​Garden landscaping ideas: Planning your garden from the start

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
A garden for entertaining in, Charlesworth Design Charlesworth Design Minimalist style garden
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With winter about to drop, very few of us are busy with garden landscaping ideas. However, it’s only a matter of time before the chilliness evaporates and sunshine and green grass return – and when that happens, you don’t want to be caught with no plans for next season’s gardening, do you?

Thought not. Which brings us to our very first question: what do you want to achieve with your garden space? A tranquil spot where you can sit and read in peace and quiet? A hotspot to entertain friends and family? A simple but creative little space for the kids to run around and spend energy? Or just a beautiful outdoor area that flaunts colourful florals and eye-catching accessories? It’s all up to you! 

After deciding what you want from your garden, take a look at some commonly asked questions pertaining to gardening and landscaping. We’ve done the research to help you achieve the perfectly landscaped garden of your dreams!

1. Garden landscaping ideas: How to start

Like every project, garden landscaping ideas start with decent research. Browse through homify’s extensive range of gardening and landscaping photos to get a feel for outdoor designs and spaces. You may even discover a certain design or element you never knew was possible for gardens. 

Just take into account your garden size and what it is you want to achieve. 

Then, do rough sketches to get your ideas down on paper. To get you started, take into account some of the most popular elements when it comes to landscaping dream gardens (like walls and hedges, pathways and water features, trees and plants, exterior lighting fixtures, etc.).

Also keep in mind the different zones that you want to achieve with your garden (such as a dining area, a play space for the kids, etc.).

2. Garden landscaping ideas: Work with what you have

In addition to your yard’s size, also consider its shape, the direction it faces, the style of your house, and the surrounding areas. Part and parcel of a dream garden design is achieving balance. 

Also pay attention to the shrubs, plants and flowers you are considering planting and remember that they will change size and shape throughout the seasons. 

Would you prefer a formal (tidy and geometric with lots of straight lines and perfectly clipped hedges) or an informal (organic curves with a more relaxed sense of where goes what) garden?

3. Garden landscaping ideas: What you will need

Japanese Style Garden Unique Landscapes Asian style garden
Unique Landscapes

Japanese Style Garden

Unique Landscapes

When ordering your landscaping materials, always check the quality and quantity upon delivery. Some of the most common landscaping materials include:  

• Timber and decking 

• Paving and block paving 

• Sand (ensure that the chemicals included are ideal for horticultural use) 

• Concrete and mortar 

• Exterior paints and finishes. 

Also take into account waste removal, of which you have two options: skip hire or muck away. Speak to your local council and waste removal companies to find the most appropriate method for your area and garden. And if you make use of a professional landscape designer, establish whether clearance is included in their service.

4. Garden landscaping ideas: Planning Permission

Planning Permission will be required if you want to build walls over 1m by a road and 2m elsewhere, or lay impermeable paving in a front garden. 

If you live in a listed building or conservation area, you may require permission to remove and install hard landscaping. For everyone else, outbuildings not exceeding 2.5m are allowed beside the main house – those reaching 4m and taller must be 2m away from the house.  

The legroom that decking and outbuildings take up can’t be more than 50% of your entire garden. 

homify hint: Be a good neighbour. When undertaking a major landscaping project, inform your neighbours of your plans and double-check boundaries when building fences and walls. Where dividing lines are shared, written permission is required from them.

5. Garden landscaping ideas: Getting a hand from the professionals

Nobody wants to waste money, especially not when it comes to exterior areas where neighbours can see! That’s why it’s always recommended to make use of professional gardeners and landscape architects for those big important projects. 

It also makes sense for any project where you’ll be installing or moving major services like gas, electricity, or water pipes, as you must employ a qualified engineer to survey the site. Remember that these are seasoned experts trained to notice obstacles and shortcuts we regular folk can’t.

6. Garden landscaping ideas: The costs

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Charlesworth Design

A Garden for Entertaining in

Charlesworth Design

Speaking of not wasting costs, your budget will definitely depend on what you want to achieve in your garden. And even though additional factors (like garden size, materials, professionals, etc.) can alter the final price, here’s a rule-of-thumb guide on what you can create with your available finances.

No budget at all: A good cleaning and tidying-up of your garden is still possible. Overgrown shrubs can be pruned and self-seeded trees removed. You can edge the lawn, clear weeds in beds and on paths, and maybe even swap plants with friends / neighbours.

Up to £100: After completing all of the above, enhance your neat garden with some new plants or accessories. Otherwise, re-gravel and mulch planting beds with bark to fight weeds and retain soil moisture. You could even invest in some pretty, low-cost (or recycled) containers.

Up to £500: Here you can consider both building materials and plants. Lay down a few concrete slabs, re-turf the lawn, or even invest in some new garden furniture. 

Up to £1000: With this budget, you can consider bringing in professional help. It should be enough to cover about two days’ work by a skilled pro, plus materials for a new patio. 

£5000—£10,000: £5000 is sure to get you about a week’s work by an expert tradesperson or team, including the materials. If your budget is at the higher mark, a professional designer can let your garden pack a big punch in terms of visual appeal. Designers are usually paid around 15% of a budget. 

£10,000—£30,000: If you’re fortunate enough to have this for your garden landscaping, you can hire an expert designer and contractor to ensure your work is done to a specific standard. A 10m² garden can easily be treated to hard-surfacing, high-quality plants, barriers and extra features, plus there’ll be enough left over for designer fees.

But regardless of what budget you are blowing on your garden landscaping, step one should start with a clear idea and vision of what you want to achieve. Happy planning and planting!

To help you plan your dream garden, have a look at homify’s best garden edging tips and ideas.

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