Designing Your Garden: First Steps
If you think designing a garden is too hard to do, think again. It's just inspiration plus organization.
Designing your garden is all about finding solutions. That may sound daunting, but if you can identify your goals and practical needs, your basic design will soon take shape.
Start by pulling all your inspirations and ideas into one place, like a notebook. These may include plants and landscapes you love, and furniture or art you admire. To help clarify your thoughts, draw a simple diagram with areas for different activities - dining, seating or a play area for the kids.
The paths, structures and areas of open spaces will impact the look and feel of a design, and need to be considered before you finalize your plan. For example, combining winding paths and organic shapes creates a relaxed and informal design, while straight paths and symmetrical layouts convey a formal look.
Every site has its own particular challenges, whether your garden is on a steep slope that needs terracing, or is tiny or an awkward shape. Whatever the problem, you can use lines, shapes, height and structure to your advantage to help you achieve your vision. You can also employ techniques to lead or direct the eye, creating an illusion of space in a small garden or focusing attention to your garden's best features.
Colors, patterns and textures have a powerful impact on atmosphere and mood. Color also affects perception of size and space in the garden - cool blues and whites make an area feel bigger; warm reds and yellows make spaces appear lively and more compact. Pale colors and white reflect light into gloomy areas. Texture can be used to create exciting contrasts, too, by combining rough with smooth, or shiny with matte.
There are no rights or wrongs in the world of garden design. The most important things are being willing to experiment, and just having fun!
The Thoroughly Modern Garden
Are you mesmerized by the changing shadows on your patio, as the sun moves through the sky? Do you like minimalist planting and smooth, seamless hardscapes? If so, read on: modernist design may be for you.
6 common landscape problems and how to solve them.
How to Conduct an Irrigation Audit
How much moisture are your plants getting? Conduct an irrigation audit to find out.
Creating a Garden Design Plan
Accurate site and planting plans are a crucial early step in garden design. Drawing them allows you to reality-check your design dreams and avoid costly errors. Get prepared with these tips and ideas.
How to Grow a Garden Fairy Ring
Learn how to plant a fairy ring, creating a garden space that kids of all ages will enjoy.
How to Plant Sunflowers in Decorative Pots
Make sunflowers even more cheery with this step-by-step guide to design a fun pot in which your sunny plants will flourish.
How to Reclaim a Weedy Yard
Grow healthy grass and say 'goodbye' to those nasty weeds with these simple and easy-to-follow lawn and gardening tips.
Knowing What You're Working With: First Steps in Redesign
It pays to think carefully before embarking on a garden redesign. What's your budget? What plantings are possible, given your soil, sun and rainfall? What seasonal surprises or favorite features do you want to keep?
Elegance Expressed: Designing a Formal Garden
If you like classical architecture and symmetrical, geometric design, a formal garden may be for you. Here, we introduce you to key features of formal gardens to consider integrating into your design.
Strolls and Saunters: Planning Your Garden's Route
A path directs visitors to your garden's best views while also protecting plantings and other features. Here, we share some ideas on how to choose the best route to compliment your garden.
Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.
We're serving up the latest news, gorgeous style, crafty DIY projects, clever entertaining tips and more. Consider these your design digests.