The Border Design

The first design project for my Landscape Design class at UC involves a 25’ x140’ border, foundation planting and patio area. Some of the students in my class only have to identify their plant selection in very basic terms such as evergreen, herbaceous and size. They are not horticulture majors so the instructor is giving them a bit of leeway. I was challenged to focus on the design of the garden as well as specific plant selections.

I am proud of my drawing. I wish I had better pencils so I could do some plants and groupings in different shades; all the black lines are a bit harsh for my liking. Considering this is my fourth design, ever, for such a class, it looks pretty good!

I am a firm believer in creating formal garden plans for real and imagined gardens. Designing a landscape is a study in flow, scale, perspective, site conditions and long term planning (how will the garden evolve, grow over time?).

It is also a wonderful way to delve into plant research. If you are specific about the plant selections in your design, you will inevitably spend more time with your nose in Dirr and Still reference books, garden design books and plant catalogues than you will spend drawing.

Next time weather keeps you housebound, challenge yourself to design a garden that is far removed from what you are accustomed to. Challenge yourself to design a shade garden if you are a veggie grower, a cottage garden if you prefer order and structure or a wetland garden if prairie gardening is your norm.

This is my last design class. The university does not offer a landscape design degree which is unfortunate. I would like to learn more about garden design under the instruction of a professional.


  1. VERY nice! Just let us know when you are ready to start doing consultations in the Spring!

  2. Looks good, best of luck with your course

  3. Hi Jen, you did a very nice design and drawing. It looks very professional, and I would know. I taught design at the University for a few years and am a practicing professional. Good luck in your studies and finding a pro to work with. Donna

  4. Thank you, Donna. Your words are encouraging! I find making plans very enjoyable. For our next plan, I will use only pencils- I want to try shadowing-shading to give the design more depth and texture. I have a few ‘how to draw landscapes’ books I will reference.