How To Make Garden Design Plans

Starting a garden from the ground up might be intimidating; however, if you know how to properly draft garden design plans, this process is made a lot easier.

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Starting a garden from the ground up might be intimidating; however, if you know how to properly draft garden design plans, this process is made a lot easier.

Garden design plans require the following considerations before you can get started: knowing the rules of the homeowners' association, creating a budget, drafting a list of features, measuring the garden's dimensions, as well as choosing the right materials and tools for the job.

Regardless of the size of your outdoor space, garden design necessitates a great deal of thinking and consideration. Whether you want a simple change like incorporating raised beds and creating a contemporary outdoor space or designing a garden on a budget with a rustic look, everything is possible.  

After years of tending to our own gardens and even designing and building garden spaces for various clients, we're now going to impart all the knowledge that we've gained over the years to help you design and build your own garden. So, let's get started.

Table of Contents

How to Make Garden Design Plans

What type of garden do you have in mind? Perhaps a typical Dutch garden with plenty of tulips in an efficient, compact, and symmetrical setting appeals to you. Or perhaps you prefer an English garden with magnificent lawns, hedges, and architectural features. You can also create a practical garden where you can grow edible flowers, herbs, and vegetables. Then there's the beautiful Japanese garden, which features a koi pond and brightly-colored flowers and trees in an abstract and stylish form.

Creating a garden design plan, regardless of the type, is the best way to ensure that it turns out to be exactly the way you want it to. Here are some useful pointers:

Rules of the Homeowners' Association

If you live in a home that is managed by a homeowners' association, you must ensure that your garden plan meets their regulations. This may necessitate a re-evaluation of your designs before you can start building your garden.

Double-check for power lines and underground pipes

Before installing irrigation lines or excavating to plant trees, make sure you contact your local utility providers. A "call before you dig" service is available in most municipalities. They'll come out to the property and point out any underground wires or conduits beforehand to ensure safety.

Create a budget

Setting a reasonable budget for your project may not be the most enjoyable element of the garden planning and design process, but it is crucial and smart. Think about your current financial situation and how you can implement the garden design concept in stages. Today, one approach to save money is to swap materials, with the long-term goal of upgrading products. A landscaping tie retaining wall, for example, is less expensive than a dry-stone one, and a mulched path is less expensive than pavers. Explore garden design ideas that are adaptable throughout time to embrace versatility.

Make a list of features

Look at some garden plans for inspiration if you haven't already. For inspiration, visit local nurseries and botanical gardens to get a better feel for your ideal garden space. Here are a few examples:

  • Trees and plants of various species
  • Irrigation techniques
  • Planter boxes or containers come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
  • Water lines
  • Mulch, gravel, and rocks
  • Pergolas, benches, bridges, sculptures, and other architectural features

Determine the garden's dimensions

Will your garden encircle your entire land or only a part of it? Measure the dimensions of your garden and determine how much area will be covered. Be sure to include not only the cost of installation but also the cost of time and garden upkeep.

Consider changes in weather

Take note of the weather changes and temperature of the area you live in. Is your area usually sunny, or is it always cold? These factors will determine the kind of plants and trees you can plant in the garden. Remember that these factors will change over the years. Effective planning will ensure that your garden looks fresh and colorful throughout the year. It's also crucial to check plant tags to ensure that a perennial, shrub, or tree can withstand winters in your area.

Consider plants that are native to the area

It's tempting to choose exotic plants from another country or recreate a garden from "back home" while planning. However, using plants native to your area or from a climate zone compatible with yours can yield better results. Birds, butterflies, and other animals may also find them to be a vital source of food.

Garden layout

There are various tools available to help you design an initial garden layout. You can use a pre-designed template or create one from scratch to get the results you want. Tables, plants, chairs, containers, loungers, flower beds, and other outdoor items can all be included in your plan to ensure that your garden is a wonderful, peaceful sanctuary for you and your loved ones.

Select the right materials

Think about the materials you want to use in the garden. Traditional styles benefit from natural materials like stone, gravel, and wood. Clean-cut ceramic tiles, a monochrome palette, bold architectural features, and modern sculpture, on the other hand, are more suited to modern or contemporary gardens. Remember that you are the only one who makes the rules. You can also use a mix of different types of materials to create a diverse aesthetic appeal.

Be patient

A beautiful garden will not just manifest itself overnight, so be patient. They change over time as you learn more about the plants you want. Plus, you might also get a few surprises from Mother Nature, whether you're an expert gardener or a complete novice. The basic rule is that you can never know everything there is to know about plants and gardening. So take on the challenges, relish the surprises, and keep reading to learn about fantastic garden plants and design ideas for your backyard.

Design something that will increase your home's value

Design a garden that will increase the value of your home and provide you with beauty and inspiration over the years. You'll be ready to plan a garden for yourself once you've explored what you want and expect. A well-planned garden will increase your home's value if you ever decide to sell it in future.

Garden Design Planning Tips

The strategy you choose is ultimately determined by what you want and how much budget you have. It's critical to get started on your garden design early in the year if you want it ready for the warmer months to prevent working in the wet season. The first stage in the garden planning process is to create a design brief that outlines what you want and need from your outside space. You should also have a fair idea about the issues that need to be fixed, such as fencing, waterlogging, painting, and so on.

Before getting into and drawing up your precise garden design goals, spend time chatting with family and friends about why you're taking on this endeavor. This can help you determine whether you should hire a professional garden designer or take the task on yourself.

While a total redesign often yields a more cohesive finish, it can be costly and time-consuming. Before you establish a new 'master plan' or begin any work, take some time to critically evaluate the garden and its good and bad elements. You may want to replace a worn-out patio, but other aspects such as a lovely decking area or trees can be kept. Even if you preserve some existing features, finishing a small garden with a very simple design might be difficult when the costs of designing and purchasing materials are taken into account.

Remember that sloping gardens have poor drainage, and structural elements, such as walls, garden rooms, or old paving, may need to be removed. This will increase the cost of redesigning because the initial outlay for the preparation work will be more than when working with a flat area. Calculate how much you can afford to spend and identify areas where you can save money.

Unfortunately, because there are so many options, and it will largely depend on your chosen design, the state of the plot when you begin, and the elements you wish to include, the budget can easily be a lot more than what you had in mind.

If you're working with a limited budget or upgrading a rental garden, look for high-impact, low-cost garden ideas. Reclaimed and recycled materials are usually less expensive than new materials, whereas 'fluid' elements like gravel are less expensive than paving. Plants should also be preferred over hardscape. In many situations, it's more cost-effective to cover or encase rather than remove — a solid concrete pad, for example, could be the right sub-base for attractive pavement.

Finally, keep a contingency fund on hand. It's best to allocate between 5% and 15% of the total budget, but the more, the better, especially if you're doing the job yourself. While you will save money in certain areas, you will undoubtedly make blunders in others. So try to maintain equilibrium.

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