Garden Landscaping For Beginners – Our Guide For Your Own Design

Landscaping Your Garden

Landscaping and maintaining your garden can increase the value of your home, and provide a place that you and your family can enjoy.

The question is, do you pay for a landscape gardener, or do you try to create your ideal landscaped garden yourself?

It comes down to how much time you have and do you enjoy gardening.  

If you have a good amount of time, maybe at the weekends, and you enjoy getting out in the garden then creating your own landscaped garden would be well worth trying.

We have put together a few basic design principles for garden landscaping for beginners that will help you plan and prepare, along with avoiding mistakes by many beginner gardeners.

Think About How You Will Use Your New Landscaped Garden

Take a few moments to think about your dream garden. What do you need in your garden and whereabouts would you put it, to make your garden work for you and your family’s needs.

We have put together a few ideas for you to think about:

Is your garden a place where you can relax and enjoy your surroundings?  

You may want to consider a dedicated area with comfy garden chairs and tables that you can comfortably relax in.

Do you have people round to entertain in your garden? 

Think about a large area where friends can gather to socialise, maybe with a big table and chairs where you can offer food and drink to entertain.

Are you overlooked when you need to create privacy, or do you see an eyesore that you’d like to hide?  

Consider fitting a trellis that can grow plants up, a fence or an area where you need to plant a conifer, shrubs or trees.

Do you have a beautiful view at the end of your garden you want to enjoy?  

Avoid planting anything that will grow tall to cover the view.

Do you want a maintenance-free garden or do you enjoy planting flowers?  

If you don’t have green fingers and enjoy working in your garden, then designing a more evergreen garden, with fewer flowers, maybe the way to go.  

If you enjoy a vibrant garden, add flowers and herbs to your plant list.

Does your garden have a good amount of sun exposure and you need a shaded area?  

You may need to design an area that you can fit a patio umbrella or plant a large tree for shade.

Do you have young children or pets? 

Consider an area for the children to play or a way of keeping your pets off your flower beds.

Make a list of the top priorities you want to achieve for your newly landscaped garden.

Assess Your Garden Area

Assess the whole of your garden area, whether that’s the front garden, the back garden, or you just want to landscape a small proportion of your garden.

Start to think more seriously about how your garden will look and what features you want to include.

Would you like to add a pond with fresh fish and water lilies, or a place the kids can enjoy a paddling pool in the summer months? If so consider a location near a water point, or include a water source within your gardening plans.

What’s The Typical Climate like in Your Garden?

What time of the day do you get the sun and what time of the day would you typically sit out in your garden?  

If your garden typically gets the sun in the morning and you’re looking to sit out in the evening then bear in mind that you could be sitting out in a shaded area.

Likewise, does your garden get sun in the evening and therefore do you need to consider a shaded area.

Also, consider the rain and the wind. If the rain and the wind are typically in the area that you want to chill out in, consider shielding the rain and the wind with tall trees.

This thinking will give you a more in-depth vision of how you would like your garden to look and will help you to put a plan together to landscape your garden to fit your needs.

Create A List Of All The Plants And The Design Ideas That You Would Like To Include

A good place to find plant ideas is using the Google search engine, but selecting ‘Images’.  

Viewing different images of plants on Google will provide you with a visual of what the plant will look like when it grows in your garden.

Also look for garden catalogues that show completed garden designs, whether they are online or in your local newsagents.

Understand Basic Garden Design Concepts

garden landscaping for beginners guide

Create individual outdoor rooms within your garden space

depending on how you design your garden and what you’re looking to achieve, you can create a garden room that opens up an area or one that’s smaller and cosier.

To provide shade and privacy with an area to relax, a garden room will include:

  • A patio area
  • At least one privacy screen, whether that’s a large tree, trellis work or a fence
  • A shaded area in the form of either an umbrella, a large tree or a shaded garden structure

Think about creating different garden rooms and how you can connect them to create one complete design.

Garden Design Principles

There are 3 main garden design principles that we are going to focus on today that will provide the most benefit.

Scale

It can be difficult to understand and visualise plants as they mature within garden areas, along with other structures within your garden design.

The best way to visualise a plant is to place something of similar physical size in the proposed garden area.

Also within your design be fully aware of the maximum size your plants will grow to when they mature.

Grouping Your Plants Together

Try to avoid planting the same flowers in rows. Instead of grouping different types of flowers, that grow to the same size, together.

