Amy Hannigan is the founder and owner of Amy Hannigan Garden Design. Working with only excellent and skilled trade and craftspeople, she transforms outdoor spaces into unusual and useable gardens.
How to Plan Your Garden Design
It can be daunting when starting a new garden, so many decisions to be made. What elements to include; arbours, terraces, storage spaces, bbq areas that make the most of the evening sun? Which hard landscaping materials to choose? What plants will suit the soil and aspect of the garden? Choosing something as simple as a pot can cause a flurry of anxiety, before you even consider what type of compost to fill it with and which plant to put in it.
A great way to start is to assemble images and analyse what you like. It is important, and sometimes easier, to work out what you don’t like too. Visiting gardens, especially NGS Gardens, is another way to broaden your pallet of garden reference. These are domestic gardens that offer solutions on a scale that can be transferable to your own garden. A picture really does convey a 100 words and sharing images and photos from your visits with your landscaper can form a really useful part of your specification package.
Doing your research will help you to define your preferred garden style and to choose a theme for your garden that suits you. A lot of the hard decisions follow from there. So you might choose to randomly laid York stone for a traditional county look but choose sawn basalt for a more contemporary garden style.
Your style will help direct your colour choices. You may prefer a restrained colour palette, perhaps shades of cream and green, for a contemporary scheme , or a full rainbow of colours for an English country cottage style.
Consider the shape and structure of your garden. You will want it to feel balanced with a layout that appeals to the eye. Start by finding a focal point for your design, and work out. This might be something existing, maybe a beautiful tree, or a feature you introduce.
Lighting your garden will bring your garden to life at night. It requires a different approach to interior lighting as there isn’t a ceiling to keep the light in, so you need to think where each beam of light will end. Lighting your focal point is a good place to start.
Be realistic about the budget too. If you can’t manage to do everything at once, it is worth drawing up a master-plan and working towards as time and money allow.
Planning a beautiful garden takes time. Pause and give yourself the opportunity to reflect and, if you can, seek expert advice from garden designers, landscapers and garden suppliers, and use their experience to make sure you get the outdoor space that suits your particular plot, your lifestyle and your budget.
If you have any questions please ask below and we will be delighted to help you.
Image: Country Garden Border planned and planted by Amy Hannigan