Steps for Designing a Landscape

1. Measuring, drawing and photographing area

You need a basic plan of the site as it now exists showing boundaries, fences, buildings (with the position of doors and windows), and any permanent features such as concrete paths, sheds or washing lines. You also need to know the locations of any water or gas mains and meters, sewers, drainage pipes, underground cables, etc.

2. Deciding on broad purpose of each garden area

Most gardens have three or more obvious sections (e.g.  Front yard, a courtyard beside the house and the backyard). You may decide to create more areas by building fences, planting a garden bed or placing a shed to divide a larger area into two smaller areas. Each area of the garden should have a purpose and may have a different style. You shouldn’t try to create two different styles in the same area. The purpose of an area might be aesthetic (e.g. to make the house look better), or practical (e.g. A work area, an outdoor entertainment area or a productive garden with vegetables, herbs and fruit).

Draw on your sketch plans what the purpose of each area is and what the intended style of that area is to be (e.g. “Outdoor living area/cottage garden style” or “Aesthetic area/formal rose garden style”).

3. Drawing the physical details of each garden area

Decide on the shape of garden beds, paths and paved areas, and then determine where you might locate any gazebos, pergolas, ponds, statues, for example, or other garden features.

4. Deciding plants to be used in each area

Start with the larger plants such as trees and tall shrubs. Next decide on any climbers to cover walls or fences. Choose the smaller growing plants last, and be sure to choose plants which will grow well alongside the larger plants and climbers already selected. Consider hydro zones and micro climates.