GARDENING : General Information : Garden Design and Preparation : DIY Network
As with any garden, the first step is preparation, and the key to this garden is to create garden areas that are not rigid in shape. The planting areas should have a gentle, fluid, liquid look to them, with no hard edges.

1. Using spray paint, lay out the desired garden patterns (figure A). Gilmer creates three different beds of different sizes and shapes. Allow at least 24" between each bed form.
2. Cut out turf and/or existing plant material. Older lawns will require more work to completely remove root systems. Spades with a square end, sharpened to a very sharp edge with a flat file, help to create a neat clean edge as the sod is removed.

3. Once the sod is removed from the bed (figure B), create a smaller interior shape inside each larger bed, again using spray paint. The shape of the second bed should be loosely drawn and reflect the shape of the main bed. Do this for each bed. These interior beds will hold colored gravel, tinted glass and artistic elements.

4. To keep the colored gravel in the interior bed, use an old garden hose as a border edging. To make the hose pliable, leave it in the sun for an hour or so before measuring and cutting it to fit the border edge.

5. Make hairpin-like clips by snipping the rounded ends of old wire coat hangers. Use the pins to push the hose edging firmly into the soil. Since it takes about 20 pins for the beds shown here, consider doing this task in advance.

6. To connect the ends of the hose together, insert a smaller piece of stick, dowel or bamboo into one end of the hose, then slide it into the other end to make a solid border.

7. Before planting, add an unusual design element to the garden landscape. For color and visual interest, a turquoise bowling ball is buried halfway into one of the interior gardening beds (figure C). Bowling balls make interesting garden accents. They are inexpensive, hold up well in all types of weather, don't break down and often have interesting marbling, as does the one featured in this episode. Bury with the holes facing down to create the look of a partially buried sphere.

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