How to Plan a Garden Landscape: Steps to Create Your Perfect Green Space

Plan a garden landscape

How to Plan a Garden Landscape: Steps to Create Your Perfect Green Space

Wondering how to plan a garden that reflects your personality and actually grows and thrives in your unique outdoor space? This straightforward guide will walk you through creating that perfect green haven, from evaluating the sunlight and soil in your yard to selecting plant varieties that bloom year-round. Whether you’re aiming for somewhere quiet to relax or a sustainable veggie patch, we’ll cover the basic steps without overwhelming you with details. Let’s turn your garden dreams into reality.

Key Takeaways To Plan a Garden Landscape

  • Learning how to assess your garden’s potential by considering factors such as sunlight, soil, and existing structures. That will help us determine the types of plants that would thrive in your garden and plan their layout accordingly.
  • When planning your garden, it’s important to think about its purpose and style. Consider what you want the garden to be like and how it should look. That will help you decide the design and the plants you choose.
  • To create a garden that’s sustainable and long-lasting while caring for the environment, you need to use purposeful plants that provide interest all year round. Make sure you incorporate sustainable practices, like choosing plants that are good for the environment, and keep up with regular maintenance. Then, you will create a beautiful and enduring garden space.

Assess Your Outdoor Space

Outdoor Space

Before you start planning your garden, take some time to assess how much outdoor space you have available. Each yard has unique features and untapped potential, ready to unleash creativity.

Sunlight Exposure

An important first step in planning your garden is understanding the amount of full sun and shade your space receives. Observe the sun’s movement and note which areas get the least shade and most sunlight. Are there spots that enjoy six or more hours of direct sun? These areas are perfect for plants like black-eyed Susan and Shasta daisies. In areas with less than three hours of sunlight, you can plant shade-loving plants such as Allegheny Serviceberry or American Holly. As a quick note, these types also provide winter interest.

Soil Type

Next, let’s find out what type of soil you have in your garden. Is it sandy or clayey? (I think that’s a word.) Is it more acidic or alkaline? Testing your soil will help you understand if it can provide the essential nutrients for your plants to grow well. Blueberries, for example, grow well in acidic soil. Still, that same acidic soil would kill your sage herbs because sage likes alkaline soils.

With this information, we can take appropriate steps like adding organic matter, compost, and mulch to retain water and promote healthy plant growth. It is possible to grow what you would like by what’s called “amending the soil,” which just means adding nutrients into the soil.

You can get your soil professionally tested or buy a simple soil test kit if you are just looking for an overview of what you have.

Existing Structures

When planning how much space you need for your garden, don’t forget about any structures already in place in your yard. You can’t grow corn or trees where there is a house, but you could grow in containers around the building. Or, consider using the fence to support climbing plants and vines. You could even transform your garden shed into an intentional focal point within the space.

As a note of caution, it’s important to remember that existing trees have their root systems, so make sure that new plantings won’t compete with them for vital resources like water and nutrients or make a plan that includes both. The trees provide shade, so you wouldn’t want to plant plants that require full sun, like a cactus, under the tree.

Define Your Garden’s Purpose and Style

Now that you have a good understanding of your outdoor area, let’s take a moment to think about your garden. Consider how you want it to function, its location, and how you want it to look. Let’s create a beautiful and functional area that suits your style!

Garden Purpose

Before you begin your garden, it’s important to think about why you want it. Do you want a calm place to relax, a spot to hang out with friends, or maybe you want to grow your own produce, like fresh fruits and vegetables? Your garden’s purpose will affect things like what you choose to plant and how you arrange the space.

Take some time to thoroughly explore different options and decide the best fit for you.

Garden Style

Once you’ve figured out why you want a garden, it’s time to think about how it should look. You could go for a cute cottage-style garden with many useful and pretty plants for cooking, healing, and decorating. Or maybe you’d rather have a modern garden with clean lines and simple designs. Whatever you choose, ensure it matches your home’s exterior and shows off your style. Here are some garden styles that people like:

Cottage Theme

Cottage Theme Garden

Japanese Style

Formal or Structured

Desert Style Landscape

Tropical Landscape

Native Plants Ideas

Take into account the key features associated with each style before deciding on one that best suits your preferences.

