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Green finger 101 – How to design a garden that is both stunning and practical

July 13, 2022


Let’s take a look at some of the basic steps you must consider before designing a garden. 

The summer is well and truly here, and as the weather improves, so too can your garden with these easy and practical steps. That said, where do you begin? How do you find time to work out the dimensions, or draw up a plan?

Designing A Garden: 3 Basic Steps To Think About

Designing A Garden: 3 Basic Steps To Think About - person in gray t shirt and blue denim jeans sitting on brown clay pot

Design a Border

Let’s assume you’re starting with a blank canvas of a garden. The first step would be designing a border according to your needs and limitations. Where would you like the pathways to be? Where will you be putting your plants? Maybe you know what plants you want already, though if not, which plants are you planning to grow in your newly bordered garden? If you’re stuck for ideas, then Gardeners’ World has a fantastic beginners’ guide on plants and plant combinations that work well.

Once your borders are planned, decide where you’d like to place the furniture for when the sun is out. Would you prefer deckchairs or plastic lawn chairs? Maybe even both – one set for sunbathing or reading, and one set for any family gatherings. It ultimately depends on what you can fit in your garden space.

Knowing Your Garden

Maybe you don’t have the space that you’d like, but you can still achieve a great deal with a little. Though small gardens inevitably lack the space and ability to fill without appearing to cram them, consider the small garden an outdoor room. Gardeners’ World suggests a ‘few large features’ as opposed to ‘lots of small ones’. 

All that said, how you want your garden looks ultimately depends on your needs and requirements. Practicality is as important an element to consider when designing your dream garden.

If you have children, how do you make it child friendly? The same goes for pets – is there sufficient space for the dog or cat to frolic around? Maybe you just want to find room for a large dog bed so your beloved pet has a place to soak up the sun, or cool off in the shade. In any case, your dream garden can become a reality with the right planning and groundwork in place.

So you’ve designed your garden on paper and made the relevant measurements; that’s all there is to consider, right? Wrong. It’s important to understand many other factors, including the climate, the local geography, the soil type, and even which direction it is facing.

Designing A Garden: 3 Basic Steps To Think About - woman writing succulent on tag for plant

Small Steps

A phased approach is undoubtedly the best approach when creating and designing a garden. Putting too much on your plate at once can be unhelpful in scheduling a plan, but taking things step by step turns a lot of work into a few, easy-to-achieve projects. 

Don’t be afraid to leave some jobs to the professionals. For instance, installing or moving gas, electricity or water pipes. But above all, prioritise the jobs that make the garden practical over the ones that make it beautiful.

And there you have it – all the basics you need to know to get started on designing a garden that is both stunning and practical.

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