Nothing intimidates a gardener more than garden design. Learn how to go about creating a foundation to build on, with minimal stress.
When designing a garden area, you need to take into consideration your existing features and functionality. Great garden design should draw you into a space and allow you to interact with it in a way appropriate to the surrounding.
Mick Dower from Think Outside Gardens shares his top tips for creating the perfect garden design
1) Identify major features - Both on the property and surrounding areas that may have an impact on the space. Consider aspect and climate as well as any potential problems such as drainage, future changes to the property from either inside or external to the property for example how the space can grow with a family or future development. A considered design solution should address as many of these issues as possible.
Top Tip: Any brief should consider planning laws and heritage issues as well as structural and non-structural issues such as drainage.
2) Identify who will be using the space – Then develop an appropriate design. Understanding how people interact with a space and grow into a space will provide a more considered solution. TIP Children will grow out of specific elements in the garden and they should be constructed in a less permanent way.
3) Identify budget – while a budget should not impact design solutions is may impact the finishes.
4) The first layer of the design is the allocation of spaces to main structures or features of the outdoor area such as – seating, pergolas, cabanas, pools, etc. Initial concepts should consider proportion, shapes and visual weight and how they interact with the space and boarder surroundings. Allocation of space should be proportionate to the size of the property and proportions of the surrounding structures.
Top Tip: Installing a BBQ with full kitchen facilities makes sense if it is removed from the internal kitchen.
5) Material selection - This stage of the process is taking leads for the internal features or elements in the home or surrounding elements. The Hardwood vs. painted treated pine vs. cedar for seating, paving vs. tiling, etc. TIP. Restraint and consistency are key to providing a considered design solution. Tyr to avoid making every element a feature.
Top tip: Dark colours tend to recede into a garden, it is worth considering darker colours for clothes lines and sheds and boundary fences to help draw your attention away from them.
6) Planting and soft works are then applied in layers starting with hedges on the boundaries or perimeter of the space. This will create a screen and backdrop of foliage for which you can layer infront. This layering (largest stock at the back and smaller stock infront) is where you can achieve different styles, For example, A tropical style would have various layers of contrasting plants, broad leaves and punches of colour. A formal style would have fewer varieties repeated in structured layers. In most styles, contrast is key, contrasting leaf shape, colour and shape and size.
Top tip: Consider planting in terms of finding a size and form of plant suited to the situation, once all areas are identified start with a main plant such as a hedge or feature plant which can form a lead to overall style of the planting.
7) Lighting has three main functions in the garden:
- Practical lighting, around a BBQ or entertaining area
- Ambient or mood lighting – to create depth or drama in the garden, up lighting and down lighting to trees or highlighting the underside of an overhang on a bench seat
- Security – often attached to a sensor.
Top Tip: Avoid looking at the source of light as this will distract the eye from the area intended to be lit. Low voltage or low intensity LED lights provide a softer more ambient light which can create mood and drama. High intensity lighting will create a lot of contrast from the very bright light and the very dark spaces.
8) Furnishings – table and chairs, pots, but not least is the application of colours to the overall concept. Again take a lead from the style of existing or surrounding elements for the style and colour of these elements. TIP Consistency is key in creating a considered overall design.
For more information, visit www.thinkoutsidegardens.com.au