Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Designing the new garden - Part One

While finalising plans for the new house, we need to also have at least a reasonable idea of what we want the garden to be. I thought I'd record and share the process.
At the very least, it will be interesting to see if the finished product matches the image I have in my head.
While the new house will be smaller, the garden will be tiny by comparison to Missy's garden.


4000 sq m

630 sq m

(about one sixth )
We enjoy outdoor living so I want the outside of the house to be just as comfortable as the inside. There’s a lot to think about and decide. I need to think about function as well as looks.

To me, the first step is to have a wish list - what we want in the garden and how we intend to use the garden.
Cooking and dining – Lunches, dinner and, in retirement, morning or afternoon tea in the garden will be the norm. Ideally I would like a simple outdoor kitchen with a small BBQ, a bench & a sink and, of course, table and chairs.
Sitting reading or relaxing – a quiet area for solitude
Painting – I want an undercover area to set up my easel and paints – an outdoor studio.

Entertaining– a large enough space to accommodate a group of friends or family from time to time.
Gardening – Of course! I have to be able to play in the dirt and I’ll need somewhere to store gardening equipment and a vegetable patch to grow some herbs and vegetables. I will be significantly scaling back on the number and variety of plants, obviously, but I still want some of my favourites.  Going vertical by setting up a wall or vertical structure to grow plants on may be an option.
John wants a pond for his fish. He also wants to minimise lawn. I think living on an acre has turned him off lawn mowing for life.
I would also like, if we could afford it, a small pool to splash about in.

 I saw this one at a display home and liked the idea. It’s actually a spa set partially in-ground. I love the glass front.
This is just on the “maybe” list. If we don’t have a pool it won’t be the end of the world. We’ll be living near the ocean.
So that’s the wish list, but before deciding on a design, a few essentials need to be considered as well. (Did anyone notice I put what I WANT before what I NEED?)

Shelter and Shade
The main outdoor living area of the garden will get morning sun and afternoon shade which is perfect.

Privacy and security
There are fences to be built. The developer will be providing a fence along the back and maybe one side. Since the back of the house is so open, privacy could be an issue. A “screen” of some sort that lets the air flow though, looks attractive and keeps out potential burglars is needed.
Lighting and Electricity
The garden will be used at night as well as during the day. Lighting is a major consideration and possibly a major expense if we don’t incorporate it in the house build. We also need external power points.
Siting of taps for watering the garden plus water for my outdoor sink need to be planned. We also want one or two water features (one with plants and fish). Not only are they attractive, soothing and entertaining, they provide cooling on a hot day. We need to pre-plan where they might be positioned to make sure external power points are close by to run the pumps.
We want a relatively low maintenance garden. Although I enjoy gardening I don’t want to be a slave to it and neither does John. Although we love Missy's garden, part of the reason for moving to a smaller home was less work in the garden.

I've probably forgotten something but as far as I can tell, these are the basic requirements. The next step will be deciding on a basic layout.


  1. I love your wishlist and it all sounds so exciting!! Funny enough going through your wishlist has reminded me of the elements that are usually featured in the Australian garden at the Chelsea flower show :)

  2. Reading this post made me a bit sad at leaving Missy's Garden behind.
    Yet, I'm so happy for you that you can create a new environment exactly to your liking. You are going through the process with a good eye....especially regarding the electrical sockets on the outside. I had to run all of mine afterwards.

  3. Oh what exciting times. Gosh that outdoor kitchen has me salivating..... and the pool/spa thingy. I would love outdoor electrical sockets, great idea to add them while building..

  4. Having a smaller garden will be easier to maintain even though you'll miss the garden you have now. It sounds like you have an excellent idea of what you want/need. I wish our builder had installed more hose taps but when they asked me I had no clue where the garden was going so I just left it up to the original plan. Privacy is so important. I am exposed on all sides in my garden and don't always like it.


I would love to know what you think and appreciate your comments.


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