tea table for twoWe have so much choice these days – so many style options, models of outdoor furniture, materials, plants from around the world – that it can be hard to decide what will make our gardens feel good.

Sometimes we just dodge the whole bamboozling lot and end up with three borders and a square of yawn…sorry, lawn. But that’s not saying ‘us’ is it?

So a good place to start is with us. The garden needs to fit into the context of our daily lives otherwise it risks becoming merely an expensive view. So let’s get practical and make a list.

Let’s temporarily put aside how we’d like the garden to look and focus on which of our favourite activities we’d like it to support. Sunbathing? Loud, large family lunches? Meditation? Evening drinks? Pottering with┬ásecateurs and a headscarf?

If we’ve just ticked all of the above and own a half-acre plot, we’ll need to zone the spaces to allow each of those activities. If we have a small terraced patio, we might be in trouble! Circling the two most important activities should start to suggest a practical set of space, lighting, material and storage solutions for our real needs.

If we’re super-smart we could even consider how those activities might change over 5-10 years to design in flexibility. We might need a sandpit now, but in 5 year’s time when the children are less likely to fall in, we could use the space for a chic formal pool. The large entertaining space we want now could be reduced later.. when we have more time to tend the vegetables we’ve always hankered after growing.

I’ve drawn up a mega-list of (almost?) all the possible elements to include in a garden…it might help you…it might just make it all worse, but hey! It’s always fun planning a dream garden!

garden playing

picking poppies

bee hive & lavender

family lunch

old person picking fruit