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Springtime Garden Guidance From Kathy Alford of Alford's English Gardens


Driving around my neighborhood, I see so many beautiful gardens and a few, well, that could use some help. Often they look like someone went to the "Big Box Store" and bought whatever they had in stock - a mish mash of different plants that don't have the same care and culture.

I see plants that are mis-planted, either by size of plant (at mature growth) or the wrong types of plants put together that will end up being a small project just to keep the maintenance of the garden in control.

A lot of money ends up being wasted because people just aren't that educated on design and the process of how to create a personal garden.

I do garden design everyday and work with clients that use me for my expertise in landscape design. Here's the questionnaire I use when I meet with perspective clients it may help you when you think about landscape design in your garden.

The Design Process

When you begin a design process there are questions that need to be answered to create a personal garden. Here are a few to get you started:

How will the garden be used? For example--

  • Entertaining/ private space
  • Viewing/ walking
  • Cutting garden
  • Veggie or fruit garden
  • Children and animals


What are some colors and/or textures that excite you? For example---

  • Bright colors
  • Monochromatic colors
  • Pastels or soft colors
  • Various textures- soft, rigid, course


Does the garden have any elements that need to stay or be reused?

  • Plants. trees etc that fit the design
  • Special objects such as an old fountain, stones etc.

Do you need or want certain elements in the garden such as-

  • Hardscape
  • Softscape
  • Irrigation including micro-drip
  • Mood lighting


Do you want new garden elements to enhance the garden space?

  • Water feature
  • Pots
  • Statuary


What do you love?

  • Save pictures to show what really excites you
  • Take pictures of other gardens

Having an idea what your budget is will help to create a beautiful garden of your dreams. Lovely gardens come in all sizes with all kinds of price tags. Having a base price to work with helps to prioritize what elements are needed in the garden and what elements are the "frosting on the cake."

If you decide you need a professional to design your garden please call me:

Kathy Alford
Alford's English Gardens
Office: (562) 430 3528
CA Lic.-C27# 831062


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