Planning your new Garden
Some considerations to think about for garden design
This is not meant to be a definitive list, but it does cover all of the major points you will need to consider before starting any work outside. It should help prevent you missing some important details, and may even give you new ideas which you may not have thought about yet.
OK, so you have a garden and you want to redesign it. Perhaps you've just moved in to a property and want to create your own garden, or you might just want to revamp your existing garden to create a new atmosphere or space. Well, what next?
It's all about planning!
It has to be said that "a major part of the work needed in getting the garden you want is down to planning!". There is a big difference between having a vision of your ideal garden, and getting that idea realised.
To help you, we have put together a list of some things to think about whilst planning your new garden.
Assessing your garden
To start off, you will need to assess your current garden, checking for existing elements that you want to keep (and maybe make a feature out of), and also for elements you want to remove.
You will also need to find out details about:
Garden Design, and Planning your new Garden
- Your Garden's Aspect - Is your garden north/south/east/west facing?
- This will affect the type of plants you can grow, and which areas of the garden receive sun and at what times of day.
- Soil Type - Is it heavy, light, dry, wet, acidic, neutral, or alkaline?
- Again this affects the type of plants you can grow, and what soil modifications you may need.
- Plant Exposure - Is it exposed to wind, frost, or sheltered?
- This can affect the type of plants you can grow, and how well your plants do. It also affects your comfort in the garden!
- Soil Drainage - Do you have areas of standing water, or is it dry?
- Unless you want a bog garden, you may need to condition the soil to help excess water drain away.
- Topography - Is your garden level or sloping, and to what extent?
- If it slopes, are you happy with it? Do you want to terrace the garden, or level it off?
At this stage, you should also note down how good access into and out of your garden is. Take measurements of any access routes into your garden. This will be important once work starts as poor access will certainly slow things down!
Once you have done this 'survey' of your garden, you should have a better idea of what is possible to achieve given the physical aspects of it. It should also give you a starting point to consider the next step...
The functions of your new garden
It's now time to think about what you want from your garden. Think about how it will be used, now and in the future. This can play a big part in determining what features will be included in the final design. Also note down your own desires for features and garden elements.
Some of the things you could consider including are:
Be aware that the costs will not stop after the work has been completed and the garden is realised. Most gardens require financial as well as physical upkeep, and you would do well to estimate the costs of maintenance of your designs (both in terms of time and money!).
'Essential' elements of your garden
It will be important to have certain 'essential' elements in your garden, as well as those you specifically want. What do we mean by 'essential'? There are certain common elements to any well thought out garden. The following list shows a few examples of what we mean:
- Pathways - to link up areas of the garden, and provide clean, safe and 'dry' access.
- Storage Areas - eg: a shed to store garden tools, lawnmowers etc.
- Composting Area - to help discard your organic waste, and provide a free source of nutrient rich compost.
- Outdoor Safe Electricity Supply - so that electrical equipment can be used
- Outdoor Water Supply - for easy access to water for hoses and watering
Of course, we are not saying that you cannot do without the above items. However, this list gives you some idea of the kinds of things that might easily be left out at the planning stage.
Well, now you should have all of the basic information to produce a great garden design which will be tailored specifically for your garden!
You should now have a pretty good idea of the kind of elements your new garden will consist of, and also what kinds of plants will flourish in your garden. You can now look forward to putting pen to paper and, using the information you have gathered, design the actual garden layout.