Garden re-design part 3: drawing out

Having tested the soil and, assessed the light levels and identified the plants are in my garden (see part one of my garden re-design), I now know what will grow best where, and it’s time to move on to the re-design planning.

I’ve looked at books, watched programmes and pinned hundreds of images on Pinterest and to be honest probably got overwhelmed with too many ideas. I’ve been through dozens of iterations for layout and I still don’t think I’ve got the finished product now.

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In the end, the location of the greenhouse- placed to get the most light- has determined much of the design around it. The garden is small, at about 8.5 metres wide and 15 metres long, with currently an ugly 1950s garage taking up a large chunk. But that hasn’t stopped me asking a lot from this space and trying to fit a lot of functions into my plan.

In addition to the greenhouse, I know I also want to incorporate:

A ‘utility’ area

With a cold frame, a compost bin (two if possible), a leafmould pile and a small tool store

A covered seating area

With a pergola that I can sit under and be completely immersed in the garden and surrounded by plants

A greener patio

The patio and house are raised above the garden, so at the moment I find being on the patio feels very detached from the garden and quite exposed to the neighbours. I want to try and incorporate more planting around the patio to try and link it better with the rest of the garden and draw the house and garden together, and give more privacy

Winter colour and greenery

Once I was entirely about the herbaceous perennials, but I’ve found myself increasingly drawn to images of gardens full of lush foliage and I’m really starting to recognise the value of evergreens.

Mixed hedging

I want the garden to feel enclosed on all sides by greenery for as much of the year as possible; I want being in it to feel private and secluded- something that will be a challenge in my small, overlooked suburban garden. I’ve noticed how much the birds use the cherry laurel at the bottom of the garden and the Acer and Philadelphus near to my bird feeders, and I want the hedging to also provide them with more places to perch or roost.

Large swathes of planting

When I moved in the garden had the all-too-common layout of extremely mean, narrow, straight borders along two sides and an expanse of green, lumpy, moss-filled lawn across the rest of it. I want to be surrounded by plants in my garden, and to have lots of space to fill with the annuals and herbaceous perennials I’ll be raising in my greenhouse. I want the boundaries between ‘border’ and ‘path’ to become blurred and to brush past plants as I walk through the garden.


Even in a small garden you can have trees. These are good for the birds, which I love having in the garden, and will give some height. I bought a Cercis canadensis last month with some birthday money, and a multi-stemmed Betula utilis ‘Jacquemontii’ is well and truly on my list, as well as possibly a Victoria plum. Trees also create shade, and this gives opportunities to grow a wider range of plants in a generally sunny garden.


Again, this is great for wildlife. I don’t think I’ll fit a full-on pond into the garden with everything else I want to shoehorn in, but a container pond or a small trickling water feature would be lovely.

So, the plan for how it will eventually look is something like this:

Garden Plan

This won’t be until next year though, because we have plans to extend the house and knock down the ugly 1950s garage that currently stands where the covered seating area is on the plan. Those will both be major works that will no doubt destroy parts of the garden so I can’t get any final landscaping or planting in until it’s done.

Not that this will stop me growing and planting in the meantime; the building work is at least a few months off and I want to enjoy the garden this summer so there’s plenty going on regardless. And I’ll keep dreaming of the finished garden- and probably changing the design, at least a dozen more times.

Plan created using the free trial of My Garden from Gardena.



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