Top tips for planning your garden design and build

Top tips for planning your garden design and build

4 min reading time

We were recently approached by a local magazine for our insights on garden planning. Obviously, our speciality lies in designing entertaining and cooking spaces as integral parts of the wider garden design but many of the same considerations apply to both. Here are our top tips and the common pitfalls to avoid and don't forget to keep an eye out for the article itself! 

Function and Flow: Consider how the garden areas are used and how movement flows between these areas and the house. This is especially important when thinking about integrating new zones. Outdoor entertaining spaces, cooking areas and kitchens far away from the house are great, but how will you get there? Will you have shelter, a fridge, running water, drainage, and enough storage space? Thinking about how you'll use and access the areas in all weathers is critical.

Environmental Factors: Pay attention to sunlight and wind patterns. Knowing where the sun rises and sets and noting areas affected by wind should help you decide the best place for your dining and seating areas to maximise enjoyment and usability throughout the day – especially with our UK weather!

Remember as seasons change, so does the sun's positioning. Keep this in mind to ensure maximum usability of the garden throughout the year. What is a sun trap in June could differ from one in early September!

Utilities and Access: If you're incorporating an outdoor kitchen now or at some point in the future, you will want to consider the logistics of utility connections in advance. Determine where water and power lines need to run (and maybe where they already run!) before landscaping. Even if it is a long distant plan, the most straightforward time to run everything is at the start of the project.

Common Mistakes to Avoid - Outdoor Kitchens

Services!! The number 1 mistake is not to run more services around the garden when landscaping than you'll need. If you think you will ever want lights, power or water in a new area of the garden, you need to run it when the digging happens not after the lovely roses have already gone in!

Using cheap components. You get what you pay for, particularly with outdoor kitchens. Opting for DIY doesn't mean you will have to skimp on quality. When building your outdoor kitchen, drawers and cupboards should be high-grade stainless steel or aluminium that will stand up to the British weather and look great at the same time.

DIY with the wrong materials. Wood warps expands contracts, and many YouTube videos people follow that use it are in consistently warm climates (often in the US). These will last much like wooden decking – okay if incredibly well maintained, but a waste of money that needs to be ripped out when not. 

Storage. More storage space in the outdoor kitchens or entertaining space is always needed. Drawers and cupboards are always overlooked but we see it as one of the most common mistakes is not realising how useful and necessary they are.

Common Mistakes to Avoid – Garden Design in general

Rushing the Planning Process: One of the biggest mistakes we've seen is haste. Take your time understanding how each part of the garden will work, from seating and play areas to cooking spots.

Underestimating Budget: People often start a garden project and find the costs escalate beyond expectation. Have a clear budget and vision before you start. Adding additional elements and services late in the day is often more costly than deciding on them. 

Maintenance: What looks incredible in the first month may not be two months later, andwhilst a garden designer may leave you with a planting schedule, the maintenance if you’re not green-fingered, is best left to someone else and needs to be factored into your plans!

As we wrap up, remember that planning and implementing a garden, particularly one that includes specialised areas like outdoor kitchens and entertaining spaces, is both about both art and science! Our tips aim to guide you through creating a functional but beautiful space that complements your home and lifestyle.

Whether you're starting from scratch or redesigning an existing area, thoughtful consideration and strategic planning will lead to a garden that you and your family will enjoy throughout the seasons. Happy planning and do get in touch for more advice around building an outdoor kitchen we're always here to help! 🌿🔥

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