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The Garden Railroad
A garden railroad can be fun for the entire family. With small scale trains and miniature plants, this is a perfect project for the landscape. Those with an interest in model trains will be especially delighted with this landscape feature.
Railroad gardening is catching on. Some of the public botanical gardens even have such displays.
Garden railroads can be enjoyed year-round in warm climates.
A railroad garden requires careful planning. The plant size should be in proportion to that of the railroad. Generally, miniature and very dwarf plants are used. Why not visit the various garden railroad websites to see examples of what others have done? This will also give you a good idea of what plants folks are using.
Your budget is really the only limit when it comes to buying the railroad equipment for this landscape feature. There are affordable and luxury models available. As with all mechanical things, a certain amount of maintenance is needed. So build this cost into your budget if you’ll have to pay someone else to do it.
Since these projects are intended for year-round enjoyment, evergreens are most often used. Among the evergreens are conifers and broadleafs, such as hollies and boxwood. During the winter, these will still offer a vision of beauty. Use enough deciduous plants to provide some season interest. Flowering bulbs, annuals, and perennials, all of suitable size, can be used so long as they don’t overwhelm the design. Rock garden websites may also have good plant suggestions. That is true because most plants used in rock gardens tend to be either miniature or dwarf.
As with any landscape design project, the design principles still apply. If you don’t incorporate these principles into your design it will be dull and uninteresting. Those principles include contrast, repetition, form, and texture. Choosing evergreens with colorful foliage will go a long way in fulfilling these principles. The repetition can be done by repeating a color, a texture, or a form.
For garden railroads, slow growing plants are best. Those with a faster rate can overwhelm the scale of the design.
With all plants, check to see what the mature size will be. Choose ones that are the proper range, and they’ll never need pruning. During the planning phase make a list of the plants you want. Nurseries may be sold out by the time you order or arrive at the store. Avoid disappointment. Order early. Shop early in the season. And have some alternatives in mind in case they’re sold out. That way you can move ahead on the project.
Planning the railroad garden is an exciting time. So is the planting and construction phase. The real enjoyment comes when the project is complete, something the whole family can enjoy together.
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