Something that most people overlook, even the professionals, is mature plant size and plant spacing. I see this much too often in private yards as well as in public areas. I see plants that are so crowded together that you can’t even tell what type of plants you’re looking at. I also see a lot of layered planting with the taller plants in the front hiding the ones in the back.
But I understand why people do this. They want their new garden or their landscaping to look mature without having to wait the necessary time for that to happen naturally. Unfortunately, in the long run the garden just looks cluttered and out of control. As you can tell this is one of my pet peeves. The old saying is true – patience is a virtue. It’s best to let your plants grow and evolve into their mature selves.
An easy way to avoid clutter is to just read up on the plants you’re considering before you plant them. You’ll want to determine the mature width and height of each different plant you’re going to use in your small garden. And the recommended plant spacing measure. Savings-tip: once you know the mature width you can easily calculate how many plants to buy… you won’t be paying for extra plants that you don’t need.
Just remember, later on you’re going to want to dig the holes a little less than the plant’s mature width center to center. A little overlapping is a good thing; you don’t want to leave any bald spots in your small garden either.
Don’t forget the edges of the planting beds. Depending on what result you want to have, make sure to measure accordingly. If you want the plants to grow up to the edge but not encroach on a walkway for example, then dig the holes half the mature plant size away from the edge.
Use this mature size method also when planting in layers and verify it with the recommended plant spacing measurement. Plant what will be the shortest in the front and work your way back to the tallest. Be careful not to plant the layers too close together either. Then when the plants mature they’ll look like they were meant to be there.