Design Your Garden Layout

Once you have decided on the purpose and style of your garden, creating an appropriate layout becomes a crucial element in your garden planning and design. A proficient garden designer can assist you in achieving optimal balance and cohesion within your outdoor space for a successful outcome.

Once you’ve figured out the purpose and style of your garden, creating a layout that works well is the next step in your garden planning and design.

If you don’t want to figure it out on your own, a skilled garden designer can help you find the right balance and make sure everything fits together nicely in your space for a successful outcome.

Or, if you would rather it be all your design, you can check out this free tool called smart draw to help aid in your design.

Functional Areas

When you’re thinking about your garden or patio, it’s important to consider the different functional areas. Are you picturing your patio as a calm spot where you can relax with the sound of trickling water, beautiful cut flowers in vases and potted flowers, comfy seating, and fragrant plants? Or do you want an area where you can have outdoor meals and do activities?

If you don’t have much space, you could try using square-foot gardening, raised beds, or vertical gardening to make the most of your growing area.


Now, let’s lay out the design of your pathways. These are your routes to get to where you need to go. Think of a sidewalk to your house lined with flowers or shrubs or the paths between your vegetable plots.

When choosing the materials for your paths, consider safety and how well they go with the rest of your home. Also, consider how they’ll look with your house’s exterior and how good they are at draining away water.

Get creative! Mix materials if you want. Sand or gravel with large stepping stones, decorative concrete, mulch paths through gravel…

Focal Points

You want to enjoy the space you create, so let’s consider adding focal points to your garden design. These are things that catch the eye and make your garden more appealing. You can choose a standout plant, a beautiful gate, a relaxing water feature, or even a simple object at eye level. Pick these elements carefully because they help make your garden interesting and draw attention to specific areas.

Choose Your Plants Wisely

Picking the perfect plants, especially a standout tree, is important when designing your dream garden. It affects how the overall space looks and feels. Think carefully about which one to go for; that will determine what other types of plants you choose.

Plant Selection

Garden Center

So how do you choose plants for your garden?

Well, the climate of where you live is arguably the most important factor to keep in mind. Growing a mango tree or other tropical plants would be impossible without a heated greenhouse in Canada or a place in your house.

Your soil type is another consideration. This one is easier to change for small garden plots but still difficult for large pasture areas.

Keeping these in mind will help ensure that the plants you choose are well-suited and capable of thriving in their new environment. Looking at the plants that grow in your area, called native plants, is a good start to see what will grow there.

But don’t forget to include some personal favorites – after all, this whole gardening thing should be fun.

Companion Planting

Companion Planting

Let’s talk about companion planting. Companion planting is when you combine plants and crops for mutual benefits; they help each other. For example, some herbs and flowers can keep pests away, while other crops attract beneficial insects.

Another example of companion planting is when certain plants and crops are planted side by side, the soil quality will be improved. This means different plants have the ability to add or subtract nutrients, like nitrogen, in the soil.

Plan for Year-Round Interest

Four Season Tree

If you choose to keep your garden all year long, make sure you plan for interest in every season. Select a mix of plants that bloom at different times throughout the year.

Let me give you some examples using trees.

  • Dogwood trees have beautiful blooms in the spring and lovely foliage (leaves) in the fall.
  • Celosia displays vibrant colors during the spring and summer.
  • Japanese maples are known for their striking foliage in the fall.
  • And ever-green trees and yew trees provide structural appeal even in the winter.

By planting a variety of species like these, you’ll have a garden that looks amazing all year round!

With a diverse selection of plants (including many common vegetables as well as flowers), your garden will provide visual enjoyment every day of the year. It truly becomes a source of sensory delight that can be appreciated anytime.

Implement Sustainable Gardening Practices

Sustainable Practices

Sustainability has become a major concern in modern gardening. Using sustainable methods, you can develop an attractive and environmentally friendly garden.

To begin with:

  1. Enhance the texture and fertility of your soil by adding organic matter.
  2. Conduct companion planting to promote diversity.
  3. Optimize irrigation schedules to minimize water usage.
  4. For a wildlife-friendly environment, reduce lawn mowing frequency.
  5. Plant pollinator friendly plants and flowers.

