If you’re thinking of rejuvenating your garden with a major revamp, or maybe you’ve moved home and want to make changes to the existing garden, then some landscape gardening may be called for.
Hard and Soft Landscaping
Landscape gardening falls into two categories:
- Hard landscaping – the fixed physical structures such as fencing, patios, water features
- Soft landscaping – the organic side such as the plants, trees and grass
Planning and establishing your needs
Planning is very important of course, and you have to establish your needs. If you want your garden to be somewhere you can spend time in, then some hard surfaces might be in order such as decking or a patio.
How much maintenance can you commit to? If time is at a premium and you might struggle to spend time tending your garden, then lower maintenance options should be considered (unless you’re going to hire a gardener of course).
Don’t overdo it: having too many plants, features, paths and so on could be overkill – especially in a smaller garden.
Consider the effect you wish to create: perhaps you want to make your small garden appear larger? If so, there are a few techniques you can deploy. Perhaps you want to make the space fuller and more intimate – and maybe create privacy. Again, various techniques can be used.
Plants and Trees
Don’t just go berserk at the garden centre and buy and plant a whole stack of plants and small trees. Think of the colour combinations and aesthetics: for example, a smaller space can look less cramped with slender plants growing high as opposed to those that tend to fill outwards.
Visiting a few gardens elsewhere and local lower shows might give you some useful ideas.
Be wary of trees and take into account the effect they have once fully grown. You may have issues further down the line with matters such as root ingress and light reduction as the tree grows. If you’re thinking of removing an existing tree check first in case it has a tree preservation order on it.
Water features are eye-catching and act as a good focal point in a garden. Think carefully before putting one into a small space, and take into account the possibility of what wildlife may be attracted to it. The idea of birdlife may be appealing but maybe less so mice and hedgehogs.
Patios and decking
Providing a ‘hard surface’ or two means it can be used for entertaining such as summer barbecues or maybe an alternative dining area.
Wood offers a less expensive option than stone and can look very classy, but will require more maintenance and might not be the best choice in damper environments. With stone or paving slabs, there are many different colours and finishes to choose from so take a good look around in other gardens, home and garden magazines and websites first.
Strategically placed lights can enhance your garden and make it useable when darkness falls – though be careful not to compromise your neighbours’ privacy. Small solar powered lights make for a pleasant feature, and one or two outside lights illuminating the patio can provide a pleasant outdoor environment.
If planning and executing your new garden seems a bit daunting with so much to consider, you can ask an experienced landscape gardener for their help. You might have a design in mind but need someone to implement it, or you may prefer someone with a trained eye to create something to suit.
Ask around for recommendations, check a few local landscape gardener’s websites, and talk to one or two to see if you think they could help.
Matt Coussens is the director of Milestone Supplies, which provides natural stone and reclaimed products, which are perfect for creating a landscaped garden.