They say in life practice makes perfect. I like to use this methodology for both my work in designing websites and in my hobby of perfecting a sprawling backyard garden. Hi, I’m Tim, the web designer who went to college for Agriculture. I have a passion for both the real and digital world and enjoy splitting my time between the two of them. Both are fun projects you can work on with your hands. Both deal with bugs, and both can bring lots of benefits if done properly.
Here are my five tips for designing for the web, and for gardens:
Step one, of course, is to have a plan. A sitemap or a quick garden map can really go a long way when getting started. Garden maps help you visualize and understand the layout of your garden. A physical representation of your end goal and your dreams for a bountiful garden. A sitemap is a full list of pages on your website broken down typically by your menu structure. These act like a blueprint of the structure of your site, showing the foundation of your site layout.
Having this sort of structure in mind from the beginning sets you up for your pages and plants to be as successful as possible. Establishing these plans ensures you don’t have tall climbing legumes overpower smaller plants, or having a site that is hard to navigate. Having a clear plan that you can go back and reference is vastly important.
Making sure the pieces go together
I think both websites and gardens should tell a story. To tell this story, you need to make sure your pieces work WITH each other instead of against themselves. Laying out your garden in a way that benefits your plants vs harming them will let your plants work together in mutual growth instead of harming others.
You would want to plant basil near your tomatoes because basil can repel insects, improve growth, and even add flavor to your tomatoes. On the other hand, you wouldn’t plant corn next to tomatoes because corn attracts bad worms that will eat your tomatoes. This is just like how you would not want a contact form on your site buried within a page full of downloadable files. You want to make sure that the important pieces can be found easily and make sense within the flow of your website.
Planning and properly piecing together your website can elevate your site to make it effective and simple to navigate.
People who say that looks aren’t everything are lying to themselves. If you had two web pages selling the same product, but one looks like it was designed in 1999 and the other site that loads quickly with a clean aesthetic, which would you be more likely to buy from?
I built my garden with aesthetics in mind too. There’s something so satisfying about building something beautiful. For our garden, we have two large raised beds for our produce, a few dozen terracotta pots full of herbs, and then a multitude of assorted pots full of alocasias, natural wildflowers, sunflowers, and even a direct propagation of a Toomer’s Oaktree. We have these spread out amongst the garden for both decorations as well as for beneficial uses. Flowering plants help attract natural pollinators that the garden would not be successful without.
For websites having a clear aesthetic helps convey your site’s message without even writing or saying anything. Color pallets, typography, and images paired properly within the content can bring your visions to life and convey your ideas subconsciously to the site viewer.
Nurturing your creation
Just because you built (or grew) a great-looking product, doesn’t mean it will always stay great. For sites, making sure yours stays up to date both with software and with content is vitally important. This prevents any issues you might have with outdated software and with outdated designs.
Pruning, fertilizing, and weeding your garden is proven to make sure that your plants are happy and continue to produce. These steps are so important because missing one day of watering or one plugin update can sometimes cause more damage than you think.
At the end of the day, you should always look towards the end goal when starting a project. What’s the goal of your site? Is it to lead the client to fill out a contact form? Do you want to make a sale? Or is it to provide information to your target audience? Having a main goal will direct you through your project.
For my garden, the same logic applies. Are you trying to grow an award-winning pumpkin, have a hydrangea bush your neighbors are envious of, or just doing a little garden to get your feet wet in horticulture?
No matter what your end goal is, always keep it in mind throughout the project. If you get caught up on small web changes or a few crispy tomato leafs, take a step back and look at the big picture.
With these fun tips and tricks, you can plan, nurture, and achieve your goals for both your garden and website. For additional info on either, feel free to reach out to the Dogwood team! We would love to help you achieve your web goals, and for garden tips, you can send an email my way.