Do you suffer from the phobia that affects new gardeners?

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!

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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Why Having a Garden Plan Saves Time & Money

Why would you want to design your garden, you have better things to do with your time – right?

Well only you can answer that but if you want a really good garden then, I’ll answer it for you – YES, you most definitely do need to plan a garden!

Still not convinced landscape planning is worth all the effort?

OK, let’s go with the assumption that you have a zillion other things you should be doing and spending the time to sit down and design a garden, just isn’t on the agenda, or if it is, a 5 min scribble will do….

That’s a big pile of…

Bricks! Imagine having a big pile of bricks delivered and building yourself a house. No plan, just build!  What are the chances of you getting the rooms the right size, the right function and flow in the building… in fact, the right anything? Pretty slim I imagine, especially if you aren’t an architect and have never built a house before! Thankfully NO one does that (at least I hope not) but when it comes to building a garden…. vrrooomm – straight down the garden centre, buy as many pretty things as possible, come home and plant them, build a patio or two, wherever the creative muse bids!

Has the notion of a ‘garden in a weekend’ seduced you too much?

I know it’s VERY tempting just to get on with it one weekend and hope for the best but… if you can think about things and plan it properly in advance, it’s got to be better, right? Think about it, how many things have you done in your life that turned out great on your first attempt? Maybe you are an exceptionally talented individual that can turn your hand at virtually anything… but even so? If you plan a garden on paper or your computer first, you can change things that don’t work with the click of a mouse or a squiggle of your pencil.

£££ It’ll cost you! $$$

Or to put it another way – it is SO much cheaper, if you get it wrong, to change your mind on paper than it is once you’ve built and planted your garden.

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!).

Download the ‘WOW Factor’ cheat sheet & video

Enter your best email address in the box below

Garden design – that’s just about where you put plants, isn’t it?

Garden and landscape design are really just getting the planting right isn’t it?

In a word, NO!

SO many people make the mistake of thinking the KEY to a great garden is the plants…

Plants ARE important – they are just not THE most important thing when it comes to garden design. I can feel the tut tutting as you are reading this – ‘not about plants, what’s she talking about!’ You are probably not convinced, thinking you are reading the ramblings of a crazy woman. That’s OK. Like many misconceptions, it’s going to take a bit of persuasion and coersion to set the record straight.

So if garden design isn’t about plants – what is it about?

Well cake, actually. Yes, glorious, delicious, icing covered, cake. Think of plants as the icing on the cake,  NOT the cake itself. They finish it off, make it look pretty and make the garden feel like, well, a garden.

Really GOOD garden design is about the shape first, then the plants. Shape is so important because it provides the framework that the plants sit in. If the shape or main body of the garden is well thought out, then the whole garden works as one entity, not just a hit and miss of plants dotted here and there.

ONE of the biggest mistakes MOST people make when designing their own garden is…

They get hung up on the icing. The pretty bits – the plants. If you just focus your design on what plants you are going to put in, chances are you’ll create a chaotic plant paradise but not a great garden. For some people that’s fine. BUT I suspect, not for you. The fact you are here reading a blog about how to design your garden better, means you are one of the VERY FEW smart people. I’m actually not trying to butter you up with flattery – it happens to be true, MOST people don’t plan, they don’t think ahead, they just go plant things!

If you are one of the many that have made this mistake in the past, don’t worry, you are in very good company – everyone does it. The reason we all head straight for the garden centre is plants are nice and we don’t know what exactly what else we should be doing, so planting the garden is the most obvious and logical thing to do.

So what should you do if you want a well designed garden?

The quick answer is to plan it first. Going back to my cake fixation (writing a blog at tea time, when I’m hungry, maybe wasn’t such a good idea) decide what shape cake you want before you even CONSIDER what colour and flavour the icing is going to be! You probably wouldn’t serve a pile of icing on a plate, so make sure you don’t just focus on the plants in the garden – make something really delicious, with a well thought out and planned garden.

Click here if you would like the Successful Garden Design FREE cheat sheet and video training on how to add the ‘WOW’ factor to your garden…

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