​homify gardening: Working with a planting plan | homify

​homify gardening: Working with a planting plan

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Cottage Garden, Cheshire Barnes Walker Ltd Rustic style garden
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When we look back at history, we see that farming meant the difference between someone’s ability to simply survive off the land, and thrive off it. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that proper planning needs to be involved when planting crops, especially if one’s livelihood depends on it.

But what if all you want is a beautiful little garden? Then you still need to properly plan how you’re going to achieve said garden. After all, no professional gardener ever starts his work without completing at least one planting plan. 

But if staring at that blank space of ground or lawn leaves you feeling intimated and you have no idea how to go about jumpstarting a planting plan, simply scroll down…

1. Consider your space

First of all, understand the potential of the piece of ground you plan on using. Any planting plan requires a rough first-draft sketch of what can be achieved with that blank space. But don’t worry if your artistic skills aren’t on expert level – this is about landscape planning, not creative drawing. 

Using grid paper or a drafting program, make a simple blueprint of the yard. Ask yourself the following: 

• How much space is available for my garden? 

• Which existing features (if any) do I want to highlight, downplay or remove? 

• How will the layout influence my design?

Think of your garden view from various windows (both upstairs and downstairs) in your house, from the porch, how it will influence kerb appeal, etc. Consider striking trees, colourful flowers and eye-catching bushes/shrubs and include them in your planting plan. Be creative! 

After all, it’s much easier erasing a plant from a piece of paper / sketching program than it is to dig it up out of the ground!

2. Remember your climate

Although we do have our fair share of sunny weather here in the UK, our location isn’t what you would call “beach weather”. That definitely has an impact on the type of plants you can include in your garden. 

When sketching out your planting plan, pay a visit to your local garden centre to learn which plants thrive in our type of climate. Should you already have certain species in mind, ask about their hardiness rating and how much sunshine and moisture they require. Be open to suggestions that the staff can recommend to you.

3. What sort of garden do you require?

Japanese Style Garden Unique Landscapes Asian style garden
Unique Landscapes

Japanese Style Garden

Unique Landscapes

Just like no two homes are the same, so do gardens differ in terms of style, size, and function. What would you like to achieve with that garden you’re planning? To grow fruits and veggies for your family or to sell? If so, consider raised beds or square-foot gardening. 

Is your aim to create a stunning backdrop for garden parties and weekend get-togethers? Then we recommend a few insect-repelling plants to keep those pests out of your (and guests’) faces. 

What about your pets playing/living in the yard? How will your new garden influence their space? Keep in mind that some vegetables and flowers are poisonous to dogs and cats, while others can contaminate the flavour of free-range eggs. 

Will you require a grassy space for the kids to run around or is dense vegetation in your future? All of these questions will help you narrow down the elements that can be included on (and left off) your planting plan.

4. How about a theme?

Small Contemporary Courtyard Gardenplan Design Modern garden
Gardenplan Design

Small Contemporary Courtyard

Gardenplan Design

What scenery do you really love? Why is that? Try and determine which landscaping elements appeal to you and how you can include those in your yard/garden. 

For example, if you’ve always loved the clean lines of a traditional English garden, aim for symmetry, strong geometry and monochromatic florals. If you’d rather have a quaint cottage garden, we recommend filling those beds with fragrant, old-fashioned blooms and adding a vintage touch like a picket fence or some wind chimes. Or how about a tropical look? For that type of garden, go with bold, leafy plants with bright colours, dynamic water features and hand-crafted décor.

5. The importance of size

Small Mexican garden design Earth Designs Mediterranean style garden
Earth Designs

Small Mexican garden design

Earth Designs

Just like buying furniture/décor for any interior room, appropriate measurements need to be included in your garden planning. But aside from ensuring decent space for walking, consider incorporating a variety of different-sized elements to create a more interesting design.

Let’s consider decorative stones: Who says they all need to be the same size? On the contrary, having them all be identical in size can look quite bland. For a more natural look (Mother Nature truly is the best gardener there is), pick a couple of large stones, mostly medium-sized ones, and a few smaller ones. 

Do the same with trees, flowers, decorative grasses, etc. And remember that smaller features should be places in front of the taller pieces.

homify hint: Include some variety in the height and circumference of your plants, as well as in their shapes, colours and textures. Try to repeat certain elements at regular intervals so that the look of your garden isn’t too random.

6. Imagine you’re playing house

Chelsea Creek - copyright St George Plc Aralia Modern garden Iron/Steel Grey

Chelsea Creek—copyright St George Plc


One of the easiest ways of accomplishing a successful planting plan is to think of your garden as a house. See the floor as the garden’s grass, ground cover or planting soil. The walls may be the vertical elements such as fences, trellises or even your real house’s exterior walls. Imagine the ceiling as the sky, yet you can also include awnings, pergolas, an umbrella, or even a tall tree’s branches. 

Now, furnish your ‘house’ with patio furniture, potted plants, a seating, bench, a birdbath, or even a few garden sculptures (we have absolutely nothing against garden gnomes if that’s your thing). 

By focusing on the ‘house’ theme, you make it easier for the various elements of your garden to flow together.

7. What about colours?

Most flowers are easy to move if you don’t like their colour combos, so don’t be afraid to experiment. If you’d rather play it safe, opt for tried-and-tested combinations that always work, like hot shades of pink, red, orange and yellow. 

Colours opposite each other on the colour wheel always look great together: think how striking orange and blue look when paired up, or red and green. 

homify hint: Soothing pastels, creams and off-white hues can ensure a softer, romantic look for your garden.

8. Consider your type of flora

A curved deck links the seating area to the house Lush Garden Design Asian style garden
Lush Garden Design

A curved deck links the seating area to the house

Lush Garden Design

It’s not just about looking pretty – the type of plants you include in your planting plan will also influence the way they grow and thrive. 

• Trees and tall bushes with wide leaves can provide necessary shade for smaller vegetation.  

• Marigolds are known to repel aphids and can protect your vegetable patch from being eaten up.  

• Rue plants protect roses and raspberries. 

Chat to a professional gardener, landscape architect or even someone at your local nursery about the benefits of pairing up certain plants and flowers. And remember to have fun bringing your planting plan to life!

Seeking more inspiration? Have a look at these Great garden ideas for UK homes.

​Window design ideas for styling your home
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