Article for Irelands Homes Interiors and living magazine on ‘Considerations before Designing a Garden’ by Kevin Baumann

Considerations before Designing  a Garden

Let me introduce myself. My name is Kevin Baumann, I have been designing & landscaping gardens for the past  22 years. When a client contacts me I encourage him or her to give as much information before my initial site visit. The more information a client can give me the sooner I can deliver the right design.

It’s getting to that time of the year again when many people are thinking of employing a designer to create a design for their garden. In this article I will set out points that should be considered  before designing  a garden. By thinking and deciding on these points  you will be prepared and  make it far easier for the designer to achieve your vision. These points I break into Personal  and Physical.


A Garden Design should allow for your personal circumstances

Budget – Before meeting with a designer it is important to decide on what you can afford. Without a budget, time and effort can be lost in the design process. The budget allows the designer to choose the correct materials and limit the design to an acceptable standard.

Garden Style – You should try and decide on the garden style which is to your taste or the one that best suits your area. Formal, traditional, vegetable, wildlife, sensory, the choice is yours.

Low maintenance – In this busy world many people have limited time to work on a garden, if this is pointed out, the designer can create a  garden which will need very little maintenance.

Child friendly – This should be considered if young children will be using the garden. Water features are fantastic in a garden but  become a worry if not made child friendly.

Colour and plants – Thought should be given to colours and plants that you like. It’s a good idea to visit local garden centres or look through plant books and make a list of plants that catch your eye. Always try to include a native tree in your garden eg. Mountain ash, native species will encourage wildlife in the garden. Contrasting colours is important eg. Beige gravel against black paving or yellow beside blue.

Security – Security should be high on everyone’s list. Sensor floodlights can be installed to cover front and back garden. Garden lighting with photo electric cell which comes on automatically once it gets dark. Electric gates that close off access onto gravel driveways that give sound.


It takes many factors, items and structures to achieve a quality garden. The following is a breakdown of different areas used to create a garden design. Depending on budget, size of garden, client’s expectations, a garden design could have two or three of these areas, while others incorporate all.

Seating area – An important area, where you sit and entertain and view the garden from. Generally materials used fall between decking and paving. Good idea to visit local suppliers and view

Seating area and gazebo
Circular seating area

Raised Beds – Raised beds are very useful in designs. They give height and present plants better. When used beside seating areas can double up as seating. Materials include – Sleepers, natural stone and plastered walls.

Raised beds and sunken seating area
Raised beds and sunken seating area

Lawn – Generally grass but if client requires low maintenance synthetic grass is a great option and looks very realistic

Raised lawn area and planting
Raised lawn area and planting


Mowing edge -This the edging between lawn and beds. It defines a space and reduces maintenance. Materials used could include paths, reclaimed brick, railway sleepers etc.

Paths – Used to connect areas and lead a person around the garden. Materials used include paving, gravel, bark mulch etc.

Driveway – Very important area as this is the entrance to your house. The colour chosen should not be too bright or will take away from the house; light colours are the best option. Driveways can be broken into three types – Gravel, Paviors and Epoxy resin.

Ballylusk gravel driveway
Ballylusk gravel driveway

Water feature – A must for all gardens as brings sound and wildlife into the garden. Many different types depending on expectations and personal circumstances

Haddonstone teired waterfeature
Haddonstone teired waterfeature

Pergola/Gazebo – Great for framing paths, covering seating areas and creating height in a garden. Gives framework for climbers to present themselves.

Pergolas framing path
Pergolas framing path

Garden lighting – A must for all gardens. Gives another dimension, brings life to the garden when otherwise it can’t be seen. Many different effects can be achieved eg. Glazing, washing, mirroring etc.

Play area – Great for children keeping in mind they won’t always be small, think about use for the space in the future

Utility area – Very important for the garden. Dedicated area for wheelie bins, clothes line, push bikes etc. Should be screened, behind shed, along side of house and out of sight.

Storage – Area for mower, tools, garden furniture ect. Garden shed or if you have the space a lean too along the side of the house.

Lean too shed
Lean too shed

Remember the garden design is the most important step before landscaping, as everything flows from it. It is a good idea to try and create a rough design yourself before meeting the designer. The best place to locate a Garden designer/landscaper in your area is to log onto the ALCI website. All members of the ALCI are fully vetted and insured so you are guaranteed a good standard. Hope the above is helpful and the best of luck with your project,  Kevin Baumann

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