Top tips for planning your garden improvements

On this gorgeous winter’s day, with the sun shining and the sky blue, it’s providing the perfect inspiration to start the planning for your gardening year ahead and any exciting changes you wish to make to your garden. So make a cup of tea, sit in your comfy chair, and have a read of the post below to find out where to start on your garden redesign journey.

As a Garden Designer, I am very happy when a potential client calls me early on in the year to discuss their garden. The earlier the better is the motto if wishing to make changes in the garden. So winter time is actually a perfect time of year to start planning the changes and improvements to your garden.

Gardens are forever developing and growing and therefore need reviewing from time to time. Your family may have grown or lifestyle may have changed; you may have undertaken works to your house, which may then impact on the garden; you may now have a keen interest in growing your own food; your design tastes may have changed, which may result in a need for a re-design of your garden.

Here are some tips and advice to get you on your way and inspire you to make those changes and improvements to give you the garden you desire.

1. Assess the bare bones of your garden in winter

Winter is the perfect time of year to take a good look at the garden’s bare bones or skeleton. With the foliage depleted and many plants hibernating for the winter, the structure, layout and form of the garden can be easily seen and assessed.

Does the layout work well? Is it balanced? Are the borders large enough? Are the paths / access routes performing well? Is the layout as a whole working well?

If there are any areas that you are not totally happy with, then note these down, take photos of the problematic areas and start planning your improvements.

2. Establish your design brief - wishes and desires for the garden & budgets

Making a list of the areas you would like to change or introduce to your garden is a great place to start i.e. more evergreen structure; vegetable garden; less maintenance; larger seating area; shaded area; more colour or a complete redesign etc. This will help to focus the mind and establish your priorities for the garden.

Setting aside a budget for the garden works is essential at the start of a garden project. This will help to ensure your wishes and dreams can be realised. Or help to establish if you need to prioritise some areas first and focus on other areas when budgets allow.

A professional Garden Designer would be able to advise you on realistic budgets for garden projects of all shapes and sizes and establish what is achievable for your garden.

3. Get inspired - the fun part!

Ready to make those changes, then it’s time for some garden inspiration. Here are some places to look and get some lovely ideas for your garden project …


So much to see on this website or app. Download it and get pinning! You can create mood boards, pinning photos you like the look of or start following boards other people have created. You can also look at professionals boards for more inspiration, like mine which can be found here.

Gardening magazines

There are lots of lovely magazines, here are some I would recommend:

  • Gardens Illustrated
  • House & Garden
  • English Garden

Visiting gardens & shows

Visiting other people’s gardens is a great way to get inspired, finding out what you like and almost just as important, finding out what you don’t like.

The National Garden Scheme has private gardens that are open to the public throughout the year, all over the UK , with entry fees raising money for charity.

Or there are the impressive National Trust properties and gardens such as Mottisfont local to us, with its famous rose garden.

Go to garden shows, such as the RHS shows like Chelsea, Hampton Court and many more.

There are also many local shows that are well worth a visit. Like the Gardeners World Spring Fair.

4. Speak to a professional

If after coming up with a wealth of ideas for your new garden plans, you just don’t know where to start, and feel a fresh pair of eyes on the space would be beneficial, then it’s probably time to get some expert advice from a Garden Designer like myself.

Give a Garden Designer a call to start the wonderfully exciting process of designing your garden and implementing the changes and improvements you desire for your lovely garden.

About the author:

Amy Perkins

Amy runs Amy Perkins Garden Design. Amy has a passion for great design and creativity and is an experienced and stylish Garden Designer, who has worked on town and country gardens, home and abroad.

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