Inside the Mind of a Garden Design

We thought we’d let you in on a few secrets, on how we go about creating a design for a garden, the thought process we use and the reasons why we chose to design a garden in that particular way — so you get inside the mind of a garden design!

We will be honest in saying that this particular design was for a wonderful friend who has just bought a property in north Wales. She was keen to remodel the garden but on a pretty tight budget — and she needed some ideas and a bit of inspiration.

With any of our designs, the starting process is always sending me some photographs…so this is what arrived:


Inside the mind of a garden design - how not ot do green fences
Umm, green fences — really?
Inside the mind of a garden design - hedges and fences everywhere!
& the planting showcases how to make a plant look really odd
Inside the Mind of a Garden Design
and there’s the path to nowhere!

Now, first impressions are important, what you see first and what strikes you first won’t change no matter how many times you look at the picture. In this garden, there were 3 elements that really stood out:

  • The fences (and the colour of the fences)
  • The path leading to the wall
  • & how unnatural everything seemed to look

All this garden seemed to showcase were the boundaries in ‘look at me green’ and the very modern styled patio in ‘look at me red’- as if these were the most important features in the garden. The best part of this garden was hidden behind the fence. At the bottom of this garden is a really pretty stream, but it’s been totally blocked from view by the fencing.

The brief for this garden was to create a pretty but very low maintenance garden without adding in new borders or spending much money…. no pressure there then! So how do we start, well in changing this garden it’s a case of understanding what is wrong and putting that right first. Then we can see what else is needed.

So the first job — those fences. If we removed part of the rear fence it would achieve 2 things, we could see the stream and it would disguise the actual boundary, we could begin to blend the garden into the natural environment — which would make the garden feel bigger. Now a boundary is still needed but a simple post and rail fence is perfectly sufficient, (incidentally, please excuse my poor artwork, Turner; I am most definitely not! — but you get the idea).


However, now with the fence gone, the path to nowhere stands out even more. I really could not understand why the path was actually there — a path has to lead somewhere or it has no purpose. Paths are functional elements in any garden, it should never be made ‘the feature’ of a garden. The best option here would be to lift this path and replace it with more of the stone aggregate oh and also remove the brick pot stands dotted around as well.

Removing the path also makes the garden feel wider too. So now that the unwanted features are gone, we can see what’s needed.

We had to keep part of the fence to hide the oil tank, so the fence panel has been drawn back in, but by taking a drawing of the garden, it is easier to see what ‘bones’ are left and how we can improve the garden. In this case, by having some large pots planted. The pots near the oil tank should help ‘blend away’ the fence and the oil tank, so we don’t want these to be too ‘loud and noticeable’. To do this, the plants used should be similar colours to the landscape behind.

To better hide the ugly parts of the garden, we need to create a better view elsewhere. So a second pot garden will be created near the house. This garden can be really bright and bold, we want it to be noticed, as this will stop us noticing all the fences and other less attractive parts of the garden.


so we’ve got rid of the bad bits, so now we can add good bits.

So good so far…. The last element that needed changing is the raised border. Currently it was planted with a number of green domes of differing sizes, so not terribly attractive or imaginative. Instead we decided to create an Acer plantation using a few different types of Acer.


Gardens should work with the environment surrounding them, especially small gardens, why not ‘borrow’ bits from the wider landscape and merge your garden with the outside -be part of the world not separate ourselves from it!

If you would like a garden designed by us why not drop us a line design@plantplots.com. All these lovely people did — take look at what we created for them