Smart & Savvy
Your Home and Garden|March 2019
Smart & Savvy

Creating a new garden doesn’t have to mean starting from scratch. It’s better for the budget and the planet to work with what you have to give your garden a facelift

Carol Bucknell


Begin by assessing the garden thoroughly. When making over an existing garden (or, indeed, starting with bare earth), knowing your site well is the best way to avoid costly mistakes such as digging into a drain or putting barrow loads of plants in the wrong spot.

If you can, get hold of a professionally drawn, scaled site plan of your property (often held by council); otherwise do a rough measure of boundaries, the house footprint, paths etc yourself. Draw these to scale (1:100 normally) then mark it up with areas that are windy, sunny, boggy or have good soil, along with the plants you want to keep, the location of services such as electricity cables and sewer pipes, and changes of level.


Take a good, long look at the existing plants in your garden before you make any changes. Waiting a few months, or ideally a year, lets you see how they perform at different times of year.

If given a good prune, that scruffy tree might actually flower beautifully, provide shade in summer or produce fruit. You may not especially like those daylilies, but they could cover that hot bank along the driveway. Think laterally. If there is only one mature tree on your site, is it worth keeping it and building the deck or terrace around it?

Keep any plants with potential in pots (large trees will often survive for months if their root ball is wrapped well in sacking and kept moist) until you decide where they could fit on your new plan. If they don’t, give them away.



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March 2019