Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden Plans

 

Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden Plans

Visitors to Des Moines, Iowa, may be surprised to discover a colorful garden oasis halfway across town between a busy city street and a high-rise office building. The building is the headquarters of Meredith Corporation, publisher of Better Homes & Gardens and several other lifestyle magazines. Urban Oasis is Better Homes and Gardens' "test garden."

Test Gardens

A test garden gives Better Homes & Gardens' garden editors the ability to evaluate and document the performance of new plants, develop new garden plans, and communicate those new plants and plans to the magazine's readers. However, it serves as more than just a garden.

The Meredith serves as an outdoor photography studio for Test Garden magazine, and also serves as an outdoor break room for employees and an entertainment venue for companies. It is open to the public on Fridays from noon to 2:00 p.m., from May to September.

Any gardener would benefit from visiting a Better Homes and Gardens test garden. With 22 distinct garden areas, 2,500 trees, shrubs and perennials, 17,000 bulbs and 500 annual plants, the garden provides endless inspiration for those who love digging in the dirt.

Wandering the garden paths offers lessons in garden design, selecting plants and adding the right finishing touches to give the garden its own unique style. Here are some garden design ideas inspired by a recent visit to the Test Garden.

Add a water feature to add interest to any garden.
Incorporate vegetables into the garden.
Create a garden path to provide both aesthetic and practical function
Use the hedge to scan the scene.
Add storage and work areas to your garden plan.
Expand your outdoor living space at a lower cost with a low-profile wood deck.
Use garden accents and ornaments to complete the look.

1. Add a water feature to any garden to add interest.

Test Garden showcases several ways to add water features to a garden. Water can be used as a formal sculptural feature, such as the fountain in the main plaza of the Test Garden, or in a free, informal form that mimics nature, such as a stone-lined pond, or a gentle ripple of water. Whether used formally or informally, water offers a soothing element to the landscape and adds visual appeal.

Other ideas that you can try in your own garden include a geometric pond or flowing water under the stairs, which is a garden design idea that originated in the Middle East. Garden centers offer a variety of fountains and pools for those on a budget.

2. Beautifully incorporate vegetables into the garden.

There are few things that taste better in summer than ripe tomatoes or crunchy cucumbers from the garden. A vegetable garden does not need an unattractive plot of land to produce.

The test garden includes the design concept of a French vegetable garden or ornamental vegetable garden. The farmer grows vegetables, herbs and edible flowers in a formal design, using texture, color and height to create eye-catching patterns. The test garden planters contain wood-framed beds in various geometric shapes planted with vegetables and herbs and divided by wide gravel paths for easy access.

Add potter design qualities to your garden by planting vegetables in groups instead of long rows and creating patterns with different plants. Use edible ornamental plants to create attractive combinations of color and texture. Many vegetables, such as rainbow chard, red cabbage, and curly kale, are amazing plants in their own right. Display these ornamental plants in their own beds and place other vegetables in flower beds for beautiful results.

3. Create a garden path to provide aesthetic and practical functions

A garden path is essential in all but the smallest gardens. The path provides access to garden beds without stepping on plants and keeps feet dry and mud-free. In addition to these practical considerations, a garden path creates a visual impact and enhances the texture and design of the garden.

The test garden has a wide brick paved path that wraps around the entire garden and connects various points with gravel and stone paths. This network of trails shows how garden path design can influence one's journey through a landscape.

The narrow, winding path invites further exploration, while the wide, straight path provides a clear destination. The surface material of the path also sets the tone for the garden. The brick path adds a formal, structured element to the garden, while the satisfying crunch of gravel underfoot provides a casual air.

4. Use a Hedge to Screen a View

A hedge acts as a natural fence to define garden boundaries, add height and screen out unattractive landscaping. The test garden has double rows of trees on three sides, which screen the garden from the road and turn it into an urban garden oasis. The dark green hedge also serves as a great backdrop for the perennial border in front of it.

5. Add storage and work areas to your garden plan.

Don't overlook the need for work areas and storage space when designing your garden. Test Garden shows that functional garden spaces can be beautiful, too. In the test garden, a tool shed has been transformed into a whimsical garden shed, and compost bins add an attractive design element.

Gardeners collect many tools, equipment and supplies that are best stored in a waterproof place out of the reach of children and animals. Build a storage structure in a convenient location along an existing hardscape, wall or fence area. Use paint, trim, sconces, potted plants and other decorative items to decorate your basic prefab shed. Or you can mix a simple utilitarian structure in the background with a trellis, climbers, tall grass or other natural screens.

6. Enhance your outdoor living space with a low wood deck.

A low-profile wood deck provides an attractive alternative to a concrete patio and creates a defined area for outdoor entertaining. If your deck is only a foot or two off the ground, a railing is usually not needed, which helps keep costs down. Redwood and cedar are good choices for decking materials. Both are resistant to rotting, cracking, warping and weathering.

7. Use garden accents and decorations to create a complete look.

Just as accessories often make an outfit, the right finishing touches can make a garden stand out. From a colorful bench that serves as a focal point in the garden and a place to sit and enjoy the flowers to a garden obelisk that adds vertical interest and provides support for climbing plants, Test The Garden shows how garden accents can be enjoyed in the landscape. . Other ideas for decorating your garden include bird baths, houses, sundials, artificial lighting and sculptures.

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