Here are a few points to think about to start you off:

1 – Should I design my own garden or get in a professional ?

I thinks a lot depends on how good a designer you are. It’s true to say that if you have design flair then you might be able to cope with the general layout of the different areas of the garden, and then apply simple logic to the choice of paving and other hardscape materials…. letting your love of plants guide you through the bewildering choice available at garden centres. But if that all seems a bit daunting then getting a professional in can open up a world of possibilities.

Mediterranean Garden Chester 3
2 – What Style of Garden do I want?

a) Contemporary?

b) Traditional (e.g. a  cottage garden)?

c) Funky (fun, and a bit whacky)?

d) Naturalistic …mainly about planting, with a formal feel?

e) Naturalistic …mainly about planting with a wild feel?

It’s true to say that many garden do offer a mix of different styles (e.g. mainly contemporary with a wild garden areas). I think it is better to keep things simple and not mix and match too much. The exemption to this rule might be a garden featuring a lot of planting…since planting is a great harmoniser is easy to get most plants to fit into most situations.

Liverpool garden design after 8 years


3 – Locating Different Elements in the Garden

Much of this is down to pure logic and practicality, for example : put the main seating area in the sunniest part of the garden, but equally don’t be misled into putting the main seating area always adjacent to the house (if it is facing North and then complain that it will never be warm enough to sit out!)

One thing in a garden is to feel private and not overlooked. This means screening off your neighbour without causing them to be inconvenienced. I have one client who feels that there’s no point having a garden if you can’t wander out on a Sunday morning in your pyjamas! Do remember, though, that if you choose to use the dreaded Leylandii, a) It means regular cutting back, and b) If it grows too big and your neighbour feels you are shading their garden too much they can request you trim it down. A refusal could lead to an enforcement order from your local authority!

Contemporary lighting in Bolton garden design


4 – Keep Your Garden Design Simple

Being over complicated never ends up with a satisfying scheme. This way forward can also be expensive with a likelihood that you will be wanting to change things within a few years, complaint about things being ‘too busy’.

In a medium sized garden, perhaps start with the idea of one or two seating areas, and locate where you might like the lawn to be.(If there is to be a lawn). Then work out where the planting areas are to be, as well as any other features such as raised planters, water features, hot tub, fire pit, and any kid’s play area.

Too many features can lead to a scheme not being very restful (unless you are blessed with a very big garden). Some of our most successful garden schemes have just one or two focal points and lots of gorgeous planting and, of course dramatic garden lighting.



Whichever way you go, keep a clear head, and a strong direction and you will achieve the garden of your dreams. Its also good to remember that gardens evolve over time. This is not just because the trees and shrubs grow B I G , but because you yourself may implement change after change, year after year as the garden develops.


They’re magnificent, regal, breathtaking and impressive on a grand scale. Large country estates have dominated Britain’s landscape for hundreds of years – but their huge size and diverse range of micro- environments can make them challenging and complex to maintain. Country schemes need an expert approach – especially if there are specific objectives in mind regarding cost and appearance.…



Timber sleepers have emerged in recent years as popular decorative additions in a wide range of garden design schemes. A far cry from their once industrial, smog-ridden past, now these versatile, visually appealing slabs of resilient wood can be incorporated into gardens and outdoor spaces of various sizes and natures to add a raw yet human element which marries perfectly with greenery and other garden staples.…



As a contemporary garden designer, I’m constantly looking for new ways to add beauty and elegance to the garden. I try to focus on planting schemes that I know will enrich the visual feast of my garden, and the plants I consistently turn to for guaranteed colour and impact at this time of year are annuals. Like many gardeners I have my own personal favourites. I always choose these same 4 or 5 plants every year. Why? That’s simple. It’s because I know not only are these plants beautiful; they also never let me down.…



Focal Points in this Small Liverpool Garden

The purpose of creating focal points within a garden is to both draw and direct the eye. Without specific points of interest, the eye tends to wander without any real idea as to where to land. Flow is important, but must nonetheless be balanced with focus in order to create exterior living spaces of real magnificence.…