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Perhaps your family garden is now overgrown (… or definitely gone wild!), maybe it lacks character as a blank canvas and it is uninspiring to you; or perhaps it was designed for a different purpose in the past or you are going through a house refurbishment projects. Families grow, children leave home and there is no more excitement to look at that trampoline dismantled or to that old gazebo. Whatever the current state of your garden, with a good design and planning, it can still become something beautiful.

Like any good design process, it starts by exploring the right question between you and your designer/consultant

  1. Who is going to use this garden? My children, my dog, cats, is it required accessibility to elderly or disabled people? Even the wildlife could be a lovely frequent guest. Why not designing welcoming natural settings for all!
  2. What would you like to change that is non-negotiable? Some people aim for better screening in an urban environment or aim to a stunning planting scheme to provide more all-year-round-interest in each garden’s corner.
  3. Do you really want a radical change or are there any good aspects of your garden to retain? Some of the trees might be a Tree Preservation Order – You need to check with your local Council if unsure. Don’t forget to consider any privileged views to enhance or privacy areas you hold dear as this could result in further guidelines to shape hedges and planting schemes.
  4. Be honest to yourself: how much time do you have for gardening? You may consider low maintenance plants and an irrigation system if have limited time.
  5. What sort of plants – and home styling – do you love and you do NOT like at all? A scented cottage planting or formal hedges with evergreen shrub borders require very different conditions, care, and maintenance.
  6. Is there any water feature or outbuilding, greenhouse, sculpture in your dream garden? Focal points to catalyze attention are crucial in formal garden design whereas a subtlety refined hard landscape would better suit a contemporary garden.
  7. Have you checked on logistic? Considerations such as parking, access for vehicles and pedestrian routes to the house are important; storage and an eco-area for bins also require to be identified and properly screened. If the site is located by the sea or in a rural open area you might recur to windbreak solutions. Close to your seating area, are you considering only a barbecue or a full outdoor kitchen and fireplace? Lightning, water supply and drainage links to the house need to be considered.

Designing a garden is not just solving logistical problems with hard landscaping and planting; it is building a relationship between the house and its setting. Whether this is the countryside or in town. More practically: think of your garden, like an outdoor room of your home, as there is actually a similarity with the principles of designing residential interiors; in fact, the two have to work together!

And this will actually be the subject of our Part II – Blog article about Garden Design. Don’t miss it.


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