How to Plan Your Garden?

There's nothing better than a backyard bbq, a swim in the pool or to read a good book in the privacy of your own garden. For some people gardening is a hobby, and the job of creating and maintaining a garden is in itself a very enjoyable and relaxing pastime. For others, gardening can be a chore. Here the garden should be designed for low maintenance. No matter what they might think about "working in the garden", most Australians seem to like making full use of their backyard.

Often the garden has to be developed in stages because:
a/ The money isn't available to do it all at once.
b/ Other work must be done first (ie. A sewerage main is to be laid, a shed erected, or a building extended).

Undeveloped, or underdeveloped parts of the garden might be screened with fast growing plants or a temporary fence until they are able to be attended to. Areas designated for paving, garden beds or water gardens might be grassed to provide a reasonable appearance until the time is right to finish the development.

As with anything it is always a good idea to start with a plan. List out everything you want to include in the garden eventually and arrange these things in order from your highest priority to your lowest. (NB: The low priority item might be low because it's expensive, not necessarily because you want it any less).

Your "prioritized" list might be something like this:
1. Washing line
2. BBQ
3. Lawn or mulch to keep the mud and dust down
4. Fences on boundaries
5. Trees for shade
6. Shrubs to screen the neighbours houses
7. Plants to provide cut flowers inside
8. A garden setting for eating outside
9. Paved pathways for access in wet weather
10. A paved patio area
11. A vegetable garden
12. A garden shed
13. An ornamental pond
14. A swimming pool

A well planned garden will eventually accommodate everything on your list, but may very well consider the garden's development as an evolutionary process over many years; and at any stage of that evolutionary process the garden should still be aesthetically pleasing and functional.

Landscape planning is both an art and a science. It's a process which needs to consider the physical requirements of building a garden, and at the same time strive to create something which is artistic and pleasing to the eye.

Planning your garden can be a lot of fun, and remember it's a lot cheaper to make your mistakes on paper!

Follow this step by step process and you can't go too wrong:

1. Draw a sketch of your property (preferably to scale) as it is now. A builders plan is often good to work
off (all you have to do is trace over it).
2. Make up a list of things you want to put in the garden (eg. washing line, shed, bbq, lawn area, veggie
garden, children's swing etc).
3. Draw in pencil where you think the best place would be to put each of these things.
4. Now stand back and think for a week or so. If you like, ask friends or relatives what they think about
where you plan to put things. Use a bit of common sense and consider whether each of these things
is located in the best place (Refer to the list "What Goes Where")
5. Rearrange the location of these different components, and settle on final locations.
6. Fill in the gaps, placing lawn, shrubs, paving, mulch, gravel, etc. between the various components.

What Goes Where?
*The bbq, outdoor setting and patio should be together, and close to the kitchen, if possible.
*The rubbish bins, compost heap and burner should be away from the house and any outdoor living
*The washing line is better hidden from outdoor entertaining areas, but in mild to cold climates it must
be in a sunny spot.
*Areas where children play should be away from things you don't want damaged (eg. prize roses or the
veggie garden).
*Areas which are walked over a lot should be well drained and surfaced with gravel, mulch or paving
(grass will become damaged and high use areas may become slippery when wet).




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