6 DIY garden design basics you should know
- By: Ashley Saunders
- September 2018
The topic of garden design basics is something we’re passionate about, even if we do break a rule now and again! However, rather than thinking of in terms rules, consider these garden design basics as building blocks.
These ideas work no matter what size your garden is and will help you start to create a fantastic outdoor space. Regardless of how much space your working with, there are many ways to improve it.
With a bit of planning, you can create a space, or we like to think of it a further room that perfect for relaxing and enjoying most of the year. The biggest secret is size doesn’t matter! What does is how you arrange and use the space.
As gardening is not an exact science and even most experienced make mistakes, novice gardeners shouldn’t be the least bit intimidated. Here are some garden design basics that every gardener should know.
If you have a large garden, seeing it as huge space is likely to frighten you, even if it’s just slightly! You might struggle to know where to start. That said, you can bring clarity to your garden by dividing it into sections. Having a few sections makes your garden more manageable.
For example, you could create spaces for growing, relaxing, entertaining and playing. Again none of these space needs to be massive, just well thought out and useful. Over time, you can play with the size and function of each zone as your needs change.
You can grow veg, herbs and flowers in a fairly small container, you can always start with a raised bed and a few pots of herbs. If you enjoy growing vegetables, then you can easily reshape the garden to give you a bigger growing space.
Relaxing and entertaining spaces can usually be the same. Think about how you entertain – do you gather with friends over a BBQ or a glass of wine? If so building a BBQ and fireplace might be money well spent.
If you have football mad kids, then zone the bottom of the garden using some medium height hedges to create a small football pitch. Hedges are a fantastic way to hide kids play area including climbing frames. Plus, hedges give the adults something nice to admire.
Clever planting for year-round colour
While some flowers only bloom once, there are many varieties which continue to provide colour throughout the year or spring into life every year on cue!
Start with a few evergreen plants such as box or yew. These, when placed around the garden, will hold everything together and provide a nice canvas for you to play with.
Decide when you’ll use the most so that you can prioritize these seasons and plan in breaks. For example, you might want to leave the garden in winter to develop naturally, then take a more active role in spring and summer.
You can easily plant a range of flowers who will provide different colours throughout the year. From snowdrops in February to crocuses in March, tulips in April and May to alliums in June.
Echinaceas, asters, verbena bonariensis and Japanese anemones will start to come through in July and still be going strong until the first frosts. Plus all of these are cheap enough to plant large beds.
Living the good life
With society becoming more conscious of food miles, why not grow some veg and keep some chickens? None of these are particular hard to do!
In terms of keep chickens, it’s easier than you think and they don’t need a great deal of space. Even you have a postage stamp sized garden, it’s likely you can keep chickens and start producing eggs. Chicken also produce natural fertiliser! Plus, the upfront investment is relatively small.
This is another of our garden design basics as having plenty of solid garden furniture will make it easier to enjoy. There’s nothing worse than having to keep move tables and chairs around.
Also, consider comfort when purchasing furniture, nothing is worse than ornate chairs which are uncomfortable to sit on.
Our garden furniture material has to be Ratten. This widely used material is hard wearing, stylish and comfortable. Plus in winter you can simply remove the cushions and leave the rest in place. You can buy single seats, section sofa and tables, and much more!
Keep upkeep easy
By zoning your garden and thinking about when and what you will plant, you’ve actually made keeping it looking good easier.
Another way to help you keep on top is to create a list of all the tasks you need to do and then divide them over the season. This way you can reward your hard work with some time enjoying your garden.
Just remember that lots of lawn require lots of work, whereas decking only needs to be stained every couple of years and occasionally swept clean. So, it’s worth keeping grass to a healthy minimum and use beds, gravel and decking to maximum effect.
Essential tools and storage
A lot of would-be gardeners believe they have to have loads of tools and equipment. Thankfully you don’t. A few hand tools and a lawn mower is really all you need.
Also, you don’t need to spend a load of money building a shed when there are lots of easy to assemble plastic on the market. Most will be big enough to sort a mower, some tools and hose.
We recommend getting a garden storage unit you can lock from the outside with a padlock as it’s more secure.
Top garden design basics
If you’re looking for a cheat sheet with a summary of our garden design basics, here it is!
- Think in terms of zones
- Plant easily maintained flowers
- Use box or yew to create a backdrop
- Divide up tasks for each season
- Buy a few tools and a small storage unit
- Make sure you enjoy your garden during the summer!