Small Garden Landscape Design: The First Steps

Small garden landscape design is not something just reserved for the professionals. It is not that difficult and can be done by anyone with a little imagination and determination. There are basically three initial steps involved when designing a small garden from scratch or redesigning an existing one. You need to consider a few things before even beginning. This is especially important in a small garden where space has to be used efficiently and planning is key.

xeriscape garden

#1 Determining Your Garden’s Purpose

This is basically the function of your garden aka what it’s going to be used for.  Do you want to be able to sit in it, entertain guests, or just meander through a butterfly garden on the way to your front door. This will play an integral part in your small garden landscape design.

#2 Choose Your Garden Style

Next, it’s time to choose the type or style of the garden you want. This will determine how your garden will look. Some popular garden styles are Japanese, Italian, French, Tropical, Rock, English, Topiary, Zen, Wildflower, Xeriscape, and Water Gardens.

#3 Determine Your Budget

You need to determine your budget – how much you are willing to spend.  This is a very important step, and something you’ll have to keep track of during every phase because costs can build up quickly if you’re not careful.

#4 Getting Inspired

Don’t worry if you’re not sure of one or even all of these things, you still have plenty of time to decide. Now you’re going to need some inspiration for your small garden landscape design. There are several ways you can do this. You can do an internet search of ‘garden style’ images and choose the ones you are most drawn to. You can take pictures of gardens or plants in your area that you like.

Another great way to get ideas is by looking at landscaping/gardening magazines, such as: Garden Design Magazine or Fine Gardening. These landscape design magazines have a ton of pictures and great ideas to help you get started with your small garden landscape design.

Lastly, you can look through landscaping books. There are a great many small garden books to choose from, some tailoring specifically to garden design. The Garden Planner, by Robin Williams, will help from the start to finish of the design process. The Essential Garden Design Workbook teaches you everything you need to know to be able to design your own garden correctly. If you’re looking more for inspiration, then check out; Home Outside: Creating the Landscape You Love. With many great examples, before and after photos and colored plans, you’ll get all the inspiration you need in order to create a beautiful small garden.

#5 Getting Started

To keep track of all your ideas write a list containing the styles, plants and anything else you are drawn to. Create a mood board of sorts by keeping your inspiration (magazine clippings, photos, plant list, etc.) in one place. Maybe in a folder or even pinned to a corkboard, so you can see everything at once and add things you like as you find them.
Once you have all this information you can begin to dream up your small garden. Remember small garden landscape design is a journey…so, let the journey begin.

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