Tips and Guides

3 Simple Must-Dos For Planning A Garden

Before you bring out your pot and shovel, read through these tips first!

Original Article: Franco Hubilla Photography: Bahaghari MFI

Building a garden is just like building a house—you have to think of what you need, want and how to style it properly. However, for a lot of homeowners, the lanai is an afterthought, people tend to focus on aesthetic rather than function. To help you combine both, we've put together a short list of must-dos that will keep you from having problems in the long run:

1. Lay down the ground work. 

Before anything else, it's important that you treat the garden as an extension of your main house—knowing what it can be used for and how you can maximize every available area matters a lot. To help you get started, here are a few questions you can ask yourself: 
  • What’s my budget for the landscape design and construction?

  • How much am I willing to spend on the garden maintenance?

  • Will I be holding parties often, and need space for spillover of guests from the house?

  • If you have kids, how much play space do they need?

2. Prepare a plan. 

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can decide on what style or look you want. Whether you're hiring a landscape architect or you're doing the work yourself, it's vital that you take the following into consideration: 

  • Ocular inspection of the site and other nearby areas 

  • All visual eyesores such as trash bins and water tanks must be covered 

  • Architectural plans make the most out of a borrowed view from an adjacent lot and include direct access from your main living space 

3. Make adjustments. 

Ideally, a landscape architect will start work on a residential project when construction is 50 to 60 percent done, so there will be time to make two to three schematic designs. When presented, you can study and choose which one you like most. You can even go as far as asking the designer to customize garden features best suited to your needs.

Read the original article ("Planning Your Garden") in the January-February 2006 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details.

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