If you’ve started to think about getting your garden designed then before you dive in, let us steer you through some things to consider, so you’ll know what to expect and how to get the best out of the adventure, from hazy garden dreams to real-life landscape.
Having your garden designed is such a personal project. Everyone has different priorities and features that are key to their idea of a peaceful, green paradise. You may have a clear vision for the garden or you may be looking for an expert view of how to make the most of your landscape, either way, we hope these useful nods guide you sweetly along the garden design and landscaping process.
When is the best time of year to have your garden designed & landscaped?
Truly, almost any time of year is a good time to get started. It’s often the way that as spring first begins to draw us outside, thoughts naturally turn to improving the outside spaces surrounding us, ready for summer days ahead. This can especially be the case as flower show season gets under way and inspiration is abundant! However, you may find it wise to get the process underway as early as possible to beat the rush.
But have no fear, there are plenty of positives to having your garden landscaped at any time of year. Landscaping in summer, when our temperate climate is at its finest, can make for a speedier result. You can still be enjoying your newly wrought gardenscape through the late-summer and warm, golden autumn days (depending on the size and complexity of the project, of course).
Landscaping through autumn means that just as the winter chill arrives and un-landscaped gardens are often at their least interesting or beautiful, you’ll be looking out over a finely crafted view, full of delightful features and winter-interest planting. A designer can incorporate winter-ready features into the garden design that will allow you to enjoy the garden even in the coldest part of the year. Think of a sunken firepit with circular seating encapsulating it, the perfect sheltered spot for slow cooking one-pots or toasting marshmallows on Fireworks night, hot toddy in hand.
Winter is a brilliant time to landscape, contrary to popular belief. Schedules tend to be less busy and it’s perfectly possible to carry out most landscaping work ready for a garden to transcend expectations come the spring.
Winter landscaping offers several bonuses. You’re less likely to be using the garden at this time (until some winter features have been built, that is – see above), so disruption is minimal AND it is also possible to plant up the garden’s planting scheme during winter (so long as the ground isn’t frozen) meaning that by the time spring has sprung, the planting will be bursting forth and you’ll reaping the rewards of a lush and verdant haven.
Of course, the sooner you make the call, the sooner your dreamscape will become your reality.
What style of garden should you have?
This is perhaps the most personal of all the choices to make. Think about the style of garden you enjoy the most? How will it complement your home? Will your longed-for garden style enhance the architectural lines of your property and harmonise with the ‘borrowed landscape’ beyond? How much do you have or want to spend caring for your garden?
A good garden designer with their own landscaping team can help to create a garden in the style you love, even if it is seemingly at odds with your home’s look-and-feel, by blending elements. For example, perhaps you have an Art Deco house, but love an English Country Garden. A designer might suggest strong, clean lines of hard landscaping elements such as Modernist style terraces and raised beds in modern materials, but softened and romanticised by oodles of blousy, billowy planting.
Talking through your dream garden style with a designer during an on-site design consultation will help to unify the house and garden, raising the game of both. Skilled landscapers can help guide you through the options for materials to help you pick the right finishes, whilst a soft landscaping team and planting designer, bring the overall design to life, cherry picking just the right specimens and varieties to enthral.
Maintenance requirements should also be taken into consideration, along with your lifestyle. Do you enjoy gardening in your spare time or would you like the garden cared for, so that you can simply enjoy being in it?
How do you want to use the space?
Do you like entertaining and socialising outdoors? Want to do more of it? Maybe you’re an avid cook but don’t always want to be stuck indoors bringing culinary delights and drink outside? How about an outdoor kitchen and covered space to relax in?
Do you want to grow your own fruits and vegetables? Or raise a cutting garden to keep your vases brimming with scent and colour?
Do you like to keep active and fancy keep up your sporting prowess with a mini-putting green and clubhouse?
Envision a playscape for children of all ages to enjoy outdoor living? Maybe it’s a treehouse, rope swings or pond-dipping that conjures up the imagination or wilderness area for foraging on carefree days.
Perhaps you’d find inspiration in a sheltered structure from which to lift your gaze from your work and soothe your soul amongst the greenery? Or your own private hideaway spa retreat? Bathe away your cares and pamper tired limbs in a heated, wooden bathing tub or barrel sauna with an unsurpassed view.
What about water? A naturalistic pool or formal rill can add that extra special element, introducing the soothing sound of flowing water and a refreshing cool vision to entice you towards on hot summer’s day.
Likewise, how do you view the garden from the house? Which rooms do you see the garden from most often? What would you like that view to be? Uninterrupted, sweeping panorama or smart seating areas close to the kitchen for serving nibbles and drinks?
Your garden design team will take into account all the ways you want to use and view the garden, making the most of the space to create a holistic, harmonious design.