Designing and creating a beautiful garden can hugely improve the quality of your home life, but the idea of transforming an outside space can seem quite daunting. In fact, it’s actually not that difficult if you get the planning right.
Budgeting – DIY or hire a landscaper?
The first consideration is usually cost. Landscaping services are often more expensive than people think – an average-sized garden costs around £10,000 to be completely re-made, for example.
However, if you have the skills and time, you could cut some of the cost by leaving the heavier work to a paid professional, then you cover the rest.
It doesn’t need to cost the earth; a few hundred pounds is enough to give your garden a new lease of life. Laying some new grass turf and adding attractive plants are relatively small changes which can have a big impact.
It’s all in the planning…
Once you’ve worked out your budget, there are a number of key areas to think about whilst making your plan.
This part is really exciting, as you can let your imagination run riot – at least a little! It’s also really important, as your final garden design should flow from the decisions you make at this stage:
1. What do you want from your garden?
Perhaps most importantly you need to consider the ‘function’ of your garden – you can have a discussion with your family on this, so they really feel involved in the project.
What should your garden offer you? Does ‘pretty’ beat ‘practical’? How much socialising will you do in it? Do you want to grow vegetables, create a wildlife haven or even keep chickens?!
It may be worth googling pictures of ‘perfect’ gardens for inspiration.
2. Maintenance – high or low?
Are you the green-fingered type? Do you want to be cutting, planting, trimming and mowing more, or less, often, if ever?
In other words, how time-consuming do you want your garden to be? Gardens can be designed to be low, medium or high maintenance, so it’s best to decide at the outset.
3. Areas for socialising
Creating a defined area for sitting, eating and socialising is a high priority for many.
How big do you want yours to be? Too small and you might regret it, too big and your lovely new garden may look a little lopsided.
4. Decking or patio?
It can be considerably cheaper to create a decked area, but stone patios are usually longer lasting.
A budget may influence this! A 20 square metre, average-size stone patio costs around £1,800. Or the same size decked area between £900 and £1,600 (Figures from priceyourjob.co.uk).
5. Privacy and security
Depending on where you live, privacy and security can be a very important consideration.
Would you like high fencing or walls or are any planned sitting areas within eyesight of overlooking windows? What about security features and lighting?
6. Family gardens
If you have children, do you want to create a designated play area, possibly with a sandpit, swings and a playhouse? Could the garden be ‘educative’, with places where birds and insects can thrive?
Visualising your new garden
Once you’ve decided on your garden’s ‘function’, it’s really important to create a visual representation of where things will go – such as paths, borders and patios – and what the overall layout will be.
If you can draw, you might enjoy doing so on large sheets of paper, but for others, the internet has plenty of great design tools you can use for free – House & Garden magazine provides a good list here: https://www.houseandgarden.co.uk/article/garden-design-apps
Published 7th July 2020