Student Guide to Starting a New Garden Design



One of our on-line students recently asked me the following question

Q. Before we start designing are there any obvious 'don't-do's' relating to the size of garden, that you can think of off the top of your head?

A. Size is irrelevant. There is no silver bullet answer as to how you start designing any garden, but I do have some recommendations.

1. I can’t stress how important it is to put together a mood board before you start designing. If you don’t have a theme or style in mind before you start adding your shapes, then you are going to end up with a plan that has no philosophy behind it, will be unconvincing, and the chances are; very ordinary!.........We don’t do ordinary we do extraordinary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At this stage in your design career, your ‘shape library’ in your head, is still virtually empty, so it’s vital you immerse your selves in garden/architect/interior images.

PLEAESE PLEASE PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO and buy all or any of the garden/landscape design magazines, some architecture ones, as well as some interior design/house magazines, and consider subscribing to The Garden Design Journal

2. Draw bubble/functional diagrams to plan the space. Decide on where the key elements of the design are going and plan how you intend to get there. (via bubbles and arrows) This will decide if your design is going to be a clockwise or anticlockwise design. Once you have finished, remove the bubble diagram and go back to ‘Pattern Analysis’, but make sure some of your interlocking patterns reflect the key areas decided during the bubble diagram stage.

3. Start your SketchUp model now!!!!!!!!!!!! The SketchUp model is a design tool not just for final presentation. Build your model at the same time as drawing your sketch plan by hand. Most of you would avoid half the mistakes you making, if you could visualise your plan in 3D.