One Garden, Four Solutions: Experimenting With Scale Drawing

A scale drawing allows you to experiment with different layouts in enough detail to ensure that the design fits and works well, while not requiring too much time or technical know-how. Here, we share four ideas drawn for one simple plot.

More accurate than a bubble diagram or a sketch, but less technical than a planting plan or a cross-section, a scale drawing enables you to experiment with different layouts in enough detail to ensure that the design fits and works well. A scale drawing should start with a simple plan that shows your basic garden plot in scale, the plot's location relative to the house, boundaries and existing features like beds, patios, water features and structures.

Each of the four plans featured here shows different design options for one site. All feature a lawn, pond, paving/deck area and access to the back gate, and three include a shed. The tree has been removed in two designs, because it would compromise the suggested layout.

Option One

By positioning rectangular areas diagonally, the corner-to-corner orientation of this garden gives it a dramatic appearance. The design provides planting areas that are deep enough for larger specimens, and a triangular pond that can be appreciated from the nearby seating area. This is a garden of two halves of distinct character, with a hedge dividing (and possibly screening) the two lawn areas.

Diagonal alignments work well in rectangular plots, especially in urban areas. They create generous planting beds and throw the eye to the corners, helping to make full use of the space available.

Diagonal Plot Alignment

Diagonal Plot Alignment

2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited DK - Garden Design

DK - Garden Design, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Option Two

The garden here is divided by a series of hedges that divide the space and direct the eye to short and varied views; they also act as a unifying element across the plot. The hedges would be grown to different heights to allow or restrict views, giving visual variety. Rows of trees reinforce the division created by the hedges but would allow views beneath their canopies. The design also includes rectangular flowerbeds, a formal pond and a shed hidden behind a high hedge.

Dividing gardens by using parallel screens encourages movement around the whole site. This garden would feel intimate, and provide many opportunities for design details, such as wooded areas and sculpture.

Garden Layout

Garden Layout

2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited DK - Garden Design

DK - Garden Design, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Option Three

With its strong diagonal line, this design works in a similar way to Option One. The oval-shaped lawn provides a central space, further defined by a low, flowering hedge. The trees also help reinforce the geometry, and partially enclose the central area. The summerhouse is a focal element here, while a decked area and pool overlap on to the lawn to provide opportunities for attractive detailing. The planting beds are deep and generous.

Central circular zones can help to unify a space and bring the garden together. Using an oval shape, in particular, gives the garden a sense of direction, and leads the eye across the spacious lawn.

Oval Shapes Give Garden Sense of Direction

Oval Shapes Give Garden Sense of Direction

2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited DK - Garden Design

DK - Garden Design, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Option Four

This oval plan would be more complicated to set out on the ground than the other designs, but would accommodate existing features and levels more easily. The lines are sweeping organic curves, the pond much less formal and there are two distinct seating areas. Planting beds vary in width to allow a wide variety of plants and combinations to be grown. However, as there are no hedges, taller plants would be needed to prevent the garden from looking and feeling too open.

Curved, organic shapes can be used to create a more relaxed feel, and the layout can be adapted to accommodate larger plants as they grow. Such shapes are difficult to build using paving materials.

Organically Shaped Garden Design

Organically Shaped Garden Design

2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited DK - Garden Design

DK - Garden Design, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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