Archives for December 2009

How to build a courtyard garden [part 4]

In this video you will see the courtyard garden (design shown in how to design a courtyard garden video) being built.

This is the first stage of the courtyard garden construction.

The paving slabs will be laid in a couple of months time, so you will have to use your imagination a little bit (or watch the next video in the series, see below for details). The rendered wall planters are built, so you will still get a good idea of the garden design layout.

You can also view this courtyard garden landscaping video along with many more on the Successful Garden Design YouTube Channel.

The earth moves!

Building a courtyard garden in this part of Spain is tricky because the area is subject to a lot of ground movement, the concrete is reinforced with metal to help prevent cracking. A plastic mesh is also worked into the wall rendering for the same reason.

The paving slabs will bring the ground level up approx 10cm (4″) higher, which will make the wall planters a look lower. The garden should be completed at Easter time. I will do a follow up video when the garden is finished. The paving, water feature and plants will make an enormous difference to the finished garden, I can’t wait to see it done!

Garden Update

You don’t have to wait to see how the courtyard garden turned out, you can see it on the courtyard garden design update page. The update video will show you how the garden looked after six and eighteen months.

Time to plan your own garden?

As now is a really good time to be planning the garden, the next 3 blog posts will be galleries of completed gardens. These will hopefully give you plenty of good ideas to put into your own garden design.

If you’d like  a step-by-step instructions on how to create a beautiful garden, visit our garden design courses’ page. 

And if you’d like to attend one of our FREE Fast Track Garden Design online classes…

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How to Design a Courtyard Garden [part 3]

In this garden design video tutorial you’ll see the design process from start to finish – lots of trade secrets given away in this one… (it was one of my first ever videos, so no laughing at the somewhat wooden intro!)

If you missed part 1 the garden survey or part 2 drawing a scale plan click on the purple links to view them

This courtyard garden design video can be viewed along with many more videos on the Successful Garden Design YouTube Channel.

Keep to the Garden Design Brief

The clients came up with lots of good ideas: raised planting borders, seating and illusion trellis focal point at the end of the garden. It was a nice change to have some of the thinking done already!

When designing anything it is important to consider the function of the area. This courtyard will mostly be used for a cool place to sit and have afternoon tea. It is two flights of stairs below the main living areas, so won’t be used much for dining.

Set Your Sights

As shown in the garden design video, it is really beneficial to work out how the garden will be viewed before you start to design it. When you know which views are the most important, you can set the garden design up to maximise these views.

Find Your Centre

The line running down the middle of the garden is the centre line – it is only really necessary to know if you are planning on creating a fairly formal scheme that needs symmetry. Because of the shape of the courtyard and in order to keep the centre line parallel to the house, there were two centre lines. A centre line from the back of the garden and the other centre line from the middle of the front of the garden.

Simplicity is Key

When you start to rough out the garden design, it helps if you keep the shapes as simple as possible. Simple shapes to begin with, help make it easier to see how well you are using the available space and that everything is in proportion.

Precision Finishing

Before the design is finished, it is vital to check that everything lines up as it should and paths are of equal width. Double check by measuring everything you have drawn. A couple of millimetres out on the paper can be ten centimetres on the ground. You may not notice it’s not correct on paper but it will show when the garden is built.

So How Does a Garden Design Go From a Drawing Into Reality?

If you ever wanted to see how a garden is constructed, then the next video in the series will show all. But will it all go to plan? Find out in the next video…

Part 4 How to Build A Courtyard Garden

Want to know how you can transform your garden, using a simple system?

If you’d like to learn all the tricks to creating a stunning small garden – check out the Small Garden Design Formula.

And if you’d like to attend one of our FREE Fast Track Garden Design online classes…

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How to draw a garden site survey plan to scale [part 2]

In this garden design video tutorial we take a look at how to turn all those measurements you took from the last video and translate them into a usable drawing – the scale plan.

You can also view this drawing a scale plan video along with many more on the Successful Garden Design YouTube Channel.

Why bother, though?

I mean, really, who wants to spend any of their free time trying to get a garden survey onto a bit of paper to make a scale plan?

Answer: anyone who really wants to do a good job creating their dream garden.

The rest of the population will be too lazy and won’t care enough. That’s not you though, is it? If it were, you probably wouldn’t be spending time to learn how to create a great garden if you didn’t really want to achieve one, would you? Unless of course the garden design fairies have hidden a hypnotic message into the YouTube efforts (seek help if you think that’s the case).

To get yourself though this slightly dull but VITAL part of creating a beautiful garden – just envisage your dream garden a few months from now. Imagine sitting in it on a lovely summer’s evening sipping your favourite beverage – surely that was worth an hour spent measuring the garden and drawing up your survey? If it wasn’t, you didn’t imagine a beautiful enough garden – try again!

As you’ll have seen in the video, the shape of the freehand, rough survey sketch and the finished drawing is significantly different. THIS ALWAYS happens – that is why you mustn’t guess what shape and size your garden is! If you haven’t already, read the tapemeasureaphobia post, you will see why this is SO important to do. Or if you want step-by-step guide on how to survey your garden, check out our garden survey course.

Next week we get onto the fun part – the garden design. You’ll see exactly how the garden design process is done, from beginning to end – plenty of top designer trade secrets coming your way!

And if you’d like to attend one of our FREE Fast Track Garden Design online classes…

Register on this page:

How to measure a garden [part 1]

How to survey your garden

To view this garden survey video along with many others visit the Successful Garden Design YouTube Channel

The video above shows the first stage in how to design a garden and is for anyone suffering from tapemeasureaphobia!

Yes, we finally have the first of the infamous garden design in Spain video series up and running…. hoorah – well not quite hoorah, more horror. I don’t know what is worse, being in front of the camera to do these (yes I do feel like someone auditioning for a reality tv series) or the horrific editing process where I have to sit through hours of gaffs!

So why would I put myself through this horror?

Because it is REALLY important you measure the garden if you are going to design your garden well. The survey is the first step to take to successfully design a garden, without it you won’t succeed. Yes the reality is as harsh as that…

The other aim of the video is to show you there isn’t anything to be afraid of. Garden design is straight-forward. There’s no rocket science involved, no sorcery, just a tape measure and a sheet or two of paper.

So watch the video, but most importantly get out there and survey the garden. It really is critical to survey the garden so you can create a scale plan to work from and that will enable you to design a garden properly.

If you have a really awkward garden to survey that’s a strange shape or you have lots of plants or level changes to contend with, then the garden survey course will show you step-by-step how to survey more complex gardens and draw a scale plan.

This short mini-course will also show you how to draw up a scale plan. Having a drawing to scale will help you order the correct quantity of landscaping materials and enable you to check your ideas will fit in the garden.

Leave a comment if the video has been helpful, or if you have a question you would like answered on garden surveying.

To see how to draw up your plan, watch part 2.

And if you’d like to attend one of our FREE Fast Track Garden Design online classes…

Register on this page:

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