A Little Planning Goes A Long Way
Be sure to plan, but be creative. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Play around a bit. Take chances. Never forget that roses can always be moved to new locations next year...
Rose Informational Page

by Bob Bauer
Walk Your Space And Take Notes - Remove Big Obscacles
Get out a notebook and a clipboard and walk your entire garden space. Think in terms of the overall structure of your yard. It is important at this stage to go to every corner and nook of your property (and even outside of it), and from there to look at every possible angle and direction. Take some time and think about what is possible. Do this not once but several times. What you want to note is where you can put your new beds. It will help tremendously to pretend that your lawn isn't there or your other existing beds. Critically observe where the shade hits from the trees and buildings of your neighbors. These are things you must note because there is nothing you can do about them. Note where the water sources are and possible ways to get water to where it is needed. Consider removing any old garbage, cars, broken down sheds, driveways, rocks or stumps that you have. Also look up and around, and see what tree branches can be eliminated in order to provide more light. Think in terms of increasing light and space and make a list of projects to make this possible. Clean the slate as much as possible.
How to Grow Page
Measure and Map Your Available Area
Go and buy some 8 1/2 by 11 inch grid paper. Get ahold of a long measuring tape and your clipboard and measure your whole yard. Use a pencil, as you are going to make a lot of changes. Start with a baseline along one edge of your property. Locate any trees, buildings and sidewalks and any other non-removable objects on the map. You can locate these by taking two measurements from the object to the side of your yard and the back or front of your yard. On your map you should map the approximate diameter of the canopy of the trees that are located in your yard. Mark these lines with a dotted circle of appropriate diameter. Make sure that you mark the directions of the compass on your map. Most important is to determine where the South exposure is, as that will be the key to determining what plants will grow where. Transfer these measurements to a bigger detailed map of your whole yard. This master map will really help you put things straight in your mind.
Abraham Darby - Austin/English Rose
'Abraham Darby'
Observe Where And When The Sun Hits Each Bed
You will want to observe where the sun hits at all points in your yard. AND for how long! This is VERY important. These measurements will be averages, as the numbers change over the season. Roses need at least 5 hours of direct sunlight a day in order to thrive. That is considered to be 'Full Sun'. Observe where these areas are, then mark them on your master map. Note whether or not it is morning sun or afternoon sun as these have different qualities. Morning sun is more gentle, and afternoon sun is more dry and brutal. Where the light is, is where you MUST put your roses. If it so happens that that is in the middle of your lawn, you will need to remove at least some of your lawn. Mark all of the areas of your property that receive an average of 5 hours or more of sun on your master map.

Keep in mind that the sun will hit in different areas at different times of the year. The sun exposure times change every day. You will get the most sun in your yard during the summer solstice around June 21st. That is when the sun is at it's highest point in the sky and is up for the most amount of hours in a day. Also during the longer days of late spring and early summer is when you will have sun exposure on the north side of buildings. At this time of year, the sun rises in the northeast and traces a horseshoe pattern around the sky until it sets in the northwest. From September 21 till March 21st, (the equinoxes), the sun will not shine on the north side of buildings or anything else that is vertical in your yard.
Little ball flowers
'Margo Koster'
Consider Removal of Some Lawn Or A Few Trees
OK, lets get down to it. Trees and lawn are NOT sacred. Get rid of some of them. Nothing will kill a garden faster than too many trees. Have you ever noticed that in a new suburb with few trees, people generally have much more colorful flower gardens. If you want to see a contrast go to one of the older neighborhoods. You will see nothing but large trees and shrubs with a few flowers here and there. The reason? There is not enough sun for flowers and Roses to do well.

Get out the chainsaw! Be brutal! Dig up the damned lawn! Lawn is highly over rated. Figure out your priorities, what do you want? One tree or 30 beautiful rose bushes? NO CONTEST!!!
A Few Design Suggestions.
The first thing you must do before you put your beds in is to answer the question: how will water get to this bed?. If you are lucky enough to live in an area that gets plenty of rain, you can skip this step. But for the rest of us you have to install the underground drip or sprinkler system that will make your rose garden low maintenance and always healthy.

Here's some critical design advice: (1) I prefer raised beds for a number of reasons: less bending over, better drainage, better defined pathways, defined edges stop invasive plants and I can put the roses right up in my face as I am walking by. (2) Don't have all of your angles square. That is Boring! Curved edges give much greater interest. (3) Make each of your garden views lead to a distant point of interest. Your garden should draw you in. (4) Don't be afraid to experiment. So what if you screw up? Big deal! Fix it next year. Take some chances. If you don't take chances you won't get the big payoff. (5) Don't expect your garden to be perfect. It will just drive you crazy. Accept it for what it is. (6) A good garden with an active gardener present will look different EVERY year. Nature is not static, your garden is not a static object. You have to understand this one simple point: that you will NEVER be finished. (7) Lastly and most importantly, never forget that the primary goal here is to have fun and create a little piece of nature for you and your family and friends to enjoy. Live a little........ heh heh And don't worry so much......
Now Build The Plan And Map It
What's stopping you? Get out the garden map you just made and start deciding what goes where. Winter is always the best time for this. Winter and garden fantasy go together. But you can plan any time of year, you can even do it today. Now get out there and do some research. Get your rose catalogues in a pile. Order some roses, but don't forget that it is good to know how big a particular rose if going to get BEFORE you plant it. That said, don't be too afraid to make mistakes. You can always fix them next year.

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