10 Things To Think About When Designing A New Garden

It might seem strange to publish a post about garden design on the winter solstice, but actually winter is an excellent time for the most important stage of any new garden:  Planning.  So today I bring you this contriuted post with a few things to keep in mind when planning a new garden.

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

Your outdoor space is a part of your home that has a lot of potential. Spending time outdoors can bring you joy, especially if you love to garden or relax in the sun. Designing an outdoor space that you can get use out of will help you  make the most out of your home – and possibly even increase its value.

But, like most transformations, a garden makeover involves work – and making decisions.  This can sometimes slow down progres and add to the cost of the transformation.  So it’s important to nail down your plans so that you can get the best result and achieve your dream outdoor space.

Start planning your perfect garden design with these 10 top tips.

1. Think about what you want to use your garden for

If your backyard was a blank canvas, what would you use it for? Your garden can be whatever you want it to be, but you’ll need to think carefully about what you’d like to do with it. Some questions to consider include:

  • Do you want to be able to grow plants and flowers? 
  • Perhaps you’d like to grow some fruit and vegetables?
  • Do you want to build an outbuilding?
  • Would you like a pool?
  • Will you use your garden to entertain?
  • Do you want to enjoy an outdoor dining or leisure space?

There are many routes you can take, and incorporating multiple ideas may help you create the right space. You can also get some inspiration from gardens that you love, helping you bring your garden planning dreams to life.

2. What can you do with your existing space?

While you might not be in love with your existing yard, are there things you can do to improve it? Some minor upgrades, new fencing, fresh paint, and a thorough pressure washing could give your backyard a bit of a lift so that you don’t have to start from scratch.

Take a closer look at some of your garden’s features to see if they could be transformed into something wonderful.

3. Work out a budget

Labor, materials, and landscaping maintenance all come at a price. This is why it’s important to get multiple quotes from contractors to work out what your garden design is going to cost you.

If you’re met with a cost that’s too high, it doesn’t have to mean the end of your plans. You could scale back, renovate your garden in stages, or you could do it yourself. If you’re confident in your skills, or if you can get skilled friends or relatives to help you out, you could save a lot of money on labor costs so that all you need to worry about is the cost of the materials. 

4. Make sensible choices about your materials

You’ll be faced with a lot of choices about your garden. Should you go for a stone patio or decking? Should you build a tool shed or a play area for the kids?  Do you want fencing or a natural hedge? And even as you nail down these choices, you’ll be faced with even more choices, including size and style.

Creating a patio or decking area can give you a great space for entertaining and is a part of your backyard you can get a lot of use out of. Understanding the key differences between a deck and a patio can help you choose the best option for your design. You could even decide that you want both to feature in your garden somewhere.

5. Research where the sun moves around your space

When designing your garden, the position of the sun throughout the day can make a big difference to your plans. A gardener’s guide to sun exposure is a useful reference that can help you decide on the right plants to put in your garden, ensuring they get as much sun and shade as they need to thrive.

Sunlight is also important for being able to enjoy time in your garden. If your seating space is going to be covered or left in the shade for most of the day, you may not end up using it as much as you could if it were located in a different part of the garden.

6. Decide which plants you’d like to have

Sun exposure is just one of the factors to decide which plants to put in your garden. Remember that it’s about your personal taste and preference too. There are some popular garden plants to consider, but you might also want to look at some more unusual plants.

Be mindful of the amount of maintainance each plant needs and whether you will actually have the time to maintain it.  Different plants also have different water needs so, if you live in an area where water is at a premium, this is an important factor to keep in mind.  Also research whether the plants you like will grow well in your local planting zone.

Different plants have different price points, so don’t forget to factor these into your budget, especially if you want to buy some new trees. 


7. Find ways to make it more wildlife-friendly

Designing a new garden gives you a great opportunity to help the environment. An eco-friendly backyard can attract wildlife, including birds, bees, and other animals.  This brings so many benefits to your garden and to the planet. There are a lot of green upgrades you can make to your backyard that can make a big difference to the world around you.

8. Will you be able to maintain it?

There’s no point spending a lot of time creating an outdoor space if you haven’t got the time or willingness to maintain. Your backyard should be what you want it to be, but it should also fit in with your time and lifestyle. Maintaining a healthy lawn involves regular work, but other tasks such as tending the plants and keeping your patio clean can also take time and patience. 

There’s nothing wrong with choosing a garden with a design that’s easier to maintain. It can still look incredibly striking and beautiful, but it will be less work to keep it that way.

9. Plan out the work and create a schedule

Landscaping work can take a long time to complete. There are a lot of things that can affect the work too, including the weather and materials shortages. Creating a schedule for the work can help you keep control of the project and make sure all the essential work is done. Working with expert landscapers can help you here, as they will have a good grasp of how long different jobs take and can plan them in a way that makes the most sense.

10. Don’t forget the finishing touches

Once all of the main elements of your garden are complete, you can then have a little fun with the finishing touches. This is where you can choose things like your outdoor lighting, furniture, and other elements that add a personal touch to your space. With all of these things in place, you’ll be able to really make the most of your garden.

Planning a new garden isn’t something to be undertaken lightly. It can take a lot of work to figure out what you want and how to make your vision fit within the space you have. But, in spite of all of the hard work, the end result is sure to be worth it, with a beautiful outdoor space you can enjoy and call your own. 

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