At first, the thought of landscaping a garden yourself sounds complicated and intimidating. But, you might be unwilling to pay thousands for a professional to do it for you. Happily, I’ve found there are some simple steps you can follow to design a beautiful garden yourself, without breaking the bank to do it.
I think the key thing to remind yourself when you start is that landscaping a garden is, at its simplest, just about making the most of the space you have. When you boil it down to that, it sounds a little less scary! Yes, it can be a complex undertaking, but it needn’t be if you want something simpler.
Below, you’ll find what I think are the best tips for getting started with your own landscape gardening project.
1) Start by assessing what you have
Before you do anything else, spend a couple of weeks observing your garden so you can digest what you already have. The reason I recommend a few weeks rather than, say, an hour one afternoon, is that your garden will change in different weathers and at various points in the day. Of course, the same is true from season to season, but I think considering how your garden will alter over the course of the year should suffice!
What you are looking for, in particular, is any cornerstone features that should definitely stay. For example, if you have a large tree that provides welcome shade in the summer, make sure you work this into your new design scheme. As well as thinking about what is currently aesthetically pleasing, consider what is useful, as your new garden needs to be practical as well as pretty.
2) A note on small gardens
Before I carry on, I just want to add that if your garden is small, you should narrow down your landscaping wish list to a few essential features – such as a patio or shed, for example. This will help keep your plans simple and make sure you don’t get carried away with ideas that simply won’t fit in the space you have.
3) Choose a theme
When landscaping a garden, one of the most important things to do is pick a theme. Now, this doesn’t have to be anything fancy or complicated – it could be a colour, for example, a style or even a shape. This theme will then be used to give your garden a unified, cohesive look.
It might be that you already have something in your garden that could be used as a theme. For instance, if you have a circular paved area in the centre, you could choose spherical bushes and plants of a similar shape, and perhaps add a rounded gazebo (such as those available at Waltons) to continue the theme throughout the garden.
Alternatively, you might prefer to pick a colour. If you fancy doing this via the plants you grow, it is perhaps wise to go for several shades that complement each other; otherwise, you risk being very limited in terms of what you can actually plant.
Another potential route to go down is picking a colour for the hard surfaces in the garden – so things like patios, pathways and sheds. Or, you could target the same areas but choose a particular style instead, such as rustic or ornate.
4) Don’t forget to think three-dimensionally
Just as a final note, it’s important to think about your garden in a three-dimensional sense. By that, I mean don’t just consider how much ground area your plants will take up; instead, make sure you take note of how dense the foliage will be, as well as the different heights the various plants, fences and ornaments will be.
As a brief example, if you have a large expanse of flat lawn, consider adding in some steps to break up the space. By taking these things into account, you can create a garden that has real depth of character.