How to Design Your Own Garden

Create a Mood BoardGarden design is a complicated business.
Good designers know about plants, design and construction. They have the vision to see how your garden will grow and develop over time and if they’re really good they will exceed your expectations and give you the most beautiful garden that you can imagine. It takes designers years to study and learn everything there is to know about this subject. You couldn’t possibly design your own garden could you? … Or could you? I think that you can… Here’s why:

• You know more about your garden than anyone else.
• You can imagine how lovely your garden could be.

Keep it simple.
Garden Designers will often advise their clients to visit famous gardens and read gardening books to help them pick out elements they would like in their own garden. It’s true that garden visits are inspirational and books are educational but there is so much information to take in that it can be overwhelming. To start with there is a much simpler way to approach designing your own garden.

Make a Mood Board
One of the best ways to get started with designing your garden is to make a MOOD BOARD. You’ll need some magazines (not necessarily gardening magazines) a pair of scissors, a glue stick and an A3 board or large piece of paper.

The idea is that you collect images that appeal to you and make a collage with them. Remember that before anything can become real you need to imagine it… to see it in your minds eye.

1) Set your Intention.
The first step is to decide on the mood or atmosphere that you would like to create.
Select one garden to work on and ask yourself these questions:

• How do you want your garden to feel?
• How do you want to feel in the garden?

Imagine your new garden. What does it look like? How does it feel? Choose two or three words that state the mood you would like to create in your garden.
For example: In my own front garden I chose the words WARM and WELCOMING.

Garden Mood 02

2) Choose images to convey the mood.
When you are clear on the mood you wish to create flick through your magazines to find images that match your chosen words and feelings and tear them out. When you have a big pile of pictures select your favourites and lay them on the board. This is the time to be ruthless and get rid of anything that doesn’t feel right.
The images don’t need to be garden related … any image that conveys the right mood is fine. At this early stage we are not looking for specific elements to include in your garden. You don’t need to choose plants or garden furniture. Just select images that communicate the emotion and the feelings you want.

3) Stick the images on the board.
Assemble your chosen images. You may find that there are themes running through the photos such as repeated colours, shapes or textures. Pay attention to that and group them together. You may also wish to include your chosen MOOD words and a happy photograph of yourself and your family and pets (or whoever will be sharing the garden with you)

Garden Mood 01

4) Display your mood board.
Hang your mood board on the wall preferably somewhere you will see it often.
Think about the pictures you have chosen and what they represent for you. Don’t think about what your neighbours or friends are doing with their gardens. To get your dream garden you must decide what’s right for you.

Your assignment
How do you want to feel when you arrive home and walk into your garden? If you want to make some changes it’s important to be clear on your intentions. I recommend the step by step process outlined above to create a mood board and clarify what you want.

Go on… Have a go. You know you can do it!   Gillian 😉