Planning a shrub or bush (they are one and the same) landscape area is not simply a matter of placing squiggly marks on a piece of paper. Before getting to that stage, there are several questions to be asked – and answered – about all possible aspects of the landscape area.
The age-old well tried and tested formula of W-W-W-W-W and H, is a great way to start your project. What; Why; Where; Who; When; How? It does not matter which order you place those questions in, the main thing is that you ask and answer them about your Landscaped Shrub Planting Project.
There is no better way to focus your mind, than to ask the question what? What is this landscape shrub project for? Understand the purpose, and you can then start to find and explore the possible answers to this and the other questions within the equation!
If you have the choice, are shrubs the right choice, or maybe a mixture of shrubs and perennials, or hard landscape features such as a nicely rounded boulder or two in a border of erect conifers, or an angular rock in a bed of formally-rounded shrubs. Or perhaps something that compliments, rather than conflicts with the general idea. With inventive choice of shrubs, you can create contrast in form or colour, or play safe and combine shrubs of the same basic structure or colour. So much choice!
The surrounding environment will have an influence upon your choice of planting material and also the implementation of the planting. Dig deep into the environmental factors that will affect the long term condition of the shrub area. Are the tall surrounding buildings going to cause down draught air currents. Is the envisaged hard landscape area adjacent to your shrubs going to soak up moisture, or possible cause localised run-off of rains – leading to water-logging or long-term compaction of your shrub planting area?
Where is the landscape shrub area in relation to passing pedestrian or automotive traffic? Where is the water supply? Where are you going to source your shrubs? And many more where’s to ask and answer?
Planting shrubs is one thing, caring for them in the long term and especially in the short ‘establishment’ period is quite another. In a garden situation, the onus is normally on the owner. In a public area, it can be anyone – literally. Many thousands of ‘whatever’ are spent each year on grand planting schemes, and all too often there is acrimony after non-establishment or deaths have been noted by the project manager!
Take good note of your own responsibilities on any contract forms and be prepared to bring this subject up so that there is full clarity as to where the responsibilities are.
Most contractors and gardeners will have knowledge about the best time for planting. This can be determined by the choice of planting material. Evergreen shrubs for instance are not normally planted going into winter – whilst most deciduous bushes can be.
Be aware of possible delays by contractors that will inevitably delay the planting of the landscape shrubs.
Firmly tie in your supplier to your delivery date, and keep in touch – even if things seem to be going right!
So having addressed all of the possible problems from your growing check list, how to bring this Landscaped Shrub project to a satisfactory conclusion?
In all but the smallest and non-complex schemes, there should be a time graph drawn up. This should not only cover your own activities, but also that of any outside influences that might cause problems, such as main contractor, suppliers, maintenance back up, materials, inclement weather (it happens).
Get all this – and more – right, then you can visit your creation in a few years time with a degree of satisfaction – or not!