5 tips to plan a new garden

You must think we’re mad – planning a new garden in Winter!? We’ve only just got over Christmas!! However – think about it – designing a garden takes time, implementing the design takes time – and wouldn’t it be great to have that design become a reality for Summer! Imagine – sitting out there with a cocktail (or 2!) …bliss! So here we are, doesn’t sound so crazy now, right?!

But, don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, we are here to help with 5 tips you can use whilst planning your garden.

1. Function

Think about what you use your garden for the most, is it for the kids or pets? Or would you rather be able to sit out there in the summer and enjoy a BBQ and a few drinks with friends? Thinking about the function of your outdoor space now will ensure that your garden works for you.

The main thing to think about here is maintenance! If you’re an avid gardener and enjoy spending time pruning and planting, then the world is your oyster – you can fill your garden with lush planters and flower beds. However not all of us are as green fingered, so if you’d rather something that looks after itself then you need to think more on the low maintenance. The garden can still look just as good, but you’ll need to think more about products and plants that can tend to themselves.

2. Inspiration

You may have already started this in the run up to finally planning your garden, but take a look around you and get some inspiration. Look at friends and family’s gardens and see how they work for them, or what mistakes they’ve made!

Research online, social media is a great tool for giving inspiration for things like this – Our Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest accounts all offer ideas and inspiration on different designs, and projects we’ve supplied to.

Pop into our branches, our Southampton and Salisbury branch have displays of paving, fencing and many of the composite products we’re able to offer. There will also be staff on hand at all our branches to help with any questions and brochures you can take away to sit and peruse at a time that suits you.

3. Know your garden

If you’ve got a good idea about your garden intricacies then this will help you a lot with your design.

Things like the aspect of your garden, knowing whether it’s South or North facing will make a big different in the style of plants you choose and where you will place seating areas etc. Knowing where the sun lands in your garden in different times of the day will ensure you’re maximising the area to its full potential.

Its also worth finding out more about your soil. Knowing the type of soil, you have, and the PH balance will help with your decisions on plants, and how well they will grow.

Chalk, Clay, Sand, Peat & Loam are all the different types of soil you can get, with loam being the best of all. So, ensure that you’re pick plants that will flourish within the right type of soil.

To test the PH balance of your soil is really easy, quick and something you can do at home.

  • Mix one half of a cup of vinegar with a scoop of soil. If it fizzes or bubbles, your soil is alkaline.
  • Mix one half of a cup water with a scoop of soil, then add baking soda. If it fizzes or bubbles, your soil is acidic.
  • If neither reaction occurs, your soil is balanced, or neutral.

Do this with soil from various parts of your garden as the PH could vary.

4. Draw your design

Draw up your ideas and thoughts on paper and go in with a plan. Draw up different shapes in different areas and see what works where. Make a plan of what plants you’d like where and what colours you’d like to use. You can always start again on a new bit of paper if it doesn’t work

5. Consider a phased approach 

Finally, if it all seems a bit overwhelming in one go, then consider designing your garden as a phased approach, concentrate on one corner and work back from there doing one bit at a time.
Start with the areas that need changing to make your outdoor space more usable and then plan what you’re going to do and when - leaving the ‘nice to have’ jobs last.

You’ll have a stunning usable garden before you know it!

For any further advice then any of branches will be able to help you – find your local branch here.

The above article was published on 29th January 2024, and is subject to change and further guidance.