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Planning A Garden Is Easy... once you know a few steps

Planning a garden can seem like a pretty daunting task but with some basic design guidelines, you can learn how to plan a beautiful, functional garden that will truly enhance your home.

I know, I hear it from clients all the time, "My home just doesn't look inviting from the front" or "I want a backyard that I want to spend time in, I just don't know how to do it".

I will teach you some basic garden design principles that will help you understand how to make that space you presently hate into your favorite place to spend your time. Planning a garden that you truly enjoy doesn't have to be complicated.

Front Garden Design

There are many outdoor spaces around your home, and each has it's own different set of guidelines. A Front Garden design has to showcase your home and be compatible with the architecture. It has to be designed to be seen from the street with the home's exterior as the backdrop.

This is where you extend a welcome to visitors and friends to your home. There are many considerations when planning your front yard.

This is where you will want to put your best foot forward and make a great first impression. Things like steps, walkways, trees, shrubs, flowers, lawns and landscape lighting will need to be thought about.

Many times, if you live in an HOA, this is the garden that has to adhere to many rules to be accepted before proceeding with construction.

If you have a courtyard in your front garden, it plays an important role in welcoming your guests to your home. You want to make a great first impression.

This is one of my favorite gardens to design. You can have a lot of fun with designing a courtyard garden. This can be the place where you enjoy your morning coffee with your significant other or just spend time enjoying the company of neighbors.

Click here for our Raised Bed Front Yard Plan.

Make sure you keep checking back for our courtyard garden and more Front Yard Garden designs.

Children's Garden & Play Yard Ideas

If you have young children, you may decide to design a Children's Garden made especially for kids to explore the wonders of nature.

This can take the shape of a discovery garden which can incorporate certain plants that have unique textures, smells, or other interesting characteristics for children to discover.

Of course we can't leave out a vegetable garden to teach kids the excitement of growing your own food. Elements of all of these ideas can be included in

in the same space. This type of garden can have a lasting impact on how your children view gardening and the great outdoors.

It's also a great way to share discoveries with your children and help them learn about the plant and insect world.

Or, you may decide you just want a Play Yard for the kids to run around in and play games and just have fun. These yards don't have to look like the area you don't want your friends to see.

They can be designed to look great and be functional. Check back to see our plans for this one.

Shade Gardens, Small Space Gardens & Raised Beds

When planning a garden, every home seems to have their challenging areas also. Whether it is a shady area where nothing seems to grow, or maybe you can't seem to find any plant that will give you color in the shade.

Or it may be either a wet shade garden or a dry shade garden, we have solutions for you.There are actually many plants that will grow in these problem areas and look great!

It's just a matter of planning the right plant for the right space. A little know-how can go a long way for these areas.

If you have a small garden, these can be the most fun to design. Again, if you follow some simple rules, this can be a beautiful garden that extends your usable living space.

I happen to prefer small space gardens as I like the intimacy that they afford. Well designed, these areas can be the most inviting gardens and the ones your guests will want to stay in and not want to leave.


Raised beds are one way to tackle a small space garden or problem soil head-on. You can control the soil that goes into the raised beds putting you in charge of the soil conditions and the moisture levels in that soil.

You can also make gardening easier with raised beds if you have difficulty stooping over, with the plants at more of a comfortable level, it makes gardening more enjoyable.

Check out our Raised Garden Beds Plan for a small backyard i designed for entertaining as well as relaxing in. The plant palette is very tropical and it makes for a space that is easy to maintain and one you will want to spend a lot of time in.

Patios, Outdoor Rooms & Balcony Gardens

Patios are in integral piece of enjoying the great outdoors from our homes.Time spent planning the patio will be time well spent so that we are sure to include all of our needs and wants so this ends up being an area that is well utilized by friends and family.

Patios are the key element in our backyards, at least in most, so really thinking out how we will use the space will help in planning.

Remember the rule, form follows function, meaning, make sure the design allows for the best use of the space for whatever activity we plan to use it for.

If you like to entertain 75-100 people at a time or only 6-8, this obviously will make a huge difference in the size of your patio.


We will address those and other things you should consider when planning your patio in our Patio Design, watch for it.

The term 'Outdoor Room' has been around for a long time, but has recently become more popular. It is a concept of design for an outdoor space that can be used as an extension of the house.

It includes walls, floor, and ceilings. The difference is these elements are made of natural materials like plants, structures or other natural materials.

Walls can consist of shrubs, wood or concrete. Ceilings could be made of a pergola, covers or trees and the floors of grass, concrete ground covers or mulch.

Inside the room are placed usually a table and chairs, benches, lounges and tables to create a space that truly serves as an extension of the house.


We have created a plan for an Outdoor Living Room that I think you will like. Its in a small backyard, but packs a lot of detail and ends up being a very intimate area that encourages conversation, long, meaningful evenings with friends and curling up with a good book. Take a look and see what you think.

Balcony Gardens are an interesting lot, usually it conjures up visions of rooftops in New York with sweeping views of the skyline and a cocktail party with 50 beautiful people having a wonderful time.

Okay, back to earth! This could be your dream Rooftop Garden and I will help you to create that space if that is what you desire.

Check back for our Rooftop Garden Plan, I plan on creating a wonderful space that is great for entertaining, gardening and just spending time.

As usual, I will also educate you and offer some tips in case you want to design your own space. With some help, you can have a space to be proud of.

A Couple Last Thoughts Before You Start Planning a Garden...

So please check out the ideas we have here for you. You will find a lot of ideas for planning a garden yourself. You might also want to check out the various garden styles we cover on the menu on this page for more ideas.

After you decide on how you are going to design your garden, make sure you check out the climate zones map which will help you figure out what plants will do well in your particular climate.

Your local nursery will most likely only carry plants that do well in your area, but if you like to order online or through plant catalogs, you will definitely need this information.

If, after reading about planning a garden you decide that you still don't feel up to the task, don't fret, we have professionally designed garden plans for you to download or Garden Design Plan Packages you can order.

Just check out the options on the left, find a style you like, and presto! you have a design already done for you. You can then tweak the designs to fit your particular space. This approach may be a little less daunting to you.

So go ahead, look around, have fun, and hopefully you will learn a little in the process!

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