When starting out on a garden project, it’s important to measure your dreamy ideas against what’s feasible within the realm of your existing plot.

Whether your garden is the messy remains of a previous owner or whether you are beginning with a blank canvas in a new home, you’ll need to decide what you want from your new outdoor space. These days, you can get anything from a traditional cottage-style garden to an ultra-modern design of hard landscaping. Think carefully about how you’re likely to use your garden, and this will help determine the type you should work on creating.

modern landscape

modern landscape

modern landscape

Work with what exists

It’s tempting to raze everything to the ground and start afresh, but you should be prepared to adapt what’s already in your garden and to enjoy the process of transformation. A scraggly group of shrubs might provide a much-needed note of maturity in your new planting scheme, once they’ve been properly pruned. Always be realistic too about what you can manage. If you have work or family commitments, choose low-maintenance plants and features or all your hard work will go to waste.

Getting the look right

Do you long for your garden to be a lush oasis of colour and scent or would you prefer something sleek and minimal? Choosing your style will help narrow down what features might be suitable for your garden. For a tropical garden you’ll have to think carefully about plants that look exotic but can survive in the wet British weather. For a contemporary garden you might think creating slate and stone features.

Garden with shrubs and rockery

Garden with shrubs and rockery

Garden with shrubs and rockery

Protecting your privacy

Your garden is usually a place you will visit to get way from it all, and that means making sure it’s private. High fences will keep out nosey neighbours, but they will also cut down on natural light. Shrubs are a good option for creating a softer boundary but if they’re not evergreen, they won’t be nearly so bushy in the winter months.

Garden Fence With Roses

Garden Fence With Roses

Garden Fence With Roses

Be yourself

Remember, it’s your garden, so it needs your own personal touch. Having said that, there’s nothing stopping you from getting inspiration by visiting public gardens, keeping your eyes open while you’re out walking, stealing ideas from family and friends or hanging out at the local garden centre. Soak up the inspiration wherever you find it.

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Ailene Littleton

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