The Secret To A Great Garden Is…

Star Trek Ultimate Edition by *michkelleher on deviantART

The Importance of Space

Space, they tell us is the final frontier. I disagree, at least when it comes to garden design. Space is the FIRST frontier.

When it comes to gardens, people are passionate about plants; they are passionate about garden features. Unfortunately those things are not what make a garden great. They certainly add to a garden’s greatness but they are not the key to it.

What you should be passionate about is space and the use of it. Before you shrug your shoulders, say “hmph” and go back to Twitter, let me tell you why space is THE most important thing you can think about in your garden.

A Whole Lot Of Nothing

The areas of empty space in your garden, like lawn and patios, are exceptionally important to shape correctly to have a great garden. These areas of empty space dictate how the garden is viewed, used and looks.

The Most Common Mistake

Most folks shape the flower borders first and then the lawn is whatever shape is left. Whilst that makes sense logically, practically it’s not the best way to do it. If you shape the empty areas of space first, your main view is then perfectly shaped to lead the eye where you want it to go to make the garden look larger, more interesting and exciting. Rather than a nibbled into with random, incoherent shapes type of lawn.

Resist the Temptation of Things

We all love stuff. We are obsessed with things. Plants and features are wonderful things, so it’s very easy to be seduced by them. Shaping empty space is petty boring in the grand scheme of things but its use is one of those understated givens in a good design.

To give you an example, you may think that the words you see on a page are what makes an article. Whilst that would be a pretty good assumption, there is something as important as the words. Yesyouguesseditspace!Withoutspacethewordsareverydifficulttoreead!

When it comes to gardens, correctly shaping space is even more important to get right than the space between these words.

Your Mission: Live long and create great gardens!

Exciting News!

Finally, The Great Garden Formula Home study course is now available. For a short time it will be discounted in order to get testimonials for the website. Check it out here:

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

You can now register on this page:

Is your garden a ‘Sagger’?

A while ago we looked at why it is so important you plan your garden before it’s built. But there is one thing that is crucial to get right before you even get to the planning stage. The dreaded garden survey!

Why do so many people avoid this part? Well tapemeasureaphobia is usually to blame for that. But there is another factor. Let’s be honest, striding round your garden, getting tangled up with a tape measure and genuinely looking like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards is not one of the most fun things you could do with your free time. BUT it’s really important you get your garden plan to the right size and scale before you design it.

Here’s Why (and an exclusive on how the fashion trend ‘sagging’ actually started!)

I want you to imagine you’ve never bought clothes before and you go into a department store to get an outfit. You see some clothes you like, grab enough for your outfit, pay for it and leave.

When you get home, you try on the top you’ve purchased. It’s a bit big but it more or less fits, not wonderfully, but it will do. Then you come to try on the trousers and find that you’ve inadvertently got them with legs far too short for your legs.

You now have a problem to solve. You’ve got this far and are determined you can get things to work – there is no way you are going to measure yourself and go back to the shop and admit you’ve got the size all wrong; you’re an inventive and determined person and you WILL get this to work out if it’s the last thing you do!

You’re Smart, You Can Find a Way to Get This to Work, Right?

So the legs of your trousers are far too short – you don’t have any spare material so the only solution you can see is to pull the trousers down lower, so they are sagging and the bad fit should more or less be covered up by the slightly big top. Can you picture just how bad that would look (and feel)? Other than quite a current fashion trend, does this sound like complete craziness to you? It will, if you are over the age of 25!

What on Earth Does This Have to do With Gardens?

Now back to gardens, the exact same crazy thing can happen. And very easily, if you haven’t measured your garden correctly or at all. You’ve spent time working out your design on paper, you’re happy it looks lovely, off you go to buy everything you need. Then, when you come to build it, nothing quite fits or looks right – the area is either bigger, smaller or a completely different shape to what you thought it was…. and you’ve got all this stuff you’ve had trucked to your home. Are you going to face the embarrassment of going back to the builder’s merchant and being called ‘Luv’, ‘Dear’ or ‘Mate’ again and admit you’ve botched things up?! I’m guessing, not.

Just in the same way the poorly fitting trousers didn’t produce quite the look you were planning for your outfit, having to totally change your garden design to make everything fit also has equally disastrous consequences. Nothing fits as it should and making adjustments makes the proportion and flow not work well. It won’t ever look as good as it should, or, worse, it’ll look awful.

The mistake with the clothes is pretty minor in the scheme of things – you don’t have to wear them EVERY day, they are relatively cheap to replace and very easy to rectify. Unlike the time and money you spent on the garden. That’s not nearly so easy to get right once it’s gone wrong. And if you’ve spent a lot of time and money on it,  you may be looking at it for a VERY long time…

Moral of The Story

Don’t make the mistakes of a teenager and dress your garden like one! Measure your back yard before you design it.

Spending time getting to know your outside space intimately with a tape measure doesn’t seem quite so bad now does it? If you have no idea how to measure your back garden then head on over to the free garden video tutorials on measuring and how to draw up your plan to scale. Or if you’d prefer to be guided through the entire process with both video and written instructions, take a look at the Garden Survey Mini-Course.

If you would like the Successful Garden Design cheat sheet and video on how to add the WOW factor to your garden  please add your email address below (don’t worry we don’t spam and will NOT pass on your address to anyone else!).

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