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Southern Inspirations Garden Design

A family-run business since 1997

Southern Inspirations
Step-by-Step Garden Design from Start to Finish
Successful garden design is achieved through correct design principles. Design your garden under our guidance, and have a professionally landscaped garden. Our step by step garden design approach, makes the design and landscaping process simple, yet complete. We follow these same design principles in our award winning show gardens. Follow these principles to transform your garden into a masterpiece. Attention to detail is the secret of a award-winning gardens!

The information provided on easy-garden-design will enable you to assess your garden design and landscaping needs. Our step-by-step approach gives you the freedom to make an informed decision. After browsing the information, you will be able to answer these important questions:

  • Does my garden need some work?
  • Do I need a completely new landscape?
  • Which steps of the process can I do myself?
  • What will I need to get professionals to do?
  • What are the important things to look out for?
  • What can I expect from professional garden designs?


We will give you nearly all the information you need as a do-it-yourself enthusiast, if you decide to go the DIY route.

Step 1: Basic Design Principles

Be mindful the basic principles of design throughout the whole garden design process. Try to obtain a good feel for the principles and how to implement them. See if you can identify them in existing professional gardens. This will help you see the endless possibilities that exist for you own garden.

Optical illusion is used to alter the perceived appearance of a garden. Balance is achieved by one part or area of the composition having an equivalent weight to another part. Create unity in your landscape by repeating patterns and plant materials.

Keep the scale of the garden design in proportion to the size of the garden. Different forms are used to create different effects in a garden. Texture is used to change emphases on certain aspects of the garden.

Color is used to manipulate moods to create an interesting and visually pleasing garden. Contrast adds character and can come in the form of colour, texture or form. For more details of these principles review our Principles of Design page. Use the basic design principles if you are creating a design yourself. Try and incorporate each of these design principles into your design. If a certain principle is not in your design, know why you are not using it.

Evaluate the final garden design presented to you by a professional garden designer. Look at the details and see if all the principles were applied correctly. Analyse the final plan before you install your garden. Mistakes generally cost much more to fix later on in the landscaping process.

Step 2: Site Analysis

Measure your garden and make a detailed drawing of your garden. Make sure the plan you draw is to scale. Include all the features of your house inlcuding all buildings, patios, decks, garden paths etc. Include the routing of municipal and other services, i.e. sewerage, water supply, drainage and electrical cables.

Evaluate your existing garden against the basic design principles. Make notes of both the good and the bad features. Look at the views and include notes about parts of the neighbor’s gardens, which can be seen from your garden.

Complete a soil analysis. Go to Garden Soil Preparation for information on evaluating and preparing your soil.

List all the features you want in your new garden. What would you like to retain? What will or may the garden be used for? Make sure you have a clear picture in your mind of the expectations you will have of your new garden. Go to the Site Survey page for more information.

If you decide to use a professional garden designer, they will require you to fill out a detailed client questionnaire.

Step 3: Garden Style Selection

Determine which garden style you prefer. Many excellent ideas are contained on our Landscaping Ideas page. Follow the steps as outlined on that page, and you will be assisted into selecting a suitable style.

Make sure that the style and theme of the design will match with your house architecture and surrounding views. Also look at our sample Garden Plans. These were designed for specific sites, but can be customized to suit your garden layout.

Step 4: Choose your Hard Landscaping Items

Choose the features that you would like to have in the garden. Review your site survey. Are you going to have a pathway, gazebo, lawn, water feature etc. Make sure the selected features fit in with your style and theme.

The hard landscaping must be complementary of the architecture of your home. It must also lend itself to functional living and enjoyment of the garden. Choose items that will serve as good focal points to draw the attention of visitors. Hard landscaping is difficult to hide away, so make sure that it contributes to your garden design.

Step 5: Plant Selection

Look again at our sample Garden Plans. Each plan contains a list of plants that are compatible with the specific style. Use these plants as the backbone of your design. Also select a few other plants to emphasise your theme.

Plants are seasonal, so make sure that the plants you select will result in a pleasing effect all year round. Your final plant selection must be compatible with your climate. You can’t grow tropical plants in snow!

Gather information about each plant to help you in your garden design. The following aspects of each plant are important: fully grown height and spread, requirements for sun, shade, water, nutrients, shelter and soil type.

Lastly with regard to plant selection: choose plant and flower colors that will link the inside of your house to the garden.

Step 6: Design the Garden

This is the creative part. Sometimes ideas and creativity are scarce. It can become very frustrating! View some hints and ideas for creative thinking.

Various drawings or concept plans are drawn during the design phase. The final design is also a drawing. Each designer has their own drawing style. A quick review of Garden Drawing techniques will help you to draw up a good garden design.

Draw an outline of your garden to scale. Also draw hard landscaped items such as gazebos and fountains to scale on a separate piece of paper. Now cut these items out and place them on the drawing. Move them around until everything is in harmony with the design principles.

Ensure that there is enough open space and that the position of the hard landscaped features complies with the basic garden design principles. Once they are fixed and installed, they are not easily moved!

Make a few concept plans. Select the best concept drawing and continue with it.

Transfer the final positions of the hard landscaped items to your drawing. Draw in your open spaces and flower beds. Add the structural plants being sure that you use their fully grown dimensions. Structural plants refer to the trees and shrubs.

Last of all draw in the other plants to finish the complete design. Remember that the basic garden design principles need to be constantly reviewed and your plan checked against them.

Step 7: Conclusion

You can create a garden design using these principles. For more guidance and ideas view DIY Landscaping. You could also employ a professional designer to install your garden.
Professional Garden PlansA professional garden plan solution tailored to your needs and pocket. Southern Inspirations' Professional Garden Designs are available in a variety of styles. Because the designs are pre-packaged, they are available at a fraction of the cost of a Professional Design Service.
Garden PlansWe have landscaped and adapted some of our show gardens. Our clients love their designed gardens. Copy and adapt our free garden plans to suit your garden.
Design a Garden for FreeEveryone does has some creativity. So just say it: ‘I’m going to design my garden!’ With all the info on this Garden Design website, you do have everything you will need to design your own garden and do the landscaping.
Garden Landscaping DesignTimes have never been so exciting for garden landscaping design. There is an explosion of knowledge in every area. With world progressing so quickly, there has been such a vast expansion of technology.



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