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Whether you are giving the garden a complete make-over, creating a new area or just giving a facelift to existing borders, it is best to design the area first before undertaking the work. Knowing where to turn for information and inspiration will help get you started.
Garden design - sources of information
Though making your own plan may seem daunting, you can draw useful information from numerous sources that can help with preparing a plan of the chosen area. Having a plan allows you to consider carefully what you want to achieve. Likewise, consider the features you want to accommodate include: hard landscaping (e.g. patio, paths, pergolas, raised beds, fences and building), soft landscaping (e.g. lawns, trees, shrubs and herbaceous beds) and dedicated productive areas such as vegetable or cut flower beds. It is much easier to change the design on a piece of paper than in situ.
Alternatively, seek help from professional garden designer. However, even then you need to consider the criteria that the designer should fulfil (see seeking professional help below).
If you would like to try your hand at garden design, you can:
The garden designer by Robin Williams (Frances Lincoln 2007, ISBN 0711226326)
Encyclopedia of garden design ed. Chris Young (DK 2009, ISBN 9781405329057)
Essential garden planning and construction ed. Christopher Brickell (Mitchell Beazley 2006, ISBN 987845330590)
Encyclopedia of planting combinations by Tony Lord and Andrew Lawson (Mitchell Beazley/Royal Horticultural Society 2008, ISBN 9781845333263)
Here is how to turn to others for help with designing your garden:
To make sure that the garden designer or landscaper fulfils your wishes and the contract runs smoothly, you need to consider number things. See our advice pages on hiring contractors.
Allotment: getting startedNew build gardensRHS garden design
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RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.
We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.