Designing your own garden is great to do but you must be careful that you don’t fall fowl of one of the most important aspects of garden planning…
There is a worrying condition that threatens to thwart good garden design…
The condition is called tapemeasureaphobia. A bit of a mouthful to say, but it’s no laughing matter, there are some fairly serious consequences to the condition that doesn’t always become apparent immediately…
In layman’s terms this affliction, is simply known as an extreme fear of tape measures, results in sufferers being unable to measure their garden. I once suffered from the affliction myself. The first garden I ever designed BEFORE I was properly trained (my parents garden) I didn’t measure… I did put a LOT of time and effort into the design though… shame it didn’t fit when we came to build it! Now before you start thinking bad things about me, I was only 19 and I had read, nearly, one whole book, on garden design and had skipped the bit about measuring as it looked really dull, boring and not that important!
I wasn’t wrong with the dull and boring part – it is. BUT I was WRONG about it not being important!
Why is measuring the garden so important? Won’t an educated guess do?
In a really well designed garden, the design works as a whole entity – every aspect is interlinked, even if it is divided into different sections. If you change one part of the design it has a knock on effect with everything else. A bit like doing a jigsaw puzzle – you can’t fiddle with one bit and have it not effect everything around it!
So what have jigsaws got to do with measuring a garden?!
I’m getting to that bit now. Imagine you are building your jigsaw in a frame – the frame is solid and has fixed dimensions (pretty much like your garden fence or boundary). Now for argument’s sake, you have guessed that the frame is square and of a certain size… bear with me… and you have made a jigsaw according to the size you THINK the frame is… Now imagine trying to get that jigsaw to fit in that existing frame…
Even if you are REALLY good at guessing, what do you think the odds are that your jigsaw will fit perfectly into that frame are? Obviously you can’t alter the frame to make the jigsaw fit, so your only option is to make the jigsaw fit the frame….and that of course will affect the overall look, shape and feel of it.
How easy do you think that will be?
The honest answer is it depends on the design, some designs are more robust than others and can take a bit of altering without any major casualties. But you will most likely find (like I did with my first garden design) that the garden wasn’t quite the shape and size you thought it was. Therefore your design and all that TIME you spent on it has to be re-done, on site. NO easy task, not even for a professional garden designer!
If you are going to spend the time and effort designing your garden (and I really hope you are)… Trust me, trust me, trust me on this one – you really do need to measure the garden properly BEFORE you design it! If you want to learn exactly how to survey there is a free garden video tutorial on measuring which is ideal for easy shape gardens or there is a full survey course.
And if you’ve had any measuring disasters you’re brave enough to share – please tell us about your experiences in the comments!
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