How to landscape a garden

Jess Soothill's top tips.

As the RHS Chelsea Flower Show comes to a close for another year, and all the show gardens, plants and floral stands are packed away and transported home, it gets us all thinking about our own outside spaces. During the spring and summer months many people start contemplating towards creating their own landscaped garden, and making significant changes outdoors.

The trouble is, just where to start?
 
With children and pets gardens can be difficult to keep at their best – or maintain if you’re short on time – like we are as a busy, working family. But spending time in the garden can be rewarding and relaxing and make for a superb family entertaining space.
 
If you've never tackled a landscape design before, you might be overwhelmed by all the choices you can make – and just how much information there is. But the same principles that guide your interiors decisions should guide your designs outside, too.
 

Here are 4 tips for garden landscape design for beginners:

 
1/ Plan.

Make a list of your needs and wants. Do the children require a play space? Do you want to grow vegetables? Would your family eat al fresco on a patio area? Once you have an idea of how you’d use the garden then do some very rough sketches of where you want to place things. You can then easily play around with ideas. Working around a focal point is also a good start too – such as an existing pond or impressive tree. Then go outside and measure the areas out using string or spray paint and see what they would like in actual size.



2/ Study the sun.

Look at where the sun is all day, at different times of the seasons – for it may move and the house might create large areas of shadows. If you’re considering putting in a patio for entertaining purposes for example then you might not want it to be in a shaded area all afternoon. Your design should take into account what the sun and wind do at different times of the day and year, so don’t rush into any decisions. Instead really analyse your garden before you go ahead.


 
3/ Start small.

The designers that create gardens for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show are the masters and experts in their field (many have been doing it as a profession for years) so don’t aim too high. Part of creating a landscape is slowly developing a plan and enjoying the process. Have fun with it! From your plan, start with a small flowerbed/some set areas for planting. You don’t need to buy everything all at once – instead build it up over time and see what grows and does well in your conditions and soil. Use plants of different heights, colours and textures to add personality and character into your garden and to give it depth.


 
4/ Keep practicing.

Patience and nurturing is key in gardening. Unless you have a team of 60 people to make-it-over (highly unlikely!) gardens do not happen overnight and instead take a lot of time to mature and develop. We are now living in a new-build home and it will take many years before our garden becomes established and settled, however we are having so much fun and pride creating it.


 

Publish date: 18/08/2016