The list of suggestions are endless, but through my practice, studies and peers, here are five key ideas for creating a well designed garden design space whether large or small, in New York City, the Cotswolds, UK or Perth, Australia.
1. CHOOSE A MOTIF OR CONCEPT AND STICK TO IT!
This will help to determine shapes and organize space. Remember that good design, no matter what the category (painting, scenic design, photography) is about simplicity and editing. Consider the architecture of your home.
2. UNDERSTANDING YOUR SITE IS CRITICAL TO A GOOD GARDEN DESIGN.
Your site is the entire outdoor area you own or rent, not just areas close to the house. Take inventory of what exists, challenges, opportunities and the programming you will need for this site. These are all possibilities to take advantage of! Consider what is realistic in terms of plant selection, needs and most importantly...budget.
3. FOR A COHESIVE DESIGN, REPEAT PATTERNS AND COLORS, KEEP YOUR MATERIALS CONSISTENT
For instance-- try using the same plant or plants with similar textures or colors in multiple areas of your garden. When considering plants, never forget that a garden is four seasonal and four dimensional (the element of time). A garden or outdoor space is cohesive when the same fence material is used throughout. If you are using brick for your paths, repeat that throughout.
4. CONSIDER PERSPECTIVES, VIEWS AND FOCAL POINTS IN YOUR GARDEN
Whether from outside your garden looking in, or inside your garden looking out, pay careful attention to what you see. Elements in the distance, elements up close, are just as important as "the middle grounds"... the spaces in-between which give your eyes "a place to rest". Many gardens are designed as outdoor rooms, similar in concept to your indoor architecture. That being said, there are transitions between areas (or rooms) of a garden to take advantage of.
5. FUNCTIONAL CIRCULATION WITHIN THE LANDSCAPE
How wide is comfortable to walk down a path? If you entertain or dine outdoors, how many people do you expect in your garden? Always err toward a more generous amount of area. Understand how much space you actually need for a table and chairs. (It's not just the table and chairs, it's the space necessary to move around them.)
6. REGULAR MAINTENANCE IN YOUR GARDEN
**We originally offered 5 ideas for a great garden design, however they are useless without incorporating the sixth. Even a low maintenance garden needs maintenance. Without considering future maintenance of a garden, all the planning and financial investment to create a well designed garden will be for naught.