GARDEN design isn’t rocket science, you just need to ask yourself a few basic questions and follow some general guidelines and with a bit of hard work you can make you garden look amazing. Remember gardens aren’t made by sitting in the shade!
Here’s a few points to think about:
1. Think about what you want and what you like and don’t like. Do you like contemporary or traditional gardens? To some extent this will depend on the type of house you have. A cottage garden may look out of place next to an ultra modern house.
2. Who will use the garden, children, pets etc? Do you want a big lawn for playing with the kids, a large patio for entertaining or somewhere to grow your own veggies?
3 Think about how much time you have to look after it and what your budget is.
4. Measure up the garden as accurately as possible, to scale if you can using graph paper. This helps you to get things in proportion and helps you organise what you have.
5. Play around with shapes and features on the paper. Maybe increasing the size of a flower bed, adding a new gravel path or a different shaped lawn. Generally, gardens are designed using a combination of rectangles and squares or circles and curves as a theme. If you already have a very angular house then a formal recti-linear design might work. If you have a house in a rural setting then informal curves might look better. Go with your gut instinct.
6. Use shapes to give the impression that the garden is bigger then it actually is. Curves, zigzags or diagonal paths can make the garden appear longer or wider. Horizontal lines make a garden look wider, whilst vertical lines make a garden look longer. If for example you have a long narrow garden, then plan a curved or zigzag path, a straight path down the middle will make your garden look longer and narrower.
7. You will need to follow a few plant rules such as aspect (sun and shade) and soil type (light and free-draining or heavy clay) and pH. But other than that grow whatever you want to grow; it’s your garden so you have what you want
8. If you have a small garden, don’t include too many varieties of plants. It can look over fussy. Group a number of the same variety of plants together (this includes bulb). We try to plant in groups of 1,3,5,7 & 9. Single plants of mixed colours can confuse the eye. But don’t worry about colours clashing in the garden, remember they don’t clash in nature.
9. When choosing your plants remember that red and oranges can make the garden look smaller whereas softer colours can lengthen the garden. You can create a false perspective by planting vibrant colours near to the house and muted tones at the end of the garden.
10. Give the garden different views and vistas with trees, benches or statues. This will give the impression that the garden is larger than it actually is and give you plenty of interest.
11. Don’t forget wildlife and ensure there is room for birds and butterflies as well as for you.
12. Use reclaimed materials such as old bricks or paving they have more character. Try to use natural stone if you can and if your budget allows for it. It looks fabulous wet, which is most of the time in our British climate.
13. Keep your design simple. Over-designed complicated designs can look too fussy. Don’t get put off, everybody is capable of designing a garden, you just need passion and enthusiasm. The more you put into your garden the more it will suit you and the more soul it will have. A garden should be felt not just seen.
It can take a lifetime to get your garden perfect so take your time and remember everybody’s garden will be different. It would be a very boring world if everybody’s garden was the same.
www.woolcottandsmith.com July 2011