Planting a gardenBy David McMullin
Spring has wandered in… finally!  Now, that we’ve discussed the fundamentals of accessing the site and elements of design, we’ll dig deeper, into the fun, and yes, the more difficult side of creating your garden.
Be observant of your backyard environment.
Follow the weather, know its extremes, understand our seasons, and the patterns we experience. Know where frost gathers, how the water flows through it, notice where the light lands, and from which direction the breeze comes. Collecting various data will affect the success of your plants and inevitably, your interaction within your space.
Know something about plants.
Nearly 3,000 species of plants can grow in our area and, more continue to be added to the palette each season. With so much to choose from, it is essential to brush up on basic plant I.D. and acquire a good understanding of the way plants grow, what they want and how they fit into the landscape. If you want a good garden, the big box regional purchasing department should not be selecting your plants.
Plant selection is an integral part of garden design and what makes a garden unique, personal and a joy throughout the seasons. Select plants that will mature with an acceptable amount of maintenance; share their gifts when you’ll appreciate them; and evoke a time or place of significance.
Rely on the best nurseries in your area for advice and source of plant materials for your garden. Ask gardeners their sources – they’ll likely have many and be eager to share.
Stay fresh and keep inspired.
Read magazines and books to follow trends.  See what designers are doing by visiting other gardens. Springtime brings about an abundance of garden tours.
As a side note: Honestly, to create the best garden, I recommend hiring a garden designer. There are lots of us in Atlanta. Keep in mind, it’s not only about price, but it’s finding the right fit for your garden style. And, to DIYs, there will be continued work after installation. Inspiration leads to new plants, furnishings and ideas.
David McMullin, an acclaimed garden designer, has owned New Moon Gardens design firm for 20 years. His gardens have been featured on tours, in magazines and on television. David recently ventured into retail, opening Garden*Hood, the newest garden center destination located in Grant Park. For more information on David’s design services, contact him at or (404) 593-0996.
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Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

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