Some people relish the thought of designing a garden whereas others will go running straight to the yellow pages. If you have just purchased your new home and the garden needs some attention, there are a few basic design principles that should help whether you choose to do the work yourself or to engage a professional.
Most people who decide to redesign their garden have a general idea as to what they want it to do and how they want it to look when finished. What they don’t necessarily have is the experience to produce a detailed drawing or to do the actual work. Often the initial design is quite simple and a lot of people stop there however with the help of a professional designer and a little bit of imagination it is amazing how easily you can transform your garden into your own personal idea of paradise.
Your garden’s function
The first stage in designing any garden is to decide what its function will be when finished. If you have children then you might want a large lawn where they can play in safety or a patio area where they can have a playhouse. Pets, and in particular dogs will also need somewhere to run and so again a lawn may be beneficial. If you have an adult-only household however then there are many more options available and you can turn your garden into the perfect place for entertaining or into a tranquil haven depending on your tastes, simply by adding decking, a seating area, ornamental structures, a small pond and a water feature or perhaps gravel walkways that wind throughout the garden.
Choosing the plants and structures
Once you have decided exactly what general layout you want in your finished garden, then you can actually start to design it. You will need to consider the amount of space you have available and try to make the most of it by planning what structures you want and where they will be placed. It is at this stage that a professional designer could well be an advantage as they will be able to make suggestions that you would never have thought of and the little details they bring to the design might make all the difference.
You will also need to choose a colour scheme for the plants and flowers and which varieties to include. This will depend in no small measure on the type of soil in the garden, where the sun falls during the day and how good the drainage is. In addition it will also be determined by how enthusiastic you are for the ongoing exigencies of gardening. If you like a nice tidy garden but don’t really enjoy or have the time needed to tend it in detail, then it will be worth choosing plants and flowers that that require minimal attention. Some simple research in this area will be beneficial as, again, may the services of a professional designer: they will be able to suggest unusual plant species that will set your new garden apart from others — and they will also know where best to buy them.
Larger suburban gardens may need additional trees and shrubs to fill out the borders or break up an expanse of lawn. Alternatively you can add extra flower beds or perhaps another seating area. It is important that you don’t leave large portions of the garden looking bare in the longer term but it is equally important that you don’t overstock the garden. When purchasing plants and shrubs, ensure that you understand their likely size at maturity. You may need to accept a somewhat sparse impression for a while as the plants grow. On this basis, it is sometimes worth the additional expense of acquiring larger, more mature plant stock as part of the mix.
Designing your own garden can be time consuming however it can also be very rewarding, especially when you are sitting out on a warm summer’s evening knowing that the ideas and inspiration were originally yours. Suburban and larger gardens are quite easy to redesign because of their size and you can consider including those features that you have dreamed about for so many years. To get started, all you need to do is put your ideas on paper and go from there.