A simple plan of your existing site is a good way to begin designing a new garden. This will form a basis for your subsequent design, and will give you an opportunity to explore your garden and familiarize yourself with its characteristics and details. Apart from shapes and dimensions, you’ll need to record such key factors as the lie of the land and the existence of any permanent features and structures-all which are likely to affect the end result. Examples of other key factors are: climate, enclosures, type of soil, and even the surroundings.

But, you cannot begin to design your garden until you have thought a little about what you want from it. A garden can have many uses, both decorative and practical, and these need to be considered as you’re planting your garden. Decide what you would like to have and draw up a list of priorities. Larger features may have to be excluded if the site is small, but you may find that a single area can be made to serve several different purposes. With ingenuity you can probably make space for most of the things you want. Having made your list, try allocating space for the various items on copies of your plan. You can make sketches; or cut out pieces of paper to represent features, and arrange them in different ways as your ideas progress.