Before deciding on a style for your garden, here are a few things to consider. What are your goals for the garden? Food production? Landscape beauty? Wildlife attraction? Enjoying the outdoors? Getting sunlight and exercise? Also, consider your budget in money and time.
Next, you must determine how much space is available. How much sun light and shade (vegetables need 6-8 hours of sunlight per day). Where is the water source?
There are three main categories of gardens: in-ground, raised bed and container.
In-ground may include rows, mounds or orchards and can be formal, informal or wild.
Raised beds include many sizes and shapes. Size and height to fit your space and needs. Construction material options include wood, cinder block, brick and metal or plastic siding.
Anything can be a container as long as it is sturdy enough to hold the plants and soil and has good drainage. Some options are plastic buckets, bathtubs, old appliances, horse troughs, ceramic or clay pots and wooden barrels.
Now that we have determined our goals and understand the types of gardens let us look how we can incorporate style into our landscape. The following table illustrates where different styles are applicable.
Here are examples of garden styles.
Water or pond garden
- Can be small or large.
- Requires a lot of maintenance.
- Fish are a popular option.
- Provides peace and tranquility.
- Once complete, easy to maintain.
- Use your imagination.
- Can be formal or informal.
- Typically lots of paths and view points.
- Can be very colorful.
- Use of stone for paths and terraces.
- Select desert hardy plants.
- Can be simple or complicated. Annual or Perennial.
- May attract butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators.
Cacti and Succulent Garden
- Suitable to the low desert.
- Conserve water.
- Easy to maintain.
- Can utilize all three garden categories: in-ground, container, raised bed.
- Can be large or small.
- Choose dwarf varieties if space is limited.
- Determine whether self-pollinating or needs a pollinator.
- Choose low-desert-tolerant varieties.
- Containers work well.
It is possible to utilize multiple styles in your landscape. Let your imagination be your guide!
Rich Golish is a Master Gardener with the University of Arizona.