Creating a Design Plan
To create a good garden design, you don’t have to draw a plan, but it can help. Some people are able to assess their space instinctively without committing anything to paper. They have the confidence to decide what they want, lay down lines, create the shape, and design the planting. For others, drawing a garden plan is a necessary exercise. Sketching out your designs forces you to consider all your landscaping options, and allows you to work on numerous possibilities for your yard. It doesn’t restrict you—you can adapt your designs at any time before construction—but it’s good to visualize the essence of your garden, so that you can consider the benefits and the pitfalls before you commit to its implementation.
Putting pen to paper may scare you, especially if you feel you can’t draw, but everyone can—it just takes practice. First, take your scale plan and either photocopy it several times or draw on a tracing-paper overlay. Alternatively, use a computer garden design program to draw up your ideas. Then think about your wants, needs, and the styles you like (if you've made a list of these things, now is the perfect time to pull it out). It's often helpful to take lots of photos of your yard and spread them out on a table to remind yourself of the different areas. You can then draw features on tracing paper laid over your photos to give you an idea of how they will look in situ. When you have something you like, transfer your ideas onto your paper plan.
A plan can also give you an idea of the costs involved and the materials you will need. You shouldn’t restrict your dreams, but you should be aware of the budget, and the time scale, both for completing the building work and for your planting to mature.
You won’t always get your garden design right the first time, but the process of laying down your ideas will lead you in the right direction.