These practices not only benefit the ecosystem but also increase resilience and ease of maintenance in your garden.

Finalize Your Garden Plan

Once you have covered all of the factors, it is time to finalize your garden plan. Follow these steps:

  1. Create a list of desired features, focal points, and trees for your garden.
  2. Take practical elements such as sunlight exposure, soil type and drainage into account when planning the layout.
  3. Unexpected changes may arise during the process. Be open to making adjustments as needed.
  4. Consult local gardening experts or visit nearby nurseries and gardens for additional tips and advice if needed.

Remember that your initial garden plan can evolve over time through proper planning, so do not hesitate to make necessary changes throughout the summer, and growing season in order maintain its beauty and functionality.

Your garden should reflect you!

Execute Your Garden Plan

Now it’s time to plant your garden! Follow these simple steps:

  1. Prepare the soil in your designated beds. Add compost or other soil amendments, make sure you don’t have compacted soil, or do anything else needed for seed preparation.
  2. Plant the chosen seeds and transplants according to your planned layout.
  3. Give a thorough watering, adjusting as needed based on plant requirements, weather conditions, and type of soil. Deeply water newly planted trees and shrubs for optimal root growth.
  4. Check back here for more information on gardening in the plant and garden catalogs.

Now you’re one step closer to achieving your dream garden goals! Through careful planning and planting techniques, you can promote the healthy growth of plants like trees, shrubs, or other species perfectly suited for your garden. Whether you have prepared ground plots, gardens, or garden beds (beds), this simple approach will help you create the garden you’ve always wanted.

Container Herb Garden

Maintain and Enjoy Your Garden

Maintaining a healthy and thriving garden requires regular attention. Make sure plants are watered regularly before wilting, remove weeds to prevent unwanted seed spreading, and get rid of dead or diseased foliage.

It’s important to remember that the journey of gardening is just as important as the end result. Take time to appreciate the growth process, be amazed at how things develop, and enjoy the beauty you have cultivated.

Embrace any mistakes made in your gardening journey (they serve as valuable learning opportunities) but also celebrate successes along the way.

Each blooming flower and ripened fruit you harvest is a testament to your dedication to this labor of love.


In summary, designing a garden is an exciting adventure full of endless possibilities. From evaluating your outdoor area and defining the purpose and style of your garden to choosing plants and creating a full garden layout, each step brings you closer to realizing your dream garden.

Incorporating sustainable practices into garden planning and considering year-round appeal is important. If you do this, it will reduce the work and increase the enjoyment.

Remember to savor the process while appreciating every success achieved and lesson learned along the way.

Happy gardening!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I arrange my garden plants?

For a well-arranged garden, try grouping your plants in clusters or drifts. Opt for odd numbers like 3, 5, or 7 to achieve a more organic and natural look. Consider organizing your plants by height (shorter ones at the front and taller ones towards the back) to create balance and visual appeal in your various garden beds. Utilize focal points strategically around the garden to guide the gaze, whether through triangular formations or zigzag patterns on either side of the pathways.

Happy gardening!

How do you draw a garden layout?

Begin your garden plans by creating rough drawings of different areas and types of plants and pay attention to achieving a harmonious landscape. Embrace the creative process and try out different arrangements until you discover the perfect layout for your own garden plans.

Enjoy gardening!

How do I choose the right plants for my garden?

When selecting plants for your garden, it is important to consider the climate of your area, the type of soil in your garden, and any unique conditions present for many plants in your garden area. It’s also helpful to consider which plants bring you happiness while gardening.

So go ahead and enjoy planting seeds in your lovely garden!

What is companion planting, and how can it benefit my garden?

Incorporating companion planting into your garden has numerous advantages, such as repelling pests, luring beneficial insects, and enhancing soil quality. As a result of these benefits, plants in your own house and garden will thrive better in health and productivity.

How do I ensure year-round interest in my garden?

To produce and maintain a visually appealing garden all year round, choosing an assortment of plants that flower at different intervals is essential. By doing so, your garden will continue to provide a delightful sensory experience throughout every season.

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