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  • Writer's pictureStephen Machin

Garden Design Checklist - Our Top 9 Questions

Updated: Nov 19, 2023

Garden Design Checklist - Our Top 9 Questions

Garden Design Checklist

Creating a new design for your garden is an exciting process, and no matter if you are using our professional design service or starting your own DIY project, these questions will be helpful in outlining exactly what you want from your new garden. If you just jump straight into the design, you could miss potentially important details which might lead to disappointment with your design in the future.

So, how do we avoid this?

Don’t worry, it’s not as complex as it sounds! We have put together our checklist of top questions to ask yourself before starting your design. These questions allow you to really consider the whole space you have and how you intend to use this space. Take some time now to really think about your answers, as these will serve as a constant source of reference for you throughout the design process.

Why Is This Important?

The thought of a new garden is an exciting one. And it is easy to understand why you would want to just jump straight in and start; drawing out your new design, adding furniture and picking that new patio. I mean, this is what a new garden is all about, right?

Well yes, but we can’t overlook the importance of prior planning and understanding exactly what we want. A big planting space would look great when it is in full bloom, but are you going to be able to maintain it through the year? Do you want to pay someone to come in and look after it for you? Adding a new patio would be lovely, but we don’t want to place it in the corner of the garden that never gets any sun.

Just from this quick intro you can already see how powerful this process can be in fully unlocking the garden that is perfect for you. All of our projects start with us meeting our clients and getting to know them a bit better, understanding more about their lifestyle and what exactly they don’t like about their current garden. We then run through our checklist to build the whole picture up of their garden. At the end of this, we have a 360-degree view of their garden, likes, dislikes, wants and requirements. This gives us the perfect starting point for completing a design that will bring you joy every time you look out of the window.

The art of garden design

The Checklist:

So, we have discussed why we should do this, now let’s jump into some of our most favoured questions:

1. What do you dislike about your current garden?

Writing down what it is that you don’t like about your current garden can be a very powerful start to creating your new garden. The chances are, your garden has looked this way for a while and it just doesn’t excite you anymore. It could be run down, boggy, unloved or just a completely blank canvas. But the reason you want a fresh design is because you have fallen out of love with your current garden. Write these reasons down.

2. What do you intend to use the garden for?

Thinking about what you want to do in your garden is also super important. This might sound simple, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to overlook. If you want to entertain people, then how many people? It’s no good building a patio that is only big enough to comfortably hold 6 people when your average gathering is 15 people.

Would you like to cook outdoors? Do you want a BBQ area or more of a fixed cooking space? Where will this be situated? Are you happy carrying all of the food the full length of the garden or would you like it closer to the back door?

3. Which part of the garden gets the most sun?

Sun in garden

The suns’ location is one of the most important design aspects to take into account. There is no point in placing your lovely new decking in the corner of the garden that doesn’t get any sun! Observing where the sun falls on your garden throughout the day is a great way of determining this.

4. How do you plan on maintaining your new garden?

Maintenance is a big factor in garden design. Do you plan on doing the maintenance yourself or would you rather pay someone to come and do it?

5. Do you have children? Or pets?

If children and pets are going to be using the garden then this is an important factor for your design. You want to consider the areas of your garden and how they will be able to move through / around the garden. You don’t want to include any sharp drops, such as a sunken firepit, without any edge restraint as this could lead to falls. If you will be letting your dog out into the garden, then it is a good idea to ensure that it is secure, and there is no where they will be able to get out.

Dog in garden

6. Are there any potential problems? (Drainage, security, etc.)

Does your current garden have any problems that may need addressing during the design process? Do you have any drainage issues, such as the grass getting excessively boggy during rainy weather? Or maybe you would like more privacy and security whilst in your garden?

Taking these into account now means that when you develop your final design, you will be able to remedy these issues early on, without the need to start ripping up your new grass to add extra drainage.

7. Do you need to consider any planning restrictions in your local area?

An important consideration when considering your design is local planning requirements. Certain works will require a planning application and approval to adhere to local regulations, such as; pergolas and summer houses over a certain size. Another thing to consider is where you are building. Is it a conservation site or a protected area where you will need to apply for permission to make any changes to the area.

8. What is your budget?

It’s easy to get carried away in the design process. There are so many different ideas you could implement, but it’s important to consider the cost of things early on. You don’t want to commit to an idea and make a start, only to find out that you can’t afford to implement the full idea and be left with a half finished project. Be realistic with your budget and take time to; cost your materials, consider waste removal, tool hire, labour, etc.

9. What is your preferred design style? Modern, clean lines or traditional, curved lines?

Consider the overall theme you would like your design to follow; are you a fan of modern, clean crisp edges and straight lines or a more traditional design with meandering lines and curves? When looking through inspiration images, which style are you drawn to more?

Also consider which will suit the overall architecture and aesthetic of your home. You probably don’t want to install a bright modern design in an old rustic English cottage as the two will clash. Working with your house will create a design which flows from the inside to the out.

Garden Design

Get Started

These are just some of the questions that you should be asking during your planning phase, and they are definitely the ones near the top of our list. Spend the time to answer these and then relay the answers onto your masterplan.

If you are going down the DIY route and are struggling in developing your masterplan, get in touch with us and arrange your free design consultation where we can help you work through these questions and develop a plan for your design moving forward.

Let Us Help

If your finding it difficult to answer some of these questions, or you want to talk through your list before starting your project, then please get in touch with us and arrange your free consultation and we will help you completing your planning checklist.


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