Can you help me settle an argument with my mother (and potentially get your garden designed for free!)

Is there such a thing as a ‘typical’ garden (or backyard, for our American readers)?

backyards

Or, if there isn’t a typical back garden, perhaps common issues that a lot of people face with landscaping their garden? What about gardens across the globe? Are there similarities worldwide?

I’m on a mission to find out and I need your help!

I’ve been teaching garden design online for nearly 5 years now, and whilst I’ve had hundreds of people do my online garden design workshops and courses with great success, not everyone wants to learn how to DIY design their own garden.

A lot of people would prefer done for you design, BUT not everyone wants to employ a garden designer…

Help settle the ultimate debate (with my mother!)

My mother has been on at me for years to develop a set of garden blueprints that people could just download, without needing to learn how to be a garden designer!

The garden blueprints could be easily adjusted to suit people’s individual situations and tastes (so it looks like you’ve had a bespoke design done, and not like you’ve got some dodgy DIY thing off the internet!).

I’ve always maintained that it’s IMPOSSIBLE to do that because every garden is different and everyone’s taste are so individual (that’s why you can’t just get a design out of a book and have it work in your garden). But… the more thought I’ve given it over the years, and the more I teach people, the more I’ve noticed similarities in design solutions.

GardenPlan

Garden Plan

As much as I hate to admit my mother might be right, I think I’ve come up with a way to do it. I just need a sample of gardens from around the world to see if my ideas will work globally.

Here’s where you come in…

I need some gardens to test my ideas out on. I’d like to get a feel for what types, sizes and styles of garden people want help with. So I’d like YOU to send me a picture of your garden.

What’s in it for you?

If I use your garden as a test subject or inspiration for a design, I will give you ALL the designs I do for FREE (you’ll have about 4-5 to choose from)!

How to submit your garden

Take a photo looking down your garden (with your back to the house) so I can see the view you look out to each day. Then click on the button link below to be taken to the upload page with further instructions and information. Then we will see once and for all who is right, me, or my mother! SubmitGardenButton

Click Here to Submit Your Garden

Comments, Questions or Suggestions!

So do you think this is a crazy idea, or a cool idea? Is it really possible to create some exciting designs that can easily be adapted to people’s individual tastes, ideas and situation, without employing a designer? I’d love to hear your thoughts, leave them in the comment boxes below!

Comments

comments

About Rachel Mathews

Professional international garden designer for over 20 years. My mission is to de-mystify garden design and make it easy for people to successfully design their own garden - without needing to spend a fortune!

Comments

  1. Meger Anksi says:

    What a great question!

    Backyard design issues in the US (in the MidWest at least), statistically, fall into to main issues: backyards that run into neighbors' backyards, with no delineation; backyards are fenced in with the dreaded Chain Link expanse. Of course, there are a multitude of other challenges, but these comprise the bulk of the pie chart.

    The ongoing backyard usually is not a serious problem, in that, these neighborhoods are typically very pleasant and it can be quite nice for the eye to travel on and on. But, not sure how to incorporate the design concepts. (am sure it is not so hard, just, don't know how to do so).

    The dreaded Chain Link enclosure just needs a way to hide or screen it, i suppose (I have planted a row of arborvitae, but it will be at least 5 more years before that eyesore is 'gone') I suppose, after contemplating, that the real problem here is budget more so than the actual fence. LOL

    There are other issues of soil/weather/plants, but those seem to not be directly related to the question of design. Yes, they are part of the overall picture, but you have convinced me to see the design and the plant selection as totally distinct phases/pieces. (And exploring those questions gets regional really fast, with no single approach to the US — that place is just too dern big).

    A number of backyards in the US are fighting the losing fight of deer eating almost everything (not myself, but my friends report this with anguish)

    Another issue many face here is slope — all or part of the yard slopes away or toward the house. Lots of puzzlement on what to do about that pesky puzzle. Again, budget can be a barrier there (and figuring out what activities would be included – do you actually want to use it for something or just feel peaceful when looking upon it).

    That's the MidWest report. We'll see what other folks weigh in with! (off to take photos!)

    • Thanks so much for such a thorough picture of what gardens are like in the Midwest – it’s been really eye opening for me. It’s really rare in the UK to have gardens running into each other in the way you describe. I’ll have to see what photos people send me to get a better idea of it.

      Most issues can be tackled with carefully thought out design shapes. So I’m really pleased that you’ve taken on board the importance of shape and plants, so few people do!

      Deer is a tough issue to deal with, I’ve done a few gardens in the UK with that problem and it’s never easy. The slope part of the equation is definitely fairly easy to deal with and will be taken care of in the blueprints, but, as you say it does rather come down to budget where levels are concerned!

  2. Janine MCMAHON says:

    😀 I'm with you – sorry mother ! Plots can be same size back garden or front or both. Can have stairs up or stairs down. Unless the local authority says you cannot do something with your garden (and considering planning permission may be required whatever country you're in) Each person will see their garden differently. If they have children they may see it one way. If they have pets they may see it another and singles or couples young or retired all look for different things. Raised garden beds for those of us whose knees creak now or a sandpit and swing for the young at heart..:D
    Look in any estate agents window or on line and see the different gardens in a row of houses.

  3. Janine MCMAHON says:

    😀 I'm with you – sorry mother ! Plots can be same size back garden or front or both. Can have stairs up or stairs down. Unless the local authority says you cannot do something with your garden (and considering planning permission may be required whatever country you're in) Each person will see their garden differently. If they have children they may see it one way. If they have pets they may see it another and singles or couples young or retired all look for different things. Raised garden beds for those of us whose knees creak now or a sandpit and swing for the young at heart..:D
    Look in any estate agents window or on line and see the different gardens in a row of houses. In France gardens varies so much, some are just concrete and a few pots but it entirely (like most countries) depends on where one lives.

  4. Thanks so much for such a thorough picture of what gardens are like in the Midwest – it’s been really eye opening for me. It’s really rare in the UK to have gardens running into each other in the way you describe. I’ll have to see what photos people send me to get a better idea of it.

    Most issues can be tackled with carefully thought out design shapes. So I’m really pleased that you’ve taken on board the importance of shape and plants, so few people do!

    Deer is a tough issue to deal with, I’ve done a few gardens in the UK with that problem and it’s never easy. The slope part of the equation is definitely fairly easy to deal with and will be taken care of in the blueprints, but, as you say it does rather come down to budget where levels are concerned!

  5. You do make very valid points Janine! It certainly wouldn't be easy to do (good job I love a challenge!) but I think it may be possible to show people how to do an overall design and then tweak it to suit their needs. I will find out when I try out my ideas in December! Will keep you posted!

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