Designing your own garden is a very satisfying endeavor and it saves you the expense of hiring a professional designer. However, it can be very frustrating trying to get the results you want without knowing the key processes that are involved in creating a great looking garden.

To achieve good results yourself it is vital to know the principles of design. These design principles are a set of rules that make design work. The seven most important principles to learn are:

Simple shapes work best in the garden

1. Shape

This is how you define each area of the garden. It’s important to view the garden as one whole entity and not have lots of different parts that

don’t link. By getting the shape of the open areas like your lawn and patio correct, when you come to adding the plants in the areas that are left, you will have a more fluid and coherent design shape.

2. Proportion

Getting the shape right alone is not enough to create a great garden. Getting everything in proportion to one another is vital forharmony and balance.

3. Movement

You need to create interest in your garden and you can do this by creating areas that your eye goes to. This will create a sense of movement and will enable you to create a much more desirable garden.

4. Balance

The design shapes that you create need to balance well with one another and not be top-heavy as this will create an odd
perspective which may end up making your garden look smaller.

5. Repetition

Carefully repeating certain shapes and plants throughout the design gives a sense of harmony and balance, and creates a calm garden.

Simplicity works best

6. Simplicity

The best designs are always the most simple. Fussy shapes on paper never look good in the garden.

7. Punctuation

Adding focal points is key in your garden, as they act as visual ‘full stops’, or ‘periods’. They are the finishing touch to a well-designed garden.

Each principle is pretty simple and the trick is to use them all together at the same time. If you apply them to your garden in the order they’re listed, you’ll find it’s much easier to achieve good results.
Before you start applying these principles, it is important to have good idea of the type and style of garden you want to achieve. For inspiration, look at plenty of pictures in magazines or online, making a note of things you like and things you don’t. This will help you to narrow down what you really want in your own garden.

Once you know what you want, draw an outline of your garden on paper, plotting everything that is there now that you wish to keep in your dream garden. Putting your ideas down on paper is really vital. It allows you to change your mind and refine your ideas as much as you need without spending a dime!

If it works on paper it will work in your garden. So trust in the shapes that you have drawn. Don’t worry if you can’t visualize precisely how it will look, just trust in the design process. More in-depth lessons on DIY Garden Design are available here.