What do you want to do in your garden? Your garden is an extension of your home and it should provide a place for you to enjoy life to the full. When thinking about any changes that you may make to the yard, it is important to consider how you propose to use the space not just now but in the future. This can range from keeping very busy, to doing as little as possible at the other extreme. Ask yourself a series of questions about the yard’s many roles.
Do you want a space for entertaining, a play area while the children are young or simply a peaceful but beautiful yard in which to relax when you have free time? Bear in mind that your needs, and those of your family are likely to change with time and that it may be more difficult to make significant changes to the garden in the future as it establishes and matures. Ideally come up with flexible ideas that can be adapted. A range Of different requirements might suggest the creation of separate and possibly hidden areas within the same yard.
The active gardener
Digging, sowing, and planting being great rewords Os picots grow and change throughout the seasons. Colors and textures evolve, and there is something new to see each week. Plants attractive to birds bees, and butterflies bring borders to file.
The room outside
Gardens ore often described as outdoor rooms and con be planned cs of the house. Ensure continent with features such as stylish furniture, screens, pointed canopies, and planters. An open air room be used entertaining and socializing in much the me as the interior. while also offering children space energetic pay.
Gardens for busy people need to be easy to but they can still be lovely to look at. The require simple design solutions with o strong concept and a pleasing Joy out for long-term appeal allowing owners to sit back and enjoy the new.
A peaceful space
One of the special joys of having a garden is that you can simply or rattling in the open surrounded by the sounds and scents of plants and wildlife, GI dens designed for this purpose eon provide the perfect antedate to the stresses and Stations of everyday life.
How do you want to feel ?
Gardens stimulate emotions. Immediately upon entering a garden we respond to our surroundings. When planning a new design, you may choose to be bombarded with sensory stimulation a riot of vibrant color, textural diversity. Or striking features to excite and energize the spirit, Or you might want a place for quiet reflection and contemplation, or even a space for therapy and healing such as a calm, simple garden with evergreens and a reflective pool. If you have enough land, it may be possible to demarcate different areas for different moods by making effective use of screening or tall plants.
Creating a new design for a garden provides an opportunity to change or enhance the atmosphere of each area through layout, distribution of paths and spaces, and light touches of detail and decoration. Color, shape, fragrance, and foliage will also affect the tone, and by using these elements you can help to foster positive moods and emotions.
The dynamic garden
Exciting, stimulation sensations can be created using hot colors spiky plants, sharp lines. challenging artwork, varied textures and bold use of lighting But be warned strident can be overpowering.
The presence of water creating sunlit reflections and offset by natural plantings can help to evoke a feeling of energy growth and rejuvenation. Soft color and 0 complementary selection Of materials enhance the mod These are place for -recharging your batteries after a long day work.
These gardens should be private unchanging spaces and ore often characterized by culinary, therapeutic and medical plants, such as herbs with their scents or healthy crops such as fruit trees. They provide o reassuring, and restorer He environment
Cool colas simple flowing shapes. delicate Scents, and restricted use or materials and planting will create a calm and peaceful mind in the garden. Simple focal elements waterfall and carefully chosen lighting help to enhance this uncultured spaces
What will your garden look like ?
Garden visits shows and plant nurseries as well as magazines books, television programs, and websites, will provide anyone wishing to change their garden with a wealth of inspiration. But remember, the key to successful design is not collecting ideas and trying to combine all of them into One space. Rather, it is a process Of reviewing and editing a range of ideas, with the aim of developing a coherent overall
Grow your favorite
Your garden con be horticultural extravaganza or a setting favorite plant These gardens are seasonal and offer change and continuous involvement. Try to work to a clear overall concept in terms of color texture, and structure,
Sculpt with plants
Bold-leaved plants bring o sense of the exotic and can be used to create a lush garden With a subtropical feel. Choose plants carefully to ensure that they not get big and are suited Material
Re-create a summer vacation
Why limit your vocation to a couple weeks. when you can pretend to 0 summer trip year ? Adapt ideas seen on you trove’s example. Fragrant lavender beds and window boxes brimming with ivy-levied geraniums for echoes or southern France.
How much do you want to do ?
