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Garden View Designer Gardens

It is estimated that just 3% of the UK population employ a profes- sional garden designer, with most people opting to design their own outdoor space, or adapt one they may have inherited.

The first decision to make when starting a plan is whether to make it look 'designed' or not. By this I mean do you like a structured garden with big sweeping curves and strong lines, formality and symmetry, or do you prefer a more informal space that looks like it ‘just hap- pened’, almost by mistake, (these are much harder to achieve as you are often trying to recreate something nature does best).

There was an industry debate recently which ex- plored the idea of modern gardens being 'over de- signed'. Just like in clothing fashion, there's a re- vival of a certain era every so often, and it’s the same with design outdoors. Once up on a time, formal terraces were all the rage with pretty- coloured bedding schemes and clipped hedging. Then, decades later, these were dug up and re- placed with sweeping natural 'landscapes' , where trees and lakes were carefully located to make them appear as though they had always been there. Which is right? Well, neither, it's personal taste and as long as it fits with the house style and surround- ing landscape, I think you should do what makes you happy. After all, that's what gardens are for, to be enjoyed.

Once you've decided on a style, take some meas- urements of the boundaries, starting with the house. Use circles, curves, squares and rectangles to make some nice shapes on the plan, then choose a material to fill them in with. Usually the largest space will be the lawn, then patio or deck, and pathways,

then fill the gaps with plants. Next

month is the perfect time to plant, so we'll be look- ing at planting plans in detail then.

To advertise call Monica on 07979 808991 39 Or email

In 2008/2009, laws were intro- duced regarding things like changing levels in your garden, such as only being allowed to raise decking by 30cm above ground level, any higher would require a protective rail or balus- trade; and also the consideration of sustainable ways to manage water, and where possible retain- ing it within the garden. So, before planning any major works to your garden, check with your local planning department that you don't need permission

Happy gardening, Lee

Garden-Design Tips

Keep things simple. Don't over complicate the basic design layout

Use pergolas to add height and shade

Consider hedges instead of fencing to add structure

Make space for at least one small tree

Consider the maintenance of the new garden - decking and gravel are cheap, but require more maintenance in the long term

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