There are many small gardens in suburban and city neighborhoods that are totally incapable of giving pleasure to the artistic eye because they are laid out without forethought or planning. One has only to stroll down the sidewalk of a large town and look at the small yard landscapes, from 100 feet to 500 feet square that front the houses, to see to what a dull level of uniformity home landscape design can descend to; all have identical appearances and show no trace of individuality although most of the homeowners are fond of flowers and spend much of their spare time in watering, staking, and picking off withered leaves. These small front gardens are not gardeners' gardens, but the builder’s hurried landscape plan drawn up in the office to save as much labor and cost as possible. Using virtual garden tools such as an online garden planner is helpful in visualizing your outdoor space design before investing more hard work and money.
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Pictures of small gardens will show elements of artistic charm every bit as much as pictures of large yard landscapes. In designing or remodeling a small garden, the first thing necessary is to know what to avoid. In planting a small backyard landscape design many people appear to be utterly incapable of looking forward. The tree that for five years may not be out of place will, as time elapses, become too large for its site. The Deodar cedar, an excellent evergreen with graceful pendulous branches, planted 10 feet from the walkway, has either to be destroyed in a few years, or have its branches on one side cut back so that they do not encroach upon the path. Moreover, large-growing trees are out of place in small garden ideas pictures, for they eventually will cast such a dense shade over the yard that no plants will thrive. It is noteworthy that some free virtual garden tools provide a 3D view of what your small garden design will look like now and ten years from now, after the trees and shrubs have grown.
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There are many charming spring-flowering trees of moderate growth well suited to the small yard garden. Amongst these are the Hawthorns, the deciduous Magnolias, Almonds, Cherries, and Plums. In shrubs, again, there is great room for improvement over the builder’s original landscaping choice. Instead of the almost universal Laurustinus and Portugal Laurel, such small garden trees as the Lilacs, the Brooms, the Japanese Viburnum, the Pearl Bush, the hardiest of the Escallonias, the hardy Daisy-bush may well be planted, while the Yuccas appear very effective and well-suited in most pictures of small gardens. Where fruit trees are grown they should be relegated to a corner of the garden and not planted all over it, as pictures sometimes show, or they will eventually so shade the ground as to interfere with the growth of other plants.
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Hedges in a small garden are a fatal mistake. No hedge of any description should be considered in small yard landscapes, not even one of a handsome flowering shrub, for the roots appropriate all the sustenance in the border, and it is impossible to grow plants successfully close to a hedge. As a rule, hedges in small gardens are mistakenly allowed to grow until they are often four feet or more in thickness and effectually prevent any satisfactory gardening in their vicinity. There is no objection in some yard landscapes to hedges being used for certain of the dividing lines. Often, in pictures of small gardens, a well-grown Yew hedge where plants are not grown in close proximity, illustrates how the Yew forms a useful and ornamental screen. Where a wall is not present, a strong wooden fence preferably made of oak and painted an inconspicuous green, will also form a good boundary line. Against this, climbing Roses and many of the beautiful flowering creepers will grow readily, and soon hide the wood with foliage and blossom.