The amount of time you have to devote to your yard on a daily, weekly or monthly basis should be a major consideration when thinking about an overall design and its future maintenance. Unless you have a very simple, easy-care garden with hard landscaping and evergreen planting, the list Of tasks normally changes seasonally with less to do in the cooler winter months. In a high-maintenance garden with mixed flower borders, lawns, fruit trees, and a vegetable plot spring and summer are very busy seasons. Lawn-mowing, hedge-trimming pruning and feeding fruit trees sowing and transplanting vegetables. plant propagation and ongoing cultivation, all take time. This may be the garden you want but be realistic about how much time you can spare to keep it looking good. Working in your garden watching it mature, and admiring the results is immensely pleasurable, but do plan for maintenance in advance and budget to bring in help if necessary.
Regular Up keep
Most small yards will not need attention more than two or three times a week at most although a yard filled with lots Of pots will require doily watering in hot dry spells. Generally forger with loans mixed borders a divers range of plants and growing areas will toke up more time.
The weekend gardener
This is Possible the most common category, especially for people who only hove spate time on weekends. Lawns require weekly mowing and edge teaming in summer and need to the keep in check thought-out out in garden
Keep it practical
Most shrubs, climber and perennial plants require attention at intends. pruning may be required in spring and fall borders need weeding feeding, and plants such as roses be deadheaded (left), Lawns are repetition this category although Meadows are an option.
Gardens requiting infrequent exclude lawns and hedges. Plan for low rather than no maintenance to avoid a sterile look. Many trees and Shrubs only need on annual clean up and hard landscape with just accational attentions
Designing your garden is all about finding solutions. It can seem daunting at first but if you start a clear idea of your aspirations and practical needs, your basic design will soon begin to take shape.
Begin by pulling together all your inspirations using magazines. photographs and online sources to create a book or folder of ideas, Your images may include plants and landscapes you love and perhaps furniture or art you admire. TO help Clarify your thoughts. You could then draw a simple bubble diagram that identifies areas for different activities, Such as eating and dining, seating or play space for the children.
The routes of paths shapes of structures, and the spaces between elements all have an impact on the look and feel of a design and need to be considered before you draw up a finished plan. For example, sinuous paths and organic shapes combine to create relaxed and informal designs. whereas straight paths arid symmetrical layouts convey a formal look.
Every site will have its own particular challenges whether your garden Is on a steep slope and needs terracing or if It is tiny or an awkward shape, Whatever the problem, understanding Of how to use lines shapes height, structure, and perspectives will help. You can also employ a range of techniques to lead or deceive the eye, creating an illusion of space a small garden or diverting attention to focus on specific features,
When it Comes to creating atmosphere and mood the colors, patterns and textures that you choose have a powerful impact, Color also affects the impression of size and space in the garden cool blues and whites tend to make an area feel bigger worm reds and yellows make spaces appear lively and more compact. Pale colors and white reflect light into gloomy plots Texture can be used to great effect too creating exciting contrasts by combining rough with smooth or shiny with matte.
There are no rights or wrongs in the world of garden design, so have fun and experiment.
A plan is a two dimensional representation of a three dimensional garden and provides a useful thinking tool. It allows you to develop and share ideas easily with others about how your space can be organized and where various elements should be located. You can produce a simple sketch or a more detailed, scale plan to illustrate your design; the plans shown here explain the different types and how to use them.
These plans don’t need to be accurate Or drawn to scale, but they can be used to experiment with ideas, especially the relationship of horizontal surfaces (built and planted) with the locations of walls, screens, trees and other main features. They can also include connecting elements, such as paths and views.
The finished garden
Sara Jane Rothwell owner of the practice London Gorden Designer. Produced both an overhead and o planting plan (opposite, top and middle) to clients the new design.
drawings are difficult to master, so cover a photo of your garden with taking paper and sketch ideas top to a view or the changes
A basic bubble diagram helps you explore relationships between with the garden. It is on idea to experiment quickly before drawing a more detailed plan,
Garden plan symbols
These common symbols for plans a visual design language that enables builders and other professionals working in your yard to read the plan quickly and understand what is being proposed. The symbols illustrated here are those that are most often used and most widely understood, and can be reproduced in black and white or color.
Plans that have been drawn to scale and show accurate arrangements, locations, and dimensions of proposed structural elements, planting, and features are known as finished plans. These plans are intended mainly for construction purposes and will need to be read and understood by builders or contractors who use them to measure areas and lengths (for cost purposes), and to Identify exact locations on the ground. Changing ground levels are shown as separate cross-sections, or by annotating the change of level on the overhead plan.
