GUIDE TO THE DESIGN OF GARDEN

GUIDE TO THE DESIGN OF GARDEN

1.- ANALYZE THE SPACE TO BE DESIGNED AND THE SURROUNDINGS  

Take careful note of the geometry of the site, the topography or unevenness, as well as all those existing elements that may condition your design, such as underground installation pipes or foundations of adjoining walls. If there are trees or bushes that are going to be maintained, it will be necessary to catalog them and know their exact location, to incorporate them into the plan that we make in their corresponding place. Do not forget to measure approximately the diameter to avoid interference with the new elements that you incorporate with your design. This step is very important, since an effective design can be obtained from good data collection, avoiding unforeseen events at the time of execution. Take as many measurements as possible, such as the length of each side of the plot, height of fences, width of paths, separation between buildings... You will see that all the measurements you take will be few and that when you start drawing your design you will miss some, so it is better to spend a little more time collecting data than having to measure again. Ah!, never forget to note where the North is, it will be essential when making the design. To carry out the field work you can do it in a traditional way, measuring with the help of a tape measure, a meter stick and a laser pointer (not very efficient in sunny areas), but I recommend that you do it with the tool that I use and that, aside from accurate, it will save you a lot of time. To give you an idea, in the past it took about 3 hours to take all the measurements of a plot of about 2,000 m² using traditional tools and now, that same field work takes me about 15 minutes with the measuring device. The device measures the points that we select, calculates areas, distances and even height levels. Besides, if you want to carry out a correct field work, you must know how to make a good sketch. If you need further information, you can consult this other article in which I describe how to do them step by step: But you should not only take notes of your garden. It is important to contemplate the environment that surrounds it, since we will find situations of all kinds in the neighboring properties that will condition the design. See if there are beautiful views that you can take advantage of, it is not about raising large hedges on all the perimeters of your plot. Sometimes we can take advantage of the views of other nearby gardens or forests that will create a continuation effect of the green areas, multiplying the visual possibilities of our design. It is a way to "appropriate" views that are worthwhile. On the contrary, there will be times when it is necessary to cover unwanted views, such as a neighbor's water tank, a view from a window of the house next door... Sometimes it is interesting to repeat solutions that the neighbor has already done, creating an effect of continuity. For example, if you use the same plant variety that already exists in the adjoining house in the area where you want to place a hedge, the result will be more homogeneous. I take this opportunity to comment that today many designs precisely avoid the indiscriminate use of high hedges to separate the views from the neighbours. If you make a nice design on your property, surrounding it with white walls will make the entire garden space stand out much more. The use of hedges in all the perimeters dilutes the design effect of the rest of the plantations. In addition, hedges usually require a lot of maintenance work, so if you reduce their use, you will be contributing to having a more sustainable garden. 

2.- ORGANIZE THE SPACE BY USES, ROOMS AND AREAS OF INTEREST 

It's time to start the design. The dreaded blank paper will make us paralyzed if we do not have enough fluency in the matter. Peace of mind, it's all a matter of dedication and implementing one of the most important design guidelines: Organizing the space. Let's forget about the plant varieties for now, let's focus first on configuring the different areas that we are going to need. Think about the use you are going to give to that garden. Are there children in the house? Do you have pets? Do you like to have a reading space in the shade? Is there a swimming pool or is it planned? Are you going to want to have a vegetable garden? Do you want to have special views of the garden from specific points inside the house? ... All these and many more will be the questions you should ask yourself and that will give you the keys to organizing the exteriors. Start from less to more, that is, forget about the specific details for now, just think about configuring areas. Make a first tentative sketch, defining where the lawn will go, which will be the wooded area where you will place a swing, which will be the ideal sunniest area to make some massifs of aromatic plants, which will be the place to locate a landscaped pergola for create a gazebo, or to store the car ... It is very important to spend time configuring these areas, as it is what will make your outdoor spaces "work" and meet the expectations you have set for yourself. It is necessary that these lace sketches begin to be made to scale, so that we have absolute control over the proportions that we are configuring. Do you know how to use the scales? If not, don't worry, check out this post where I explain how to do it very simply: When we make a final fitting sketch, we can start a cleaner plan by transferring the pre-design that we have configured to continue working on it. Nowadays, the plans are made with computer programs, but you can make the plans of your garden by hand perfectly. However, even if the plans are made with computer programs, it is essential to start drawing by hand, as it is a more creative and less rigid way of giving free rein to the imagination. 

3.- DEFINE THE TRANSITION ROUTES AND SPACES 

Just as important as defining the areas well is drawing coherent routes and transition spaces. Remember that for a garden to "work" it must be easy to use and, for this, the paths that connect areas must be operational. Regarding this issue, we can be given as many cases as designs we undertake, but we could say as a general rule that we avoid having to go around to get from one place to another and that we equip the routes with steps, walkways or auxiliary paths when necessary. . Sometimes it is interesting that the routes themselves that communicate zones are configured in such a way that from the starting point the next area where we are going does not go completely. This does not mean that the paths take detours, but that we know how to place strategic elements that only allow us to glimpse where we are going, to create a feeling of discovery at each step we take through the garden. Place strategic bushes that prevent you from seeing a fountain at first, which you will be able to hear and will invite you to walk the path. Conceal the access to the garden with a landscaped wall, creating a previous room as a landscaped hall... in short, play with the senses so that your garden invites you to explore it, ensuring that from the entrance you do not have an all-encompassing view

