The ‘Blank Canvas’ Garden

‘Blank Canvas’ Garden

Having virtually nothing in your garden can be daunting. To help make designing it easier, let’s break it down into small steps that will produce the results you want.

Step 1

First, write a list of what you want. If you don’t know, look at books and pictures for inspiration or check out the garden ideas gallery.

Map out your garden onto a bit of paper (preferably to scale) – if you want to know how to do this, there are some free video tutorials here:

If the thought of putting pencil to paper sounds scary, let me assure you that it’s nowhere near as difficult as you might imagine. It really is an important step, though.

On paper, you can see what’s working and what isn’t, and you can change it much more easily than trying to do it all in the garden. You’ll get a much, much better design for your garden if you start it on paper.

You don’t need to be able to visualise, draw well or any of the other things that people list as to reasons they ‘can’t do it’. If you can draw an approximation of a circle or a square, you’re good to go.

The ‘hardest’ part of the whole thing is probably the measuring (and that’s not hard!). But if you have an awkward site or a change in levels, then the garden survey mini-course will show you how to tackle these as well as how to draw a scale plan (vital if you want everything to fit when you or someone else builds the garden).

Step 2

Answer these 2 questions:

  • Do you want to sit in sun or shade?
  • At what times of day will you be using the garden?

Ok, now you’ve answered those, where is the best place in your garden for your seating area(s)? I say “areas” because it might be that you’re mostly only home in the evening, so you might want a small seating area away from your main patio if the sun isn’t on it when you are.

Step 3

Now you’ve worked out the best places to sit, what other features are on your wish list? On your base plan (which I suggest you photocopy a few times before you start sketching) draw some bubbles to represent roughly where you want to put things like ponds, pergolas etc.

This will give you an idea of where everything should go. Now, it’s onto the next step.

Step 4

You need to get the right design shapes in place to enhance your garden and make the best use of the available space. If you have a long, narrow garden, you need to make it look wider than it really is. Or if your garden is small, make it look visually longer than it really is and create more interest and feelings of space. Getting this right will dramatically improve your garden and help it look good all year round, not just when plants are flowering.

Step 5

There are several ways to achieve the right design for your garden, location and lifestyle needs. Now go to the overview on the Garden Design Options page I’ve put together for you and download the free guide at the bottom of the page which shows which steps to take next. GOTONEXTPAGE



  1. thanks alot I appreciate your ideas

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