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Planning your garden project

Whether starting from scratch or redesigning an existing layout, we’ll show you how to plan your perfect garden space

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When most people move into a new home, they often concentrate on getting the house right first then start to think about the garden. However, if the house is being built from scratch or there’s an extension being built, then it’s a good idea to plan the garden developments so that the heavy ground works can be carried out utilising the machinery already on site. Also, access may be difficult after the event so always try to think about the design of the garden before building work commences.


Before doing anything major, make a plan by taking the following steps:

  1. Spend time in the garden to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t such as which plants and trees are adding value and which ones should go
  2. Consider the style of interiors and the look of the house as this will usually determine how the garden design should be themed, whether contemporary or traditional
  3. Draw a scale plan of the garden. For small to medium-sized plots, use a scale of 1:50 which means 2cm is 1m
  4. Once you have the dimensions, draw any patio or seating areas from the house. A patio less than 3m wide is usually too tight so try to go for a 4m minimum, even if it’s not all the way across
  5. Sketch where the paths should go and walk the route in the garden to make sure it’s a natural way you want to walk
  6. Leave at least 1m for beds and borders or more in some areas. Keeping borders to a minimum doesn’t necessarily make the garden look bigger. Layers of plants add texture, form and colour and create a haven for wildlife which can accentuate the feeling of space
  7. The rest of the area will probably be the lawn but try to keep the shape simple so it’s easy to maintain. Straight edges are easy to manage and give a modern look in contrast to curvy, informal lawns which are more naturalistic

Plan your project

How to plan or update a garden

How to plan or update a garden

Follow our useful tips to design or update a garden layout that meets your needs and interests whilst complementing your home and lifestyle.

View guide
Gardening calendar

Things to do in your garden this month

Our month by month gardening calendar explains what’s happening in your garden, what maintenance needs doing and when to sow, plant and harvest.

Gardening calendar