Design & Decor - Landscaping

10 steps to design the garden of your dreams

Use these helpful steps to draw up the perfect plan for your yard

6. Plan new features. For example, a second seating area away from the house, a private corner for reading and retreat, a pond with cascade, or a "destination" feature like a gazebo. Indicate the size of each feature on the paper plan, allowing reasonable distance from other functional areas. Consider your privacy needs, either with built-in structures (wood trellis screens) or plants (a cedar hedge).

7. Add proposed architectural features to the drawing. This could include fencing with decorative arch panels, trellis sections, overhead pergolas, and full moon gates with arbours. Bird baths can be set into the planting areas. Clusters of granite or limestone boulders could be used strategically as sentinel markers at the bottom and top of pathways into the garden.

8. Mark lawns on the plan, their shape and dimension, and trees already in place. Indicate trees that require radical pruning. New spreading trees that are five metres tall or higher should be at the far end of the garden, with trees of descending height closer to the home. House corners can be marked with narrow fastigiate trees that are tall, but non-spreading. Check that all tree placement is well away from overhead wires.

9. Add existing hedges, shrubs and planting beds, and new ornamental planting areas you're thinking about. These may require special alterations and construction, such as low retaining walls and stone curbs to hold back the soil from pathways. Identify any dwarf conifers that will be the bones of planting beds. Make a separate drawing of each planting bed, with numbers of each species and placement clearly indicated.

10. Add locations for electrical power to service garden lighting, a water pump for the pond, wall fountain and cooking appliances to the drawing. Show where any wires connect to the house, and indicate their concealed placement in the garden. Identify areas requiring irrigation and plan for water lines to run under paths and patios as necessary. Hard "sleeves" or PVC piping must be installed under stone areas to carry future irrigation lines.

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