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.


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.…


What Time Of Year Is Best To Design My Garden?

Designing a garden is a huge and daunting task. But, like moving house, getting married and starting a family, there’s never a good time to start. If you want to design a garden, then you shouldn’t let the season put you off making a start.

Planning your garden can be done at any time of year and in the winter months when all in the garden is dormant, planning your garden can be especially uplifting.

What style of garden to you like?

From experience we know that a good garden design begins with simple ideas. Having a rough idea whether you want a contemporary look or a traditional look (or maybe even simply a funky look) is a good start.

How will you use your garden throughout the year?

We build gardens all year round. There are advantages to designing and building in summer and winter. One of the big advantages to building the garden in winter is if the garden is messy in winter you don’t mind as it wouldn’t be using it much anyway. And in winter we can get bare root trees and shrubs, which can save money on your planting scheme.

I have noticed over the years that the gardens I design and build in spring tend to favour a flamboyant springtime look, though I try not to get carried away and to keep in mind plants that will look good throughout the year.

The best thing to do is view your garden throughout the seasons so you know what you like and dislike about each season. And you can work out how flexible you can be with the time of year for building your garden.

Do you get a lot of sunlight?

I always find it best if clients have lived in their house for at least a year prior to having their garden designed, because they will be familiar with the advantages and constraints of their plot. They will know where the sunny and shady spots are, the direction of the prevailing winds and where there is privacy from neighbours, etc.

Having a good understanding of what the sun does in the garden is fundamental. It can help you place your main seating area or a smaller breakfast area (we find most of our clients like to follow the sun around throughout the day, which means two or even three patio or deck areas).

What will you use your garden for?

This is the overriding consideration, it’s no good having a highly ornate garden with kids and dogs running riot through your herbaceous border. If you have young children then a lawn area is essential (or at least a play area of some sort).

If it’s for entertaining and eating out then a good sized terrace will be useful and I would suggest considering a covered area such as a gazebo or shade-sail.

You can design and build a garden whenever you like, you just need to decide what suits you best in terms of style, timing and budget.

5 plants that will grow fast in your new garden

As you would expect most of our clients want their new gardens to be amazing when we have finished, featuring enormous mature plants on every border (for this I blame that Ground Force programme a few years ago, where Alan Titchmarsh would appear with the most exquisite and expensive specimen sized plants).…