Try This Easy Technique if You Have Trouble Visualizing Garden Plans

A Helpful Garden Visualization Technique

It’s not easy to imagine what a garden will look by looking at the plans.  Garden Designers use 2D drawings and plans to create gardens for clients, but not everyone can look at a piece of paper and imagine what the garden will look like when it’s done.

Here is a beautiful garden plan I received from Julie Witmer showing a planting plan for my Mary garden. I can look at this plant list and visualize the plantings in my mind. Many of the plants grow in my garden today, but if I’m looking at a plan that uses less familiar plants, it’s not as easy. So I came up with a simple technique to help me visualize garden plans.

Planting plan for Mary Garden by Julie Witmer Garden Design.

Step 1 – Take a photo of where your new garden will be installed

I start with a photograph of the space where I want to build the garden. In this examples, it’s my front yard.

Photograph showing the front of our house where I want to add a garden.

I’ve been systematically working to remove the turf in our front yard. I am not a big fan of lawns. In Michigan, they are nearly impossible to keep green during summer, and they require fertilizer, water, and pesticides to keep them healthy.  I don’t want to do that, so I’m replacing large sections of turf with native plants and shrubs.  The new design will require less water and use organic growing techniques.

I want a curved garden border filled with deer-resistant flowers, shrubs, and ornamental grass.  The first thing I do is find several photographs of gardens I like. I overlay these photographs onto the original photo.

Step 2 – Overlay Inspiration Photos onto the Base Photo

Here are several examples of photographic overlays I create in Photoshop.  These images help me imagine what a new garden will look like. I found several photographs on Flickr showing some great images of Bressingham gardens that I’m using for inspiration.

Bressingham gardens photograph courtesy Flickr.

The resulting image isn’t perfect. It’s not supposed to be. But, it helps me visualize what this border will look like. If you don’t have Photoshop, you can print the photographs and then cut and paste them onto one another to create your final design.

Bressingham garden border overlaid onto my front yard using Photoshop.
Second Bressingham garden border overlaid onto my front yard to visualize the new garden border.
Third image overlaid onto my front yard to visualize the new garden border photo courtesy gardenia.net.
Conifer garden overlaid onto my front yard to visualize the new garden border.

There you have it. A simple Photoshop technique to help you visualize what a new garden will look like after it’s planted.  I’ve used this technique for a while and find it incredibly helpful. I hope you do too.

Happy gardening!

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