5 Essential Garden Design Elements

5 Essential Garden Design Elements

As a garden designer you need to have a broad knowledge of plants, construction techniques and materials. Every garden I design is different but I have a handful of plants and materials I use on a regular basis that always proves to be a good starting point when meeting clients. Of course there are many factors to consider during the design process but I thought I would share my top 5 garden design elements with you.

1. Paving

Any garden can benefit from having a paved area. This is generally the starting point as it is where clients will spend most of their time. It could serve as an outdoor dining area with a table and chairs, a barbeque or possibly some nice modern furniture for a more contemporary solution. Whether you choose a more upmarket stone like travertine or sawn sandstone or a cheaper solution like indian sandstone or imitation cement slabs, this area is always my starting point.

2. Decking

Decking has always been a popular choice but has become even more so in recent times. Timber is great to work with and it is fairly easy to construct a good looking deck. A decked area really ties in nicely to a stone patio or can be built on differing levels without too much of a headache. Where paving needs an area that is already level, a deck can be constructed on a timber frame eliminating the need for labour intensive site preparation. Hardwood decking is more expensive than it’s softwood alternative but the benefits are considerable. Hardwood lasts much longer and provided that you maintain it annually with oils or wood treatment it will look great for many years to come.

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3. Water Features

Water features have so many benefits. They are usually a focal point in the garden. They promote insect and bird life in your garden and even aquatic life if you choose to grow water plants. The sound of flowing water is very relaxing and can add a great mood to your garden. Water features can be made of stone or concrete, glass or aluminium and a good lighting scheme will really add beauty to your water feature.

4. Lawn

Whether you have a family or live alone, a good lawn is always a welcome addition to any garden. While it requires regular mowing and care the rewards of having a lawn are really clear. A space for the kids to kick a ball around, a green area for Mum to catch a tan, or just as a cost effective way to brighten up the garden. A useful tip is to always buy a good mower. A petrol mower with a roller is always best as it bruises the lawn and force it to spread, giving you a full and luscious lawn.

5. Plants

You don’t have to consider yourself a keen gardener to enjoy the plants in your garden. While the above mentioned elements all make for good garden design, lets face it, a garden isn’t complete without a variety of shrubs, perennials, annuals and trees. I personally like a more minimal planting scheme using plants like buxus, bay and olive to create architectural shapes and green ‘structures’. There is however no denying the beauty of flowering plants and shrubs that add colour to your garden and brighten up your outdoor space. Small trees such as acer can really add a splash of interest to your garden and their fiery red foliage nicely offset the greens and blues of regular plants and trees.

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Most importantly – BE CREATIVE! Love your garden and keep working at it. You’ll be glad you did when spring and summer come around. Happy gardening:)