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.

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Plan Planting Designs Carefully DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Drawing up accurate site and planting plans is a crucial stage of any garden design. By bringing all your ideas together on paper you can see if they are viable within the space available, and get a clear visual image of what you want to achieve. Detailed plans also help prevent any costly mistakes before you buy materials and plants, or employ contractors.

With a few basic tools, and an assistant to help take measurements, you can draw up a site plan yourself. The process is explained over the next few pages, and includes a few tricks of the trade to make it easier. A variety of computer software packages are also available to help you design site plans. However, if you have a difficult site or the prospect of drawing a plan is too daunting, you may prefer to hire a surveyor to help you.

When the site plan is complete, and you have decided on structural elements and plants to keep or introduce, you can start to play around with different design options. Even if you have an idea of the basic shapes you intend to use, it is always interesting to see how redirecting a sightline or introducing a small grove of trees or a collection of containers would change the mood of the garden.

A separate planting plan is also a good idea. Apart from helping you to assess the number of plants needed for your design, it will also clarify whether they work well in the overall design and fulfill their intended function. For example, you can use your plan to design a herbaceous bed in a sunny corner, or mark out an area for plants with winter interest that can be seen easily from the house.

Above all, study your plot from all angles and vantage points before you begin. Get to know your soil type and the path of the sun, then relax and enjoy this part of the creative process.

Excerpted from Garden Design

©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

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