Here are some things to think about as you start to develop ideas for how your garden could change:
Individual or social space? How many people are going to use it?
Approach – is your motivation to improve existing uses, introduce new uses or a combination of both of these approaches?
Recreation – will the garden be used for children’s play, adult play, active exercise, passive relaxation (sitting, lying, sleeping), formal games (size and shape requirements)?
Entertainment – eating, cooking, drinking, gathering, parties
Movement – regular paths, irregular paths, hard surface gathering areas, maintenance equipment (wheelbarrows, mowers), cars, parking, storage
Relationship to the house – arrival areas, main doors and access, secondary doors, continuity with internal rooms, views from windows (all floors).
Privacy and security – are you overlooked? Do you want to screen unsightly views, enhance your privacy? Do you overlook neighbours and affect their privacy?
Now and in the future. Do you have children and will the garden work for them as they get older? Will the garden work for you as you get older? Will anyone use the garden who has special needs?
Physical requirements – are there any particular requirements for mobility or related to the size and shape of users?
Self-expression – do you want to be able to personalise your garden? Is it important to consider your beliefs and convictions?
Likes and dislikes
Old and new – Do you want to work with what you’ve got or start again? Consider how introducing more contemporary design can create a dialogue the old and the new.
Colour – Think about what colours you like and how they make you feel. Energetic colours, calming colours. Do you want to feel the same all year round?
Sensory experience – think about how light, sound, texture, colours, smells can be used to make your garden more interactive and sensorial.
Sense of place – is your garden an integral part of the local landscape or is it from somewhere else? Does it have an interesting history or hold a story?
Is it a simple space or could it be travelled through as a journey. Is everything revealed at once, or could there be surprises?
How you see design – think about which words resonate with your own feelings about design: Discreet, subtle, sensitive, innovative, witty, playful, glamorous, fashionable, iconic, risky.