Having Fun With Nature


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Copyright © Red Gate Farm 2012. All rights reserved.


Landscaping can be one of the most rewarding gardening activities. But, to get that reward, you should have some purpose and plan in mind. We shall generally be talking about flower beds.

When we landscape, we want to create something that:
   - Has interest
   - Is "easy" to maintain
   - Makes mowing easier
   - Looks "natural"
   - Is pretty
   - Attracts birds and butterflies

There's another potential benefit from landscaping: security. Placing "armed vegetation" (cacti, roses, etc.)outside a window can help discourage would be intruders.

Path TO the Barn

Front Yard Flower Bed

We've designed flower beds for years using the "lawn mower" method. Since your going to be mowing around the flower bed, you may as well design it using a mower.

Let you grass grow a little long and outline the flower bed with your mower. That way any curves will not be too sharp and you will have sweeping curves for a border. Now scalp the grass inside the bed, till or fork over, and remove clumps of grass. Repeat in a couple of weeks and finally add compost, rake over the bed and plant.

Oh boy, time to plant. If you want to attract butterflies and hummingbirds with some of your plants, you can check the PDF lists we have on the Butterfly page of this site. Fill in with colors and shapes you like. Remember, lighter foliage will stand out next to darker foliage, mix colors, sizes, and blooming periods. For more information, see the Flower  and Rose pages of this site. Have fun.

If you're not sure about the placement of your plants, leave them in the containers and put them in the bed. Move them around until you're happy. Plants are a lot easier to move before they're planted

A couple of words of caution:
   - Don't plant more than you can handle; and,
   - Give your plants some space.

Nothing is more depressing and daunting than trying to weed a new flower bed that is just too big for you to keep up with. Start small you can always enlarge and add more beds later.

Initially, as you see in the photos to the left, your flower bed is going to look very sparse, but they fill in.

Lawn Mower Layout

In one year's time, the sparse flower bed above became a lovely bed with a path through it. The bed has plants that attract both hummingbirds and butterflies.

As you walk from the house to the barn, you enjoy the sights and smells of nature.

Note the different look coming from the barn and going to the barn.


Nothing in nature occurs in straight lines and at 90º angles.

Make the edges of your flower beds curved. It will add interest and make mowing a whole lot easier!


Ornamental grasses add interest to your flower beds by introducing different textures and shapes.

As the wind blows, grasses add a a sense of movement as they gently sway in the breeze.


Statues and sculptures add an unexpected sense of permanence and elegance to a flower bed, as long as there are not too many.

The balance with statues is to see them, but not detract from the "star" of the show, the plants.

Placing the Plants

"Layout" Bed from Above

Path FROM the Barn