Fine-tuning your garden design plans

The early days of the New Year give us a chance to reflect on the past year’s activity and to plan anew for the coming year.  We tend to be full of fresh ideas, we want to make a difference for the better in the coming months and, in a sort of mental-vacuum, are often devoid of self-doubt.  Anything and everything seems possible.


However, in my view, there is a certain need to put a frame, call it structure if you will, around this somewhat dreamy state, essentially to see if any of our ideas can actually be transformed into reality this year.  I feel that there is often a need to fine-tune our thinking, firstly, to see if there really is a project there, then secondly, to plan how can it be designed, scheduled and finally built, and amongst all this,  the “B-word” will raise its ugly head… how can are fantasies be budgeted for?  The quicker we can put a frame on our thinking, the better, as, all too often, our dreams can slip away from us as at a frighteningly rapid pace because other things inevitably take-over and consume us in our daily lives.


If your personal itch is an overhaul of your garden, then there are a few things that you need to think about, ask yourself:

  1. What can I realistically spend on my garden?  For me, a good starting point is to think how much you would spend on a new kitchen, use that as a minimum budget for your garden makeover and preferably double or triple it if you really want to do some serious work, such as new hard landscape on top of a planting enhancement.
  2. Do I need to get a plan (drawing) done to help me do this makeover?  The short answer to this is, yes you do.  The plan is the best instrument for fine-tuning the design ideas, the budget and the programme of work.  The alternatives for the programme are, for example, that this is a rapid redesign where you would like to get it all done at once or or, as is the case with many homeowners these days, that the the garden design masterplan will be implemented over a period of time.
  3. There may be a good bit of work in getting your garden in order if it is an established garden.  You may have moved in to your property in the preceding year and been left with an empty plot.  Possibly, this is now a square of green lawn surrounded by bare walls or fences if you are in the city, or, if you are in the countryside, a nice garden space but with a biocycle or effluent system inconveniently sighted in the main view.  These problems are like heaven to the garden designer, who is himself or herself looking for the next garden design to tackle.


The days are getting brighter already and it will not be long before spring is on us.  Try to write down succinctly what you would like to achieve with your garden, have a think about the budget and your programme and then decide if you would like to go ahead and make your dreams become reality in 2016.

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