An overhead plan should show the correct sizes and locations of all proposed elements, such as horizontal surfaces, areas of planting (topsoil) locations and alignments of linear elements (walls, fences, screens, hedges), and singular components (trees, specimen shrubs, pools, stepping stones steps, lights, drainage points, and so on).
Overlaid photos Perspective drawings are difficult to master, so cover o photo of garden with tracing proper and sketch ideas an top to give a three-dimensional view of the changes.
Adding the details
In small-scale overhead plan, the individual materials con be shown; larger scale point usually illustrate these materials more symbolically
A planting plan is important for calculating the correct number of plants in the garden and identifying their exact locations. It also shows the position of larger specimens, as well as groups or drifts of the same species. This plan is most useful and needs to be most accurate. when planting is being carried out by a contractor without the designer present. If you are doing the planting, a plan can help you accurately calculate the number of plants you’ll need and show how to set them out prior to planting for more on creating a planting plan).
Drawing up a planting plan
Gorden point symbols con be reproduced by hand a by using special design software , if you ore less experienced in reading planting plans, you may prefer to reproduce these symbols in color.
If you have a sloping garden and want to make changes to it, you may need a plan to show the impact of these alterations. For steeply sloping yards, hire a land surveyor to draw a cross-section, or elevation plan. This will show the significant levels before and after any changes. More complex slopes may need additional plans.
Cross section plan
A cross-section MUSE show existing and proposed eves so that the differences are easily located.
How do we find ideas for our outside spaces? For most of us, inspiration may initially come from other gardens. whether they are our friends’ Or pictures we have found online or in books, magazines. Or newspapers. While this is a good starting point, and probably the best stimulus for anyone who is still developing their confidence in making design decisions, it can ultimately constrain the creative process. Most successful designers look outside their own discipline for other influences to help develop their concepts and push the boundaries, so seek inspiration from a variety Of sources Or select a theme. You can then create a “mood board” of appealing ideas to help you develop your own unique design.
By focusing on aspects of experiences that you like—for example. places you have visited on vacation. natural landscapes that you love, the work of favorite artists or architects, interior designs or ideas you have seen on websites such as Facebook. Pinterest or or TV programs—you can build up a picture of a garden you will enjoy. Also scroll through nurseries’ websites for images of plants that you like. and make a note of these too. You can collate your images and ideas by printing out pictures and sticking them into a notebook or onto an A3 sheet of paper to create a mood board. Alternatively source a website that allows you to upload your garden to make a mood board online. which you can then easily refer to on your phone, tablet or computer. Whichever method you choose continue to build up your portfolio of images until you are ready to start the garden design process.
Remember that you do not need to include all of your design influences in your final plan. In fact, professional designers often start with the bare bones of an idea and build on that rather than cramming in everything on their or their clients’ wish list from the start. Also narrow down your plant list to about 20 key varieties (you can always introduce more at a later stage) and look through your images for colors that appeal again keeping to a simple palette—see the information on introducing color and the color wheel on guidance.
using a board
Collected photograph mages from websites, and Pictures from magazines to create a Bord or active and planting ideas. You eon then use these as the o totally new garden design are starting pant for the renovations of on existing plan.
Case study: a seaside theme
A coastal theme is a natural choice for anyone who has been inspired by a vacation by the seaside. Study scenes plants and other features while you are away and start compiling a coursebook of ideas. photographs and even pressed flowers that capture the essence Of the garden you want to create at home.
Also look at colors, shapes and materials that reflect the location. These include the turquoise Water local costumes, or landscaping materials used houses or walls. However, remember that developing a design is not about copying exact what you have seen elsewhere nor is it combining all your ideas into one busy area. Good design evolves when a theme is careful adapted to suit a planned space. So consider all the elements that inspire you and see whether they work together well before you draw up your final plan. You may also find it useful to sketch a bubble plan marking the different areas and functions you are planning for your garden. Then file your inspirations under those headings, as shown here.
Main inspiration in inspiring vacations by the sea will provide wealth of idea. Here the light throw the trees add a romantic ambience.
