What sort of garden do you want?
As part of the design process the fundamental task I have is to understand what sort of garden you would like me to design. There is no right or wrong answer, and everyone is different, so here is something you might like to try.
Wait until you have five minutes of peace and then shut your eyes.
Imagine that you are about to push open a large oak gate, set between two gnarly old oak trees, and enter into your own secret garden. Now push the gate and step inside. What is it you see?
This will be what is important to you. It may be a large sunny glade, to enjoy the fleeting summer sun. It may have a generous area for barbecue, or outdoor kitchen, and enough space to fill with your friends. It may be full of birdsong – the joyous melody of the blackbird sat high and waiting for berries to ripen in the autumn. It may have an atmosphere of calm and tranquility or one of joy and sound. It may be full of colour – drifts of tulips and daffodils, giving way to swathes of bluebells and then foxgloves, then giving way to a plethora of echinacea, asters, rudbeckias and geranium.
If you can hold that vision for long enough to remember it then this is the starting point for your garden. A place that will draw you into it, a place that will draw family and friends when invited and a place you can share with the teeming life that will inhabit it – from blue tits (collecting caterpillars from your plants) to buff tailed bumblebees (pollinating your spring flowers).
The next step is to then make it happen…