Once you’ve nailed the final design of your new garden, you can start on the fun bit – choosing the plants and deciding where to put them. Flowers, trees and shrubs create style, depth and character, so pick carefully and you will wow visitors with your magnificent outdoor creation.

Combining and arranging plants is the real art of garden design and having experience in this really shows. As a beginner, you’re going to make some mistakes – everybody does, but try not to worry too much about them. Chalk it up to experience and remember to take the advice of experts at garden centres and steal any ideas you see working well in other people’s gardens.

Beds & Borders

Planting new beds and borders will add interest and colour to your garden and it’s very rewarding watching new plants grow and develop. When planning a new border, be sure to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I want the border to look formal or informal?
  • Will the border be in the sun or the shade?
  • Is the soil acidic or alkaline?
  • Does the soil drainage need improving?
  • How much work am I prepared to spend maintaining the border?
  • How much money do I want to spend?

Your answers will help you determine the types of plants you choose and where you plant them. For example, trees and shrubs cost more but take little maintenance, while herbaceous perennials are more time-consuming to maintain, but create real impact and style.

Edges for Your Garden Beds and Borders

Edges for Your Garden Beds and Borders

What style?

Decide on a theme and stick to it. Large leaves and richly textured foliage will bring depth and density to a garden, while opting for fine, silvery and delicately-leaved plants will create a lighter feel. Formal gardens should include some sharply clipped or shaped plants, like box and yew, to create hedges and screens, while informal gardens like cottage gardens should always combine flowers, vegetables and herbs.

Hosta

Hosta

Which colours?

Resist the temptation to select too many different colours as this can weaken the overall design, whereas repetition of a few key plants or colours will bring your scheme together.

Remember that colours should be linked to the mood of the garden. Blue and white create a cool, clean look and a sense of distance. Pastel colours are best suited to low light conditions where they will look reflective and fragile, while orange and red look striking and can be used to “heat up” a cool area.

Create Year-Round Interest

Green summer english garden

Green summer english garden

Don’t let your garden be a gorgeous riot of colour at the height of summer, but deteriorate into a bare, lifeless space in the winter. Remember that it will look different as it evolves through the seasons, and take this into consideration when choosing what to plant.

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Ailene Littleton

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