Whether you have just moved into a house or have decided it is time to do something with the garden space of your home, landscaping is the way to go. But while it might sound intimidating and ultra-formal, landscaping is really about planning what you want to do with the space and how you are going to do it.
Plan the use of the space
Start out the process by looking at the garden and considering what you want to do with it. For example, you might want to have a patio area on which you can have a table and chairs. Or you might want an area for seating and another spot to run your barbeque. Alternatively, you may want an area for the kids to play, with swings and slides or other equipment that can change as they get older.
Planning the use of the space doesn’t have to be overly complicated, just a general outline of what you want from the garden. Do you want grass? Space for plants? Big flower beds? Sketch up some basics ideas after measuring the garden or grab a basic piece of garden design software if you love to do everything on the computer.
Once you know what you want to do with the garden, start looking at the practical considerations. One primary example is the placement of seating areas and the direction of the sun. Okay, we don’t rely on the sun here in the UK but you want your seating area to make the most of it when it does appear. Don’t place the seating area in the shade of the house or under the big, thick trees in your garden.
The wind changes direction but everywhere has their most common wind direction. When you are locating a barbeque, fire pit or other feature affected by the wind, take this into consideration. You may want some kind of wind block but be careful it isn’t flammable if there is fire involved in the feature. Use natural wind blocks like the house and trees to help with this.
Once you know where the basic features need to be located, you can start working on the design side. Don’t be afraid to get a professional to help if required, as it can be intimidating. One of the first things to consider is the focal point of the space. This might be your patio area or the kids play area. Alternatively, you may want to use another area of patio or decking or even a particular shape flowerbed.
Take the basic elements and start fine-tuning. Do you want flowerbeds to the left and right of the focal area? Do you want to include some pots with plants in for something different? You may also want to consider what plants will work in the various areas, including looking at sunlight and rainfall potential. Picking plants is often done around the location they will live and their particular needs.
Finally, don’t be afraid to change things as you go – the best designers will tell you this. You might have a brilliant idea as you are planning or find an idea doesn’t work. Be ready to make changes if needed to get the best end result.
About the author
Darren Lester is the founder of SpecifiedBy, a product specifier for the construction and landscaping industry.