Plan a garden makeover
Looking to rejig your garden in a fairly major way and wondering how to plan a garden or outdoor space that works?
Garden planning is about balanced priorities and forethought, combined with a bit of research.
When mapping out a new garden or giving an existing garden a re-design, consider your plan of attack:
Balance function with aesthetics - The most important thing in a garden is for it to meet the needs of its users. This means it must maintain a balance between practical use of the space - for entertaining, playing, even placing things like clothes lines and utility spaces - and the way it looks.
Use hard landscaping as the 'bones' - The best way to plan your new garden is to consider the hard landscaping elements as its skeleton, and the rest as the 'flesh on the bones'. Design the paths, retaining walls, garden beds, drainage and decking areas first, and once those plans are in place you can decide what to do with the remaining space.
Try to create some mystery - The most beautiful gardens, and the ones that linger longest in memory, are those that can't be grasped in one glance. You don't need lots of space to create some hidden treasures, just good garden planning. There's no formula for how to plan a garden successfully, so let your imagination add to your plan. Winding paths, secluded corners, interesting focal points, carefully placed screens and cleverly chosen garden features all contribute to a sense of intrigue and discovery.
Utilise all dimensions - We often forget that there is space to be utilised above ground, and this is particularly true in garden design. Using this space may be a matter of choosing plants that will grow high and add a 'vertical element' to the garden; growing climbing plants up fences, walls or trellises; or it may involve growing plants in hanging baskets and pots on stands.
Prepare the soil - Every garden can benefit from proper soil preparation, whether it is planted with natives or exotics, lawn or vegies, trees or groundcover. Aerating the soil manually or mechanically, or by adding organic matter, is important, as is adding nutrients through compost, humus and other organic matter.
Select your plants - Plants bring life, colour, interest and beauty to a garden. Do some research, choose the plants that appeal to you, and find out where they will grow best. But remember it's usually best not to have too wide a selection of plants, or the garden can look too busy.
If this all seems too overwhelming, contact the nursery for a list of local landscapers or landscape designers. There are many excellent professionals available with practical and innovative ideas to suit all budgets.