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MMWD Blog: Think Blue Marin

Welcome to our blog! Written by staff at MMWD, “Think Blue Marin” explores all things water in south and central Marin—water supplies, conservation, new projects, watershed management, and more.

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Jun 26

It's in the Works

Posted on June 26, 2015 at 9:53 AM by Ann Vallee

by Charlene Burgi

The garden always seems to call. Just look outside! Weeds need to be pulled, plants need to be pruned, deadheaded, or watered. Sometimes there are plants that require protection from a browsing deer or forever-nibbling rabbit. And then, there is always that empty spot begging for something special to fill the void. Other times the garden just requires a clean slate to start afresh.

Landscape design can be fun, whether it be a dull tiny corner of the garden in need of a lift, or the entire yard. If you are in the design mode, read on. First, consider what you are trying to achieve in the garden. Are you thinking of a barbeque area or outdoor kitchen? A place for children to play? Do you entertain a lot and desire a large patio? Are chickens in your future? Or is there just a call for some shade in a sun-drenched backyard? Perhaps it might be all the above! Your answers to questions like these should be the foundation for your garden design.

Move about the garden on paper before putting a shovel to the ground. Start with a rough drawing of the shape of your yard and place your house approximately in the drawing. Where are your views? Is there something in that view you want to enhance or block out? Play with getting from one point of the garden to another. Is it a straight shot, or will that path meander along with follies giving reason to stop and enjoy? Do you like straight lines or curvilinear ones? Keep in mind curvilinear lines are more attractive if they are large and swooping rather than tight and squiggly. If a children's play area is involved, do you want it visible from a room where you spend a lot of time? Chickens can be noisy and even the best-kept coops can have a fragrance less desirable if placed under a bedroom window. Arbors and patios are always welcome off the back entrance of the house. A fire pit to induce relaxing conversations in the cool evenings can be an added attraction, but beware of overhanging trees that may cause a fire hazard. There are so many things to think about before construction begins. (Be sure to review MMWD's Landscape Plan Review Requirements to see if your project falls under the requirements.)

 Recycled gate and fence
Recycle for the dream: An old barn door and post timbers provide a new enclosure for the veggie garden.
Planning an outdoor living space needn't come to a halt because we are experiencing a drought. Your plan may even be to create a more water-wise garden. We can begin the process of refurbishing a garden without the need for added irrigation. Projects started now can continue to grow as the weather allows; for example, you may decide to put in a patio or pathway this summer but postpone planting until fall when returning rains (fingers crossed) can help new plants get established. Meanwhile, dream a little and explore various options and materials. Are there materials you can access to recycle in the new design? Have fun!

With gardening, the dreams are always in the works.

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