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How do you make a plantingdesign? 6 steps & 6 golden tips!

A few weeks ago week I was texting with my sister and she told me that she would like to design her own planting plan. Super cool! Because making a planting plan is not easy, especially if you are not completely familiar with plants. You can compare it to making a word puzzle without any vocabulary. What the hell am I doing... You might think. Still, my sister accepted the challenge. I gave her some handy, simple tips to get the creative process started. And sure enough, she was gone. You go girl! In my book I have worked out three planting plans that you can apply in the garden, but if you would like to get started with your own plan, this blog could come in handy. The article contains a 6-part step-by-step plan in which I explain how you start and end with a design of a planting plan. I will also mention 6 extra golden tips so that you can create something that is completely your own. Good luck!

Hoe maak je een beplantingsplan? 6 gouden tips

STEP 1 | Think about the atmosphere you want to achieve

When I start a design for a planting plan, I first consider what kind of atmosphere I want to achieve. There are many types of atmospheres to choose from; Dreamy, static, lush, calm, warm etc. etc. Just swipe through the photos below to see how easy this is. You can be endlessly creative with plants. In addition, you can also think of what kind of color composition you want to work with. Purple-white-blue or pink-lilac-purple. Maybe you only want white flowering plants or you want a border with almost no color. Everything is possible! It's your party.

When you have made a choice in terms of atmosphere, you can choose the plants that suit it. In my book, I've put together a list of plants for you to choose from. This list has already been filtered for good quality plants. You no longer have to think about whether these plants are strong or proliferate and sow (and if they do, this is indicated). In the book you can tick which plants you would like to use for your plan.

TIP 1: Choose the same number of different plants as the number of square meters of your beds. If you have 10 m2 to design, choose 10 different plants. If you have 20 m2, choose 20 different plants. If you have 30 m2, call in a landscape architect ;) Once you know how many plants will fit into your plan, break it down into flowering time. With 10 types of plants you can choose 3 plants that flower in spring, 3 summer flowering plants and 4 autumn flowering plants, of which 2 or 3 ornamental grasses. With 20 species you make the same division.


Drawing a plan can be done in many ways. On the computer, iPad or just with pen and paper. Choose a way that makes you feel comfortable. That is the most important. Once you've chosen your drawing method, start drawing a grid. This simply means that you will draw horizontal and vertical lines, creating squares.

Hoe maak je een beplantingsplan? 6 gouden tips

TIP 2: Draw in scale 1:50. This means that you draw squares of 2 by 2 cm. In reality, such a box is 1 meter. 1:50 is a handy scale to work with because the plan on paper is neither too big nor too small. A protractor is a handy tool to do this neatly.

STEP 3 | mark your plant area in the grid

Step into the garden with your tape measure under your arm and measure how big your planting bed is (if you don't know this exactly yet). In the example I have drawn an organic border. Now it is clearly visible how large the planting bed is; slightly wider than 3 meters and almost 5 meters long. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Hoe maak je een beplantingsplan? 6 gouden tips

STEP 4 | start puzzling

With your plant list next to you, you can start designing. Draw in pencil first so that you can move plants around if you've made a choice you don't like, or if you eventually want to make a group of planting larger or smaller. Write the name of the plant species in the box. In addition to the name, it is also useful to write the height of the plant in the box. This way you can clearly see when heights differ too much from each other or that they are too close to each other. You don't want all plants of 50 cm high, or all plants of 30 cm high and suddenly a plant of 150 cm high in between. There has to be a nice balance.

Hoe maak je een beplantingsplan? 6 gouden tips

TIP 3: Make sure that the plants that are adjacent to each other differ in structure in leaf and flower shape. This is even more important than the flower color or flowering time. If you manage to achieve this, you are guaranteed success. Google the plants if you are in doubt about the leaf structure.

TIP 4: Provide repetition. Repeat each group of plants at least 2 or 3 times. With a larger plan, this may even be 5 or 7 times.

STEP 5 | Make your border extra exciting!

Assuming a border of 10 m2 and therefore 10 different plants in which about 3 different plants bloom in each season, you may still want something extra. Now is a good time to add some individual plants. These are plants that are placed in small groups of 3 or just one plant between the other bigger groups of plants. It is nice to break up the groups with scatter plants. This brings out the natural effect even better.

Hoe maak je een beplantingsplan? 6 gouden tips

TIP 5: There are different types of scatter plants to choose from. A good example are summer flowering bulbs such as Allium. They take up little space, but have a great effect. You can also go for plants that flower for a very long time, such as Gaura, Verbena bonariensis (which is very sowing, keep that in mind) or a beautiful Geranium. You can also ogo for a special ornamental grass such as Stipa pseudoichu.

STAP 5 | Finishing touch

To make the design of the planting plan even more clear to yourself, you can color the plant compartments. Do this with colors that refer to the flower color. This way you can clearly see what the color palette of the plan will look like.

Hoe maak je een beplantingsplan? 6 gouden tips

TIP 6: There is nothing as easy as imitating someone. But if you really want to learn something, take the hard way. Choose plants and plant combinations that you like, no matter how crazy they may seem. Maybe your result is amazing and it suddenly turns out that you have a super talent for this profession. Nothing is wrong, everything is good!

STEP 6 | plant numbers

Are you completely satisfied with your drawing? Then it is time to determine the numbers of the plants. The book states for each plant how many plants per square meter you need (these numbers are based on the plant's vigor). To be sure, indicate this one more time on the drawing. Preferably write the numbers with a different color in the plant boxes and add the numbers together. Finally, make a list with the number of plants, et voila, you're done.

Hoe maak je een beplantingsplan? 6 gouden tips

Unfortunately the book is not yet for sale in English, but this year there will certainly be a translation of the book. At the moment I am busy with the second edition and a translation of the book. Are you or do you know someone who could help me with this? let me know!

Finally, I would like to say that I think it's great that you are reading this blog and that you most likely want to make the effort to create a small piece of nature that not only makes you happy, but also the out life. When you design a planting plan, you build a place to stay, a food supply and a shelter for many insects, birds, small amphibians and mammals. They will be very happy with your effort.

Wishing you lots of garden happiness, enjoy!



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