4.- DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT TO SEE AND WHAT YOU WANT TO HIDE 

I already anticipated it at the beginning of this post. There will be views that we have to hide and others that must be exploited. Think of solutions that are not just hedges; there are more things. Half-height wooden walls, compositions of bushes with sufficient density and height to hide something, constructions such as a Chill-out, which can be a meeting place but, in addition, will hide behind the barbecue or the irrigation facilities... It is very useful to have a place in the garden to store outdoor furniture in winter, without having to take up space inside the house. Take advantage of those Chill-out backs, for example, to create a closet in the garden. It will also help you to organize the tools and gardening supplies. 

5.- DESIGN AND DEFINE THE CONSTRUCTION ELEMENTS OF THE GARDEN 

It is important to define the details when we already begin to advance the design. Obviously, for an amateur who is facing his first design, it will be difficult to face this point, since a more professional level is needed for it. But try it and, as far as possible, make details of encounters, constructive solutions and auctions. The greater definition, the less unforeseen during assembly. For example, if you are going to build new brick or stone planters attached to an existing wall, provide steel connectors to prevent cracks. 

6.- CONFIGURE A GOOD DRAINAGE SYSTEM FOR WATER COLLECTION 

Collecting water, both rainwater and surplus irrigation, is an obligation in a well-designed garden. You must design a good drainage system if you do not want to have flooded areas and dead plants due to excess water. 

7.- CHOOSE THE PLANT SPECIES AND TAKE INTO ACCOUNT DIFFERENT CRITERIA 

It's time to choose the plants for the garden. By the way, until point 7 we haven't talked about them? Well, no. Contrary to what many people think, the selection of plants is not the first thing we should do in a garden. Look at how many concepts we've covered before getting here. It happens very often to me that when I visit a client for the first time, they ask me over and over again what variety of plant I would put here or there while we walk through the garden that needs to be remodeled. I always try to convey that this is something that I cannot know on the first visit, since it depends on many previous solutions and configurations that I must analyze and decide on. Landscaping is not gardening, gardening is a part of landscaping. The fact is that the time has come to decide plants. How do we approach this phase? The first thing we must do is decide on the type of landscaping we want to use. Will it be low-maintenance Mediterranean gardening? A Japanese garden? Tropical? Depending on the typology we will think of one or another species, but there will be many more conditioning factors... Study the paths of the sun, to know the areas that will be sunny, shaded or semi-shaded. This will already give you clues of the plants to locate in each place. Try not to put hydrophilic and xerophilic plants together, that is, those that want a lot of water and those that require very little. Group by water needs, otherwise something will be failing and some specimens will end up dying. Take into account the speed of growth and the final diameter that each variety will reach, so that over time they do not interfere with each other. 

8.- DEFINE IRRIGATION SYSTEMS 

An irrigation system is somewhat more complex to carry out if you do not have knowledge in the matter. Perhaps for this part of the design you need to have a specialist, but if you dare with it, at least do not forget these simple guidelines: 1.- Make different sectors and control them with an irrigation control unit so that they don't all jump at the same time. This way you will avoid running out of flow or pressure and that the irrigation does not work correctly. 2.- Try to use drip pipes with self-compensating drippers or, if not, make closed circuits (circular) so that there is the same pressure throughout the pipe. 3.- Trace well on the map the sweeps of the sprinklers or diffusers of the sprinkler irrigation, so that no corner is left without watering. 4.- Carry out a pressure and water flow test before designing the irrigation system, to find out if it is necessary to increase the pressure (installing a pump) or if not, install a pressure reducer, know the general operation of pipes distribution, sprinklers and drippers ... 

9.- SELECT APPROPRIATE FURNITURE AND OUTDOOR DECORATION 

Look at many examples, have fun searching for decoration on the Internet, there are thousands of beautiful accessories for the garden. Think that the balance is in designing with plants and furniture at the same time. The armchairs, designer flowerpots, puffs or other elements are as important as the plants I try to play with the solids and voids of the area in such a way that many floors intersect in the visual but actually between them there are paved areas, paths, gravel or, simply, furnished rooms. It is the way to make more sustainable designs with less maintenance. Think about it, perhaps furnishing an area has a higher initial cost, but we are reducing maintenance costs, so we will end up amortizing the investment. Sometimes the best decoration is made with natural elements, like this composition of an olive tree with slate monoliths. 

10.- CONVENIENTLY LIGHTS EACH AREA 

We cannot think of a good garden if it is not properly lit in the late afternoon/night. Proper lighting will facilitate night use and will transform the garden into a space full of theatricality. It combines the lighting of routes with that of rooms. In addition, it strategically places adjustable floor projectors illuminating the treetops; You will see how the result is spectacular. Of course, just choose the occasional tree, in a corner, at a passing point... don't overload the environment and make the chosen ones become true protagonists. Use LED technology and try to use warm light. Unlike inside the house, where white light is used, in gardening the use of yellow light is more welcoming. In the living areas, choose a furnished corner to place a decorative design lamp for exteriors.

Reading next

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