Plan Your Garden: Make A Wishlist – Once you have collected together the features that represent how you want to transform your garden, consider what needs to be done to make these changes possible. Make a wishlist and arrange it in order of priority. Will they require earthworks and building structures such as retaining walls, decks and fences? If so, there will have to be completed first.
Also they will have a definite impact on your garden and how you then develop the rest of your plans for it. For instance, if you are planning a courtyard and pergola, have you considered a pathway and garden beds?
Your ideal garden
In listing the features of your planned garden, you will need to consider your interests and lifestyle. Do you want to entertain outdoors, retreat to a private garden nook or grow herbs and vegetables? Where can you position that private, sun-drenched deck you have always longed for? Now is the time for you to summarize the key elements of your ideal garden design.
You might start by listing particular aspects that matter most to you, even if you cannot plan the specifics. This could include general goals, such as being able to sit and eat outdoors in a sheltered spot; to have a deck connecting your house to the garden; or to design a number of separate garden areas.
Reading nook in the garden
Later on, once your wishlist develops, you can progress from ‘what you want’ to ‘how to do it’. In many cases, it is the latter that presents the biggest challenges of all. This may involve the issues of limited space and designing to make the most of garden features (trees, driveways and slopes).
Your plans will also be influenced by how you want to use your garden in the future. If you have a young family, no doubt your needs and those of your kids will overlap for most purposes. Perhaps building a swimming pool for the kids is your initial focus, but you would also like to have a separate entertaining area. One option might be to extend the pool surrounds to create a paved area that includes enough space for a table setting and barbecue.
In some instances, the garden may also contain a carport or a garage, separate from your house and existing with a ‘personality’ all of its own. You might consider adapting the generous, sheltered area beneath a carport as an entertaining area. It could be linked to an adjoining courtyard or patio, with a uniform paving style beneath and an attractive pergola that connects the structures.
Many houses only have internal living areas, limiting the ways in which you can entertain. Adding a deck or courtyard can connect the house to the garden and make it possible to enjoy the garden when the climate suits. You might need to plan for screens to provide wind protection and privacy, or a pergola for shade in the summer months.