Your Landscaping Ideas

Once you have considered what you need from your new garden you should come up with your own ideas to make the garden your own. Although you are hiring a landscaper to design and install a new garden they will expect some input from you e.g. your main areas of interest.

  • Get some inspiration by spending some time looking through landscape design books and magazines.
  • Take the time to drive around your neighbourhood, and check out what your neighbours have done.
  • Think about layout, colour combinations, paths and drives, types of trees and flowers, etc.
  • Brainstorming sessions are useful. Get the family together and sketch out ideas.
  • Visit garden centres and nurseries.
  • Check out the web sites of professional contractors. Get a picture of what is possible.

The more research you do, the more likely you are come up with design ideas that you happy with. Give free rein to your creativity. Obtain as much advice as you can. Perhaps the most difficult thing about designing your garden is knowing where to begin.

Firstly, be realistic and honest about the amount of time you have available for gardening. Gardening takes up time and if you only use the garden occasionally on summer evenings or at weekends a low maintenance garden is a priority. You do not want caring for your garden to become a chore.

Secondly, consider how your garden will appear from your house, and at the moment you step outdoors. Think about what you would like to see, and the mood you would like your garden to create.

Think about what you will do in the garden, where you would sit in the morning, in the afternoon, and in the evening. Where will you go to be in the sun or to find shade? Make sure you know in which direction the garden faces, and how the sun shines on it throughout the day. You need to find a balance between sunshine and shade. The amount of sunshine each part of your garden receives will significantly affect the sort of plants that will grow there.

In family gardens there are a variety of needs to be met. A good solution is to create a defined playground area for the children with a separate area where adults can relax.

Consider the boundaries of your garden. There may be all sorts of issues here that you need to take account of in your plan. Overhanging trees in the neighbours' garden, an ugly wall, a damaged fence, and unattractive view, traffic noise, a garden overlooked by neighbours' windows. What can you do in your design to reduce these handicaps?

Consider what features of your garden you will retain. Large shrubs and trees are worth keeping because they give a garden instant maturity. These features can be a useful framework around which you build your design.

Next consider the hard landscaping. These are the parts of your garden landscape that will be constructed and include paths, steps, walls, ground features and structures. You may have an old concrete slab patio that you need to replace.

Then, of course, what about your soil? Most soil can be improved with the addition of lots of compost. But it may be necessary to replace it with new topsoil.

Keep your design simple. Avoid using too many different plants, features and materials. Design your garden with reference to your house. If your house is modern, your garden design should reflect this in some way.

The most important part of your design will be creating space for relaxing. Whether you prefer to sit in the shade are in the sun, make sure the seating area is big enough with space for the family to move around. A table and chairs or benches can form the centrepiece of your design.

Think about what you will put on the ground. A lawn is cheap, but is not practical for year round use. Paving slabs of various shapes and materials are a popular choice; they provide a stable base, are practical underfoot, and can be used all year round. Gravel is a cheaper option but it is often better merely as decorative covering.

Plan Your Timescale

When you are choosing a landscaper an important consideration is that their schedule matches your requirements. They may be booked up two weeks, two months, or even six months in advance. In addition, if you are using more than one service, i.e. a designer and an installer you will need to juggle multiple schedules. You must plan well in advance with contractors. If you are planting new flowerbeds you may want to find out when the best time of the year to plant them.