Create a garden design master plan

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Introduction
Step 1 of a garden design master plan. An outline
Step 2 of a garden design master plan. Fine-tuning

Introduction

Make the most of your time, energy and money by producing a master plan before you start work on your garden.

This way you can keep to your plan, however long a period the project turns out to take, and avoid developing your garden in a haphazard fashion. The last thing you need is to carefully (and perhaps expensively) create one area of the garden to then discover you cannot design other essentials around it.



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So draw up your overall design first, then set your priorities for action, and then (and only then) can you start thinking about details such as which plants to put where. Remember that there are plants and solutions for every garden situation (shade, sun, poor soil, wet areas) and requirement (play area, pets, flowers, food), so there’s no need to worry about these at too early a stage.

If you’re not sure what type of garden you’d like, then look at the variety of possible garden styles shown on Crocus’ website. If you like more than one, and if you have the space, you could always partition your garden and create a different style in each section.

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Step 1 of a garden design master plan. An outline

  • Concentrate on the basic outline of the plot. Avoid details at this stage.
  • Include existing permanent features ie the house (and the position of doors and windows overlooking the garden), the garden boundaries, neighbouring buildings and trees when you draw your outline plan.
  • Include any existing garden features that you decide to retain because they are attractive or impractical to remove (eg a mature tree).
  • Note where north is, and any areas in permanent shade or sun.
  • Add features that you want or need, such as a drive, path, patio and so on.
  • Draw and re-draw these planned elements until you’re sure that everything that you want is included and in the right place.
    For example, any clothes-drying area, fruit and vegetable plot, pond, rockery or greenhouse need a sunny spot. Dustbins need an accessible but unobtrusive site. Rabbit hutches and other outdoor pet quarters need to be convenient for you and comfortable for the pet – not in full sun or deep shade.

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Step 2 of a garden design master plan. Fine-tuning

  • Your outline plan should look pleasing to the eye on paper and should be checked on the ground before you implement any of it.
  • Check it on the ground by roughly marking out the design using hosepipes and canes, and then study the result from all angles, including from upstairs and downstairs windows.
  • Check that your eyes are led from one feature to another so that you can take in the scene in a relaxed way, rather like viewing a painting.
  • Adjust, adjust. If you find it difficult to walk through your planned garden with your eyes, then some adjustments are in order. The problem may be that you have more than one focal point or that there’s no link between different parts of the garden. Often a path provides the necessary link, but any continuous line, such as the edge of the lawn, may do the trick. Lawn edges can be adjusted as you go along, but you need to get the hard landscaping in the right place the first time to avoid too much sweat, blood and tears.

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