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Garden design mistakes: five common mistakes and how to avoid them

We've been designing gardens for a long time now. We are fortunate to be asked to work for a wide variety of different customers, and in a variety of different gardens. Every garden is different and every customer has different priorities and needs... it's one of the amazing aspects of being a garden designer, and it is a large part of why the job is so much fun.

 

Despite the variation, however, we are constantly contacted by people who have made one or more of the mistakes we frequently see. With this in mind, we thought it would be useful to highlight some of the most common w people make when designing gardens. Avoid these, and we stand a much better chance of creating an attractive and practical garden we’ll really be able to enjoy.

 

Mistake 1: Not planning for the longer term

A good garden will evolve as the plants grow and the hard-landscaping materials ‘weather’. It’s always a good idea to invest in quality materials that can cope with general wear and tear (especially if there are children and pets using the garden), and we need to plan for what our planting will be like 3-5 years from now.

 

Mistake 2: Not complementing the house

It’s great when a garden feels like a ‘natural extension’ to the house but bad design can often lead to it feel disconnected . Let’s ensure that our garden complements our property’s style, architecture and features. Creating wonderful views from key windows and doors is also absolutely essential to provide an effective ‘sense of flow’ between inside and outside.

 

 

Mistake 3: Trying to do too much

Attempting to make our outdoor spaces serve too many functions can be extremely problematic. Not many of us attempt to eat, sleep, work and wash in the same room if we’ve got a choice, and the same applies to our gardens. We need to have a clear sense of purpose and direction for our garden, so let’s try to do things simply and well.

 

 

Mistake 4: Let’s just have one of everything

We really must avoid the temptation of just having one of every plant we like. Too much variety almost always leads to planting which lacks cohesion and feels too busy and cluttered. Instead, let’s reduce the number of varieties and plant in pleasing groups of 3, 5 or 7, with just a few single ‘focal point’ plants.

 

 

Mistake 5: The wrong plants for the space

This sounds almost too obvious, but it is really important to select plants that will enjoy the soil and position we’ve got. Sun-loving plants just won’t cope with areas of deep shade, and rhododendrons will really struggle in alkaline soils. Some plants can be fussy, so let’s choose those that will flourish in the conditions we’ve got. 

 

 

Creating a fabulous garden shouldn’t be complicated, but we need to avoid these common mistakes to give ourselves the best chance of success.