The Process of Planning
a New Perennial Garden

by Rhonda Schaper
Glorious Gardens, Inc.
“providers of sustainable residential design,
installations, & maintenance”

 Initial Considerations

 Determine the Purpose  

– Aesthetics

– Usefulness:  Cutting or Edible Gardens, Entertaining

– Wildlife Attractor:  Birds, Butterflies, etc.

– Emotional:  Health Restoration, Tranquility, Joy

– Ecological Solutions:  Stormwater Remediation, Heat Loss Reduction

– Problem Solving/Site Enhancement:  Screening, Soften Empty Space

– New Hobby so Vehicle to Learn

– Long-Term Relationship/Journey vs. One-Time Install as Decoration or End Result

– Economic:  Curb Appeal, Property Value


 Geographic Area

- Sunlight

- Water Needs and Availability

- Soil Condition

- Current Environment: i.e. rabbits, neighbors, street salt

 Scope of Garden

- Size of Garden

- Size & Scale of Plants

- Degree of Maintenance Desired

 Local Codes?


– Existing Site Plan/Survey/Plat

– Design

– Plant Information

– Future Changes

 Design Considerations

 Identifiable Style

- Cottage, Prairie, Rain, Modernist, Japanese

- Complement or Contrast with Surroundings

 Areas Adjoining New Garden

- Existing Style(s)

- Adequate Space to Expand Garden

- Are Invasives or Other Problems Nearby?

 Non-Plant Features

- Hardscapes like Patios, Paths, Walls

- Water Features

- Ornamentation like Planters, Furniture, Canopies

- Grills, Pools, Games, Fireplaces

- Empty Spaces for Decorative Gravel, Stone, Mulch

Plant Selections

 Be Mindful of Purpose, Site Needs, & Design

 Interest Points/Focus

– Seasonal

– Floral vs Vegetative vs Bark

– Groupings vs Specimens

– Overlapping vs Empty Spaces

– Colors

 Plant Types

– Natives vs Cultivars vs Nativars vs Non-native Species

– The Fun but Uncertainty of the Newest

– Annuals, Perennials, Shrubs, Trees, Groundcovers, Bulbs

– Short Lived, Biennials, Dormancy, Seediness, Invasive

– Availability of Type & Size

– Be Open to Inspiration & Spontaneity

• “Where can I fit that in the garden?”

In Conclusion:

The most successful gardens are those that consider ALL of the previously mentioned issues.

Consider hiring a professional garden designer to help you get started!

– Verbal Consultations

– Drawn Conceptuals

– Detailed Designs

Thank you for your attention! Have fun!