fall colors.

Form and Scale:

Each plant has its own shape and size. Whether you prefer a symmetrical or asymmetrical design, your bed can achieve a pleasing sense of balance by locating similar sized plants on either side of centre. By repeating similar shapes throughout the garden, a sense of unity and flow can be achieved. Plant in 3, 5 & 7's to create asymmetrical design.


The scent of a garden is an integral aspect of its overall appeal. Remember to select plants, not only, for their visual appearance but for their fragrance as well.


Visual interest, unity and variety can all be enhanced in a garden by paying attention to the unique texture of each plant, particularly in winter when there are fewer vibrant colours to create visual interest. By placing plants with contrasting foliage textures, next to each other the garden takes on an added dimension that is appealing to the eye.

Remember that not all of the plants available at any given nursery are recommended for our climate. Read the label for indigenous zones. Our zone is 5 borderline 6.

Plant Care:

Each plant chosen for your gardens has unique qualities and characteristics. Each requires a different type of care. Proper care will ensure that your plants remain healthy and attractive during their entire life cycle.


As the name indicates, annuals only last one growing season. As such, annuals allow you to change the look of your garden, or sections of it from one year to the next. Annuals are normally chosen for their vibrant colours. They may be planted in late May or early June.
Annuals need constant watering & fertilization to maintain fullness. They are not drought resistant. Care must be taken to plant according to light and shade.

Our Favorite Annuals:
  • Sun
    • Ivy Geraniums
  • Shade
    • Impatiens
  • Sun Partial Shade
    • Wave Petunias

These non-woody plants return year after year, bringing new life and colour to your garden each spring. Virtually any size, shape and colour can be found in perennials, making them a popular selection for any garden.
Many new species of perennials have vibrant colours in their foliage that add splashes of colour even when they are not flowering. A mixture of annual and perennial and flowering shrubs can create attractive year round colour.
Perennials can be almost any size and shape, from ground cover to low medium and high growing habits. They provide beautiful fill in a garden and can be maintained and can be maintained at a reasonable size by splitting & dividing every 2-3 years.

Our Favorite Perennials:
  • Sun
    • Autumn Joy Sedum
    • Campanula "Blue Clips"
    • Stella D'oro Daylily
  • Shade
    • Guacamole Hosta
    • Astilbe
    • Moon Beam Hosta
  • Sun Partial Shade
    • Siberian Iris


Because they remain green all year round your conifers will bring colour and texture to your garden even in winter. Large evergreens can be fertilized in the fall with spikes pushed into the ground around the base. Water in spring during April and May for the first two years to prevent spring dehydration. . Choose conifers or ornament grasses & spring bulbs for year round interest as the "bare bones" of the garden in areas where year round colour (green) is desired. Shrubs & Perennials add the additional spring, summer and fall color.

Our Favorite Conifers:
  • Sun
    • Globe Blue Spruce
    • Nest Spruce
    • Thread Leaf Cypress
  • Shade
    • Yew
  • Sun Partial Shade
    • Hemlock
    • Japanese Garden Juniper

Deciduous shrubs add a great deal of colour to your garden with their blossoms. Others will add colour over an extended period of the growing season because of the striking hues in their leaves and sometimes even their bark. The burning bush is one example of a brightly coloured shrub in your garden. It can be left to grow, or trimmed in May or November to maintain a compact shape.

Our Favorite Shrubs:
  • Sun
    • Carpet Roses
  • Shade
    • Roses of Sharon
  • Sun Partial Shade
    • Stephanandra
Rockery or Ground Covers:

Planted on mass these creeping and spreading plants will provide full ground cover at very low levels once they fill in.

Our Favorite Rockery or Ground Covers:
  • Sun
    • Wholly Thyme
  • Shade
    • Chocolate Chip Ajuga

Bark mulch blankets the soil allowing moisture in for new plants while reducing soil exposure to help prevent weeds from taking hold. As mulch composts, it adds additional nutrients for the plants into the soil.


To create a nearly maintenance free bed, cover the entire area of the bed with geotextile (landscape fabric). Cut cross slits just large enough to fit plants through. Allow one to two feet for overlap of fabric if more than one piece is required. Then cover the entire area with a decorative granular aggregate such as California Style Pearl Pebbles or Muskoka Red Granite.

Article by Juanita,

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