Seaside planting sources
Re-create castle shallow shall and drought coordination for example, with gravel borders to mimic the environment these pants world nature grow.
furniture that is in keeping with the Such as these casual desk choirs, helps to create a coherent lock as well as providing a welcome area of relaxations.
Devising play areas
Sand and water continue the seaside theme and are obvious magnets for children, A micro environment that includes these elements not only makes a great play area that will provide children with hours of fun.It also looks attractive when not in use. If you have very young children. you may prefer to avoid the potential danger Of open water and install just a sand box. If you are wary of vast quantities of sand ending up in the pool (or in your house) substitute small rounded pebbles to make your “beach.”
Sun and sand
A practical play area combined an organic layout and seaside plants makes o delightful feature.
If you have room in your garden, allocate a space for a swing. Use recycled, hardening rope and drift-wood for the seat and cover the ground beneath with bark chips.
Shapes and spaces
Choosing the basic ground shapes for your plot is a good starting point for a design one simple shape is best for small gardens, but larger areas can accommodate a variety. How you fill the spaces between the shapes also determines the final look.
How to use shapes
When choosing squares rectangles or circles for a design also consider the size. Shape, and Of buildings and boundaries, with different options try layouts based on existing features, the structure of the house and tie way the garden will be viewed and used. In general, shapes with straight sides are easier and cheaper to build than circles and ovals.
A variety of these straight-sided shapes easily divide the garden into separate areas provide a strong sense of direction, and exploit both long and short views. A long axis running down the garden will lengthen it visually, a diagonal layout creates more interest blocks laid across the plot foreshorten the garden and take the eyes to the sides making the space feel wider.
This design has a strong linear axis. The shapes and planting spaces we simple and unified.
The long view
A diagonal ,layout directs the eye toward the comers. The overall design evokes energy.
Circles are unifying shapes and while combinations can create pleasing effects they do leave awkward pointed junctions that can be difficult to plant or designate. Work with geometric principles for example a path should lead you into the center Of the circle; if set to the side the design will appear unbalanced. Ovals have a long axis providing direction and orientation.
The three overlapping circles are aligned along a diagonal to provide a strong design axis,
The restricted access and pleasing asymmetry of this design create on entering space to explore.
Combining various shapes creates more interest but creates problems a curve and a rectangle meet, or different materials connect. Generally, keep the layout simple, experimenting with scale and proportion to work out how many opposing shapes can be employed, Planting can be used to “glue” the shapes together and to blur the joins between awkward junctions.
A traditional symmetrical layout, mirrored along central axis, is the basis for a formal design.
Changing the size and orientation of a shape Avers o diatomic and imposing layout .
Densely planted spaces using height and filling the garden’s width will create a cocoon, while sparse airy planting hugging the boundaries gives an open, spacious feel. Spaces can also be used to disguise the size and shape of a garden. For instance a jungle effect in a small garden Can imply the existence of more space by blurring the edges. whereas exposed boundaries may make it appear smaller. Conversely in a large country garden open spaces can blend seamlessly with the surrounding landscape making the plot seem even bigger. Consider too existing planting and structures and work with the spaces they create.
This garden is densely planted by the house, allowing close inspection of the flowers and plants, and then opens up an to a specious lawn, two moods.
interlocking steel edge rectangular “trays” are the basis for this simple design. The metal the cladding on the building creates a focal point and an effective visual boundary.
A series or parallel divisions with offset gaps for planting or practical structures, forces movement and news around the garden. The design draws in.
Using instead or adds a smother flow to the layout because the eye is token along their lengths, router than in direct as in a circle.
In this mixture of rectangle and curved hedges only one the garden can be seen at any time. This allows the hidden areas to hove themes.
A name space between tall boundary will be claustrophobia and oppressive. Here, in a design dominated by a loan and hard landscaping, low vegetation Creates an overexposed to more light longer views and with a connection to the sky above. It fed open intimate areas may be lost.
The same space wed with vegetation different heights will be darker much more enclosed, and with no views to the sides. The path will appear as a corridor through the center and con lead to different parts of the divided by the planting into separately designated
The some now moved to the side also creates a effect but this time views ore allowed under the canopy to the right, across a narrower stop of planing Into the brighter space beyond. To the jet secret intimate places can be created With o or arbor among the mixture 0f high and low planting.