Landscape and garden design are umbrella terms for a variety of disciplines that focus on the practical, aesthetic and horticultural aspects of an outdoor area of land, generally attached to a property. Whilst having shared purposes, the two activities can be defined separately – landscaping focuses on the relationship of the garden with its surroundings, the integration of nature with man-made elements such as pathways or the home architecture itself, and the practical side of garden maintenance and upkeep. Garden design is traditionally concerned with the choice and distribution of various plants, flowers and shrubbery around the lawn area, but depending on the desired garden, can involve the planning and design of water features, patios, decking and garden boundaries. When landscape or garden planning, there are key elements to be considered in each case:
Practical considerations such as climate, topography, soil and irrigation, planning permission and construction. View the landscape in terms of things that need to be retained, modified or replaced – with attention given to how original natural features can act as ‘borrowed scenery’ for a garden. The overall ‘genius loci’ – this term refers to the ambience or atmosphere of the garden area.
What will the garden space be used for – i.e. raising vegetation, sports, relaxation.
If you are growing plants or vegetables, they need to have a cohesive growth cycle and bloom-time, to enhance the aesthetic or practical function of the garden.
What man-made elements need to be introduced? This can cover water features, raised flower beds, greenhouses, decking, paved or gravel pathways.
Planning your Garden
Starting at the front of the property, it is important to remember that your front lawn provides the first impression of a property to any visitor. While a back garden is more secluded and normally has a number of utilitarian functions (clotheslines or tool sheds, for example), the front garden connects your home to the wider surroundings, and provides a platform for aesthetic display through flower and shrubbery arrangement. Decisions must also be made about human access from the street – will you need driveways or pathways? Do areas need to be covered by gravel, paved slabs, or tarmac?