Now is the Perfect Time to Start Planning Your Garden for those Balmy Summer Days.
Although winter may be the time you are in the garden the least, it is the ideal season to develop your designs and get work underway to reap the benefits come summer, says our Director of Landscapes, Mark Latchford.
Starting a garden or landscape design project in the late and early months of the year ensures there is enough time to develop the design, gain any statutory permissions that might be needed, source and select the materials and plants, appoint the right team to help deliver the vision, and crucially, allow enough time for any construction to take place and the planting to become established – ready to enjoy come the summer.
The challenge is only starting to think about the garden at the beginning of summer, by which time it is most likely too late to get it ready for the warmer months. Starting in autumn and winter gives the time to avoid such disappointment!
Here Mark shares his advice on what to consider and the typical stages of a garden project so as to realise beautiful outdoor spaces.
1. Allow Time for the Design Stage.
Before any landscaping work can begin, you need to decide on the design of your spaces. This is the exciting, creative first stages of the project, and it’s worth taking the time to get it right. It’s about deciding what you want and translating your vision and aspirations into a garden layout, establishing zones, planting plans, schedules and furniture layouts. These should all reflect your personal taste, the architecture of your property and considering the local environment too – bringing them together in a unity of balance, sequence, texture and colour.
Working with a landscape designer, this stage usually involves creating initial sketches and mood boards to capture ideas, which are then refined through 3D models so you can visualise the spaces and make any alterations before any construction or planting starts.
Take a look at our Landscapes Pinterest Board for inspiration to start your garden design project.
2. The Practical Finer Details.
Whilst you plan your garden design project, take time to work through considerations. Such as the best situation for an outside kitchen or firepit area, the sun’s path throughout the day, as well as the more practical elements such as storage and logistical aspects like where to place (and screen) bins, washing areas, any children’s play areas and what kind of electrics and technology you will want throughout your garden. These aspects all need to be worked through in the design stages.
3. The Budget.
One of the most important, and often overlooked, elements of any project is establishing a budget at the earliest stage. Designing a garden with a budget in mind will ensure that your funds are spent in the right areas, and ultimately that your dream garden is achievable. Our team of garden designers aim to give budget costings from the earliest concept designs allowing you to ‘right size’ the design to suit your budget. We then continue to refine and track the costs throughout the design stages to avoid disappointment when quotes are collected at the end. It is surprising how often this does not happen.
4. Sourcing and Scheduling in Advance.
As the design is set, procurement becomes a key factor in the design calendar.
You need to allow plenty of time for ordering plants and materials as there can be long lead times (and then plan where they will be stored until ready to be planted). At HollandGreen, while we always look to source from local and British suppliers, there may be certain trees and shrubs that come from Europe or further afield, depending on the scheme. Outdoor furniture is also best sourced early in the year in case of long lead times before the summer.
Many spring bulbs and rootball plants can be more cost effective when sourced during the winter months, as well as offering a much wider selection of varieties to choose from.
5. Hard Landscaping and the Build.
Now the construction work on the garden can begin, it all starts to become very real and exciting. As the hard landscaping and construction stages get going, so do the diggers meaning lots of hard graft and, inevitably, lots of mud! Obviously it takes time to lay out and put in paths, water features, drainage systems, patios and pools, and it’s much better to get these down in the winter and early spring.
If your landscape designer is overseeing the build, they will project manage the logistics, timelines, and scheduling with the myriad of different contractors and suppliers.
6. Planting Schemes for Summer and Beyond.
Finally, it’s time to commence the planting which is when the garden really starts to come alive. Your new planting will frame the surrounding context of the hard landscaping and come summer, provide colour, atmosphere, movement and interest.
Completing the planting of trees and hedges before the summer gives them plenty of time to settle and establish with minimal stress before the weather heats up.
Selecting plants that bring out the best in each other throughout the changing seasons while also supporting biodiversity and complimenting your home should be the objective. This will have been considered and worked through with you during the design stages, so now it’s simply a question of careful planting to allow them to establish, giving each variety the right space, light and nutrients they require to ensure their long life and health of your garden.
Your garden design project has come to life. Now, finally, you will be able to sit back with your Pimms and enjoy your amazing new garden through the balmy summer days and evenings……
Whether you’re looking to transform your outdoor space or design an imaginative new build home or extension that links seamlessly to the surrounding grounds, we can work with you to create a space that is unique to your property and lifestyle.
As a Studio of architects, interior designers & landscape designers, we bring award-winning projects to life while taking a seamless and holistic approach to each design.