Also, consider the plant water requirements. Avoid planting plants that require less water and thirsty plants together

Colour

A good garden design will have some colour, but not be overwhelmed with colour. To avoid looking like a rainbow, choose a colour palette of 1 to 3 colours of each group of plants.

Also consider the contrast of a plant against this background. If you plan plants next to a wall or fence, ensure the colour of the plants contrasts with the wall or fence. If the wall or fence is dark, then choose colourful, vibrant plants.

For each plant bed group, consider whether you want a cool or a warm colour palette. Colours such as yellow, red and orange are warm energising colours, while greens and blues are cool relaxing colours.

Selecting The Plants For Your Landscape Garden Design

When selecting plants for your landscape garden design, we have detailed below are a few factors that you need to consider:

Where Does Your Garden Get the Most Sun or Shade

I’m sure you’ve already considered this as part of the previous steps, therefore it is important to only select the plants that will survive with the level of sun that you get in your garden.

Other Factors to Consider within Your Garden’s Microclimate

There are other important factors to consider over above sun exposure, these are:

What soil type you have in your garden? A hard clay-based or a soft sand base?

  • Is your soil typically wet or dry?
  • Are you planting on a slope?
  • How windy is the bedding area in the garden?

Once you’ve established your garden’s microclimate, you can choose the right plants that will survive in your garden.

When the Plants Mature How Much Room Do They Need?

It’s important to know exactly how big each plant or bush or shrub will grow when they mature to plan your space accordingly.

When you plan your landscape garden design, ensure each plant tree or shrub has adequate room when it matures.

What’s the Best Position for Each Plant in the Bed?

If your garden bed is next to a wall or fence, add the tallest plants towards the back and work your way forward with the smallest plants at the front.

If your garden bed is in the centre of the garden at the tallest plants within the centre and the smaller plants around the edge.

Choose Plants That Match Your Required Colour Palette

Most garden landscaping beginners aim for a very bright and vibrant garden. However don’t get carried away with too much colour, and different colours that don’t match your ideal colour palette.

Aim to limit yourself to just one to 3 colours, as well as green.

How To Draw A Garden Plan

You now have enough information to start your garden plan. I find using graph paper the easiest to use to ensure that your design is to scale.

One of the most common errors with beginner landscape gardeners is underestimating the garden beds and plant size. By drawing everything to scale using graph paper will help to eradicate this issue.

  • Before you start, it’s important to understand the exact size of your garden.
  • With the correct garden outline measurements, draw a border of your garden.
  • Next draw the buildings, fences and walls, required patios and any walkways.
  • If you have existing trees, shrubs or garden beds that you would like to leave, then add these to scale.
  • Make a few copies of your garden design, so that, if you make any mistakes, you can easily start again.
  • Next, start landscaping and designing, adding your new garden beds, shrubs, trees, patios, structures, anything else you want to include.

How Much Maintenance Your Garden Needs

It’s all very well adding an assortment of plants trees and shrubs, but everything that you add needs to be maintained. Decide how much time you have to maintain your garden and plan your design accordingly.

If you are a garden landscape beginner, start small.

Mark out Your New Garden Landscape Design

Using either spray paint, marking foam, flags or string, go outside in your garden area and mark out your new garden landscape design. This will give you an appreciation of your garden area and what your plan will look like in situ.

Spend a few days weighing up all the options. Look at your marked out area from the inside as well as the outside and get thoughts and opinions from your family members.

Marking out your new garden design will give you an appreciation of your selected colour palette, the position of trees working in the correct position, adding hedges for privacy, and a patio area for entertainment.

Finalise Your Garden Plan

When you are happy with all aspects of your garden design, finalise your plan.

Add Your Chosen Plants To Your Plan

Now that you’ve finalised your garden design plan, work out the best places to position each plant type, taking into account the sun and shade areas, along with the soil type.

Aim to balance the plants that you add to ensure there is a variety within each garden bed

While Waiting For Your Dream Garden To Grow

Once you’ve finished your garden design, it will take a while for the plants to grow and take shape.

While waiting for your garden to develop, think about what areas you can improve to make better. Think about what you feel works, but what doesn’t work that you can improve.

Home gardens are always evolving. Your original garden plan might have seemed like the perfect layout, but you may need to tweak and change the design.

Don’t be afraid to change your views or perspective on your garden as your garden evolves.

It’s time now for you and your whole family to make use of your new landscape garden to enjoy for many years to come.

I hope you have any enjoyed out garden landscaping for beginners guide. If you need any help with landscaping gardening in Milton Keynes UK, contact us.

Leave a Comment