Redesigning your garden: 7 steps to planning the outdoor space of your dreams

By redesigning your garden you could create an extension to the family home, a haven for wildlife or a peaceful spot just for you.

You want to give your garden a complete overhaul but where do you start? What should you think about before making major changes to your outdoor space? From landscaping to planting, colour schemes to planning permission, redesigning your garden requires a mix of creative inspiration and practicality.

Here are seven things to consider when redesigning your garden.

1. Get inspired

Watching gardening shows, reading books and visiting botanical gardens can provide wonderful inspiration for a garden redesign. This stage of the process is always fun and exciting.

While it’s good to think big at this stage, as you firm up your plans you will need to be realistic about your garden. The varieties of plants that will thrive will depend on where you live, the type of soil you have and whether your garden is north or south facing. You will also need to think about your garden’s layout when making important decisions about landscaping. Unless you have a very large outdoor space you will also need to be selective and prioritise the elements you really want to include. Gathering as many ideas as you can and then researching them to check they are practical is a good approach.

2. Work with what you have

It’s always better to work with what you have, rather than fight against it. If you have a challenging outdoor space, such as a sloped garden, you might need to do more research or get professional advice.

Almost any challenge can be overcome but redesigning your garden can involve significant time and money. It could be a great investment though. Not only will you and your family benefit from all the lifestyle benefits that come with spending more time outside, you’ll have added value to your property. Research from Online Mortgage Advisor found that installing a high quality timber deck can give you an 82.8% return on your investment.

3. Consider what you can keep

You might think you want to change everything about your garden, but unless you have a bottomless budget that is probably not realistic. There are likely to be elements of your garden that don’t need to be changed or can be improved with some minor tweaks. For example, painting a wall, adding vertical planters to a fence involve relatively little work and money but can make a big difference. So, decide what you can keep and plan for any small improvements you want to make as part of your garden redesign.

4. Decide what space you need

A garden has to work for your lifestyle, so think about how you want to use your outdoor space. The colder winter months are a great time to reflect on how you have used your garden in the past and how you would like to use it in the future. This will really help you to prioritise what you want to include in your plans.

Do you dream of enjoying a holiday vibe at home by dining outside, for example? If so, could you incorporate an outdoor eating area into your design, perhaps with some Mediterranean plants to remind you of your travels?

If you have children or grandchildren your plans are likely to include space for them to play. However, you may decide to reduce the size of your lawn, or even lose it altogether, and create larger beds if you want to grow more plants.

5. Plan to enjoy your garden all year round

A well-designed garden should provide you with year-round enjoyment. Think about how you can design a space that works throughout the seasons. While a lawn might be a great space for kids to play in summer, for example, you will probably avoid it in the wet, winter months.

With non-slip decking you can create a space that stays safe and welcoming all year round. Because it never gets slippery, even in wet or icy weather, Gripsure anti-slip timber decking will extend the time you spend in your dream garden. That could mean creating a large deck where you can host family and friends, or a quiet corner of the garden for you to enjoy relaxing with a book.

Considering your needs in autumn and winter means you might decide to add extra features to your garden. A fire pit, shelter or small garden building could entice you into the garden in the colder months, helping you to get outside throughout the seasons.

6. Choose your aesthetic

A good garden redesign will reflect your individuality. Perhaps you’re dreaming of a romantic English garden or maybe you’d love a modern or exotic space. Deciding on the overall look and feel you want to achieve will help you make important decisions on plants, furniture and accessories.

The style of your home is also likely to influence your decision. If you want your garden to be an extension of your modern house, you’re likely to aim for a contemporary look and feel. If you live in an older property, you might want your garden to reflect its heritage.

When thinking about aesthetic, people often overlook the difference that surfaces can make. While grooved decking can give a slightly more traditional look, a smooth finish instantly creates a smart, modern feel.

With Gripsure non-slip timber decking you can create a very different vibe, depending on which boards you choose. Our dark Bamboo decking would provide a striking backdrop to an exotic planting scheme. Our Home board, on the other hand, looks beautiful when set against a colourful cottage garden and Contemporary creates a sleek, modern finish.

7. Get practical

Once you have decided what you want out of your space and the look and feel you’re aiming to achieve, you’ll need to nail down the details. Redesigning your garden will involve a number of practical considerations. Here are three of the most important:

  • Set your budget

    While you might be brimming with ideas and full of inspiration, your garden redesign is likely to be decided partly on your budget. The cost will vary hugely depending on how ambitious your project is and whether or not you hire a professional designer and landscaper or do all the work yourself.
    To avoid nasty surprises further down the line, be thorough when researching prices. Sites like Checkatrade and Design for Me provide good resources for budgeting for redesigning your garden. Always include a contingency budget for any unexpected costs that might arise when you’re partway through your project.

  • DIY or professional?
    When it comes to redesigning your garden, you might decide to invest in a garden designer. The Society of Garden Designers has some good advice on appointing a professional. Alternatively, you may want to use one of the many garden redesign apps, such myGarden or iScape, that are now freely available.
    You will also need to consider whether or not you need to hire in landscapers or builders to carry out some of the work, such as installing a deck. The RHS has some useful advice on hiring contractors.
  • Planning permission
    If you are making major changes to your landscaping or adding a garden building, first check with your local council if you need planning permission.

    Many of our customers want to know if they’ll need planning permission for a new deck. The short answer is “it depends.” Generally, if your decking is more than 300mm above ground level or if you are planning a very large deck you will need planning permission. However, rules vary across the country – and are subject to change – so check with your local authority.

Whether or not you need planning permission, it is courteous to notify neighbours before any major work begins. Redesigning your garden is exciting but it can be daunting. Take your time, do your research and think about what you want to get out of your outdoor space. It’s important to get it right and make the choices that work for you and your family. Transforming your garden can transform your life too.

Get in touch

If you have any questions or would like more information, get in touch with one of our friendly team.