Garden design can be fun and easy. Why not give it a go?
I love designing gardens that enrich family lives. I love tyre swings, tree houses and gardens for children. This is where I’m in my element. I love honest gardens that serve a purpose.
Garden design might be a little overwhelming for some, but don’t doubt your abilities. Designing your own garden or part of a garden is a really exciting thing to do and doesn’t have to be hard. It’s your garden, your space, your little piece of magic. Think about what you want, about what inspires you, what makes you happy – then start making it happen. It can start with a simple sketch or perhaps a single planting of a tree then just add to it from there. You can be calculating in your approach or just run with it. It’s a chance for you to create something wonderful.
I’ve designed and built commercial gardens, school playgrounds, fancy stuff, to minimal / no budget ‘love’ projects. I’m not interested in gardens that try and portray an image of wealth or exclusiveness. I adore daggy honesty and creating spaces that will be used. There’s all kinds of design ‘rules’ but my garden breaks a lot of them and although many people wouldn’t like my garden, my family and I love it. My garden isn’t perfect, but neither am I, so we’re a good match.
I’ve made some basic notes below that may assist you in designing your garden. If you have any questions or need some more tips, just ask. I’m always just an email away. – Andrew.
Write down your needs.
Write down your needs, how much you’re willing to spend and provide a realistic timeframe in which you want the garden to be completed.
Your needs could include a vegetable garden, a herb garden near the kitchen, a shed, a chicken run or a play area for the children. Consider whether you have the money to build the garden in one hit or whether you’ll budget for it stage by stage and work over a period of time. Think ahead and plan for the future. Do you plan to have children in the future, have dogs, or will you be going on frequent extended vacations? Think about the location of a clothes line or storage areas etc.
Think about your wants.
Remember that this is your garden so it should complement your lifestyle and be unique to you or your family. Do you like to entertain a lot with family and friends? Consider open areas outside with lots of room. Do you like to potter in the garden and have lots of exciting little places and various intriguing plants? Do you have outdoor pets?
Choosing plants (this is the fun part).
For example, if I’m wanting to screen a neighbour’s shed, I want a plant that with retain its leaves all year and grow to 3-5m in height. I don’t want it growing too wide and wandering into the neighbour’s yard, so it’ll have to be narrow in shape.
From here I refine my choices, exclude deciduous trees and those that don’t fit the height requirement. Once this is done, I have a selection of plants that are suitable for the job.
Then I can explore what different plants can now offer me and my garden. For example, I’d like a plant that flowers. I’d prefer a native flowering plant to attract birds and insects. After a few simple steps, plant selection becomes quite easy.
Another example would be needing an area shaded from the summer sun whilst allowing lots of light into the area during dark winters. In this situation, a deciduous tree would be ideal. From there we can explore any shape and size requirements, foliage colour, whether you want flowers etc.
Consider your soil type.
Native plants aren’t always local plants.
Don’t feel guilty about buying exotic plants. Exotics are those that come from other countries. I love the incredible variation found in exotics. My own garden comprises hundreds of exotic varieties with equal amounts of Australian natives. You can mix and match them too and they can look fantastic together. Not all exotics are water thirsty either. Lots are very drought tolerant, so you can still enjoy exotics whilst being conscious of your water use. Most fruit trees, herbs and vegetables are exotics.
Check what services and water pipes are under and above ground.
Check what services (gas and water pipes, electricity cables, leach drains) are under and above ground and what you need to be aware of. Are you intending to live at the property for a long time? How much maintenance are you willing to put into the garden?
What are the current issues that you want to overcome?
If you’re re-designing your garden, what are the current issues that you want to overcome? What do you like about your current garden and what elements do you want to keep? Do you like a certain style of garden (Mediterranean, cottage, tropical etc.) or do you want to come up with your own style?
Don’t forget fragrance!
Don’t rush it.
I’ve been designing and planting my own latest garden for the past four years and I’m still not finished. I’d like to think that no garden will ever really be complete. The thought of a garden not evolving seems sad. There’s no fun in that.
Gardening blogs and fact sheets.
Growing beans is super-easy and really rewarding. There’s so much variety!read more
Crop rotation… it’s a pretty simple concept.read more
We like to keep things simple. Here’s some basic (but vital) gardening tips.read more
Here’s some simple tips about incorporating edible flowers into your meals.read more
There really are a few simple bits of information you should know when planting a tree.read more