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Gathering inspiration for your garden

Before you even set foot in a garden centre, it pays dividends to start thinking about what you want from your space

It might sound surprising, but for most people the first step towards getting your dream garden is probably putting the kettle on. Get out a pen and paper and take time to write down all your wants and needs – this will help you to prioritise and visualise what the garden is going to be about, and give you focus when gathering inspirational ideas.

It might seem frustrating when all you want to do is get out and get gardening, but a little prior planning will save you lots of time and money in the long run.

Here are six questions to ask yourself and tips to help focus your search for gardening inspiration.

Who’s the garden for?

Your garden needs to fit your lifestyle and your family needs, for example children need space to play
First of all, who are you designing a garden for? Is it just for adults – or are there children and pets to be considered? And not just the inhabitants of the house, take your regular visitors into account too. Wildlife can love our gardens just as much as we do, and will hugely repay any efforts you make to attract it.

What do you want from your garden?

Eating alfresco is one of the the pleasures of a garden, so a table and chairs are worth the investment
Perhaps you want to grow an abundance of flowers and veg with all the family – or perhaps you just mainly want something that looks smart from indoors and doesn’t take too much looking after. The beauty of designing a space from scratch is that you can tailor it to suit your needs perfectly. If you enjoy eating outside, ensure there’s at least one set of table and chairs, if not two, so you can be in the sunshine both morning and evening.

Ideas for screening off an area

Ideas for screening off an areaPrivacy can be important too – screening off the neighbours as well as noise from busy roads. There are lots of ways to increase your garden’s privacy including trees, shrubs, fences, hedges and climbers.

  1. What type of garden have you got?
    Different situations can present you with a variety of challenges and opportunities. Have a look at our guides to help you make the most of a range of different types of garden. Whether it’s a small urban garden, mature, or a newly-built space, you can create whatever style you like and put your personal stamp on the space. But certain factors, such as if you have a family, will influence what’s possible. For example, if the children need space to play, it might make sense not to aim for something very neat and contemporary.
  2. What style or styles do you like?

Calming greens blended together make a beautiful, relaxing space away from the bustle of everyday life
How would you like your garden to make you feel? Maybe you’d like a calm green oasis, far from the stresses of the outside world? Or what about a zingy, colourful outdoor space that’s energizing and perfect for parties?
Don’t worry – it’s not a straightjacket! There’s no need to conform to any set style, but having a few ideas of preferred styles or themes can be a useful way of helping focus things you like into actual design ideas.