Thursday, March 20, 2014

Designing a Large Garden Class ~ My Garden School

Survey of our new garden
Besides being incredibly impatient for spring to begin, I have also been working diligently this month on a new garden design for our new home, Havenwood. I enrolled in an online class at My Garden School with John Brookes, Design your own Large Garden.

While it has not been exactly what I expected in some respects, I have nonetheless enjoyed corresponding with Mr. Brookes and finding a good reason to spend more time going through the garden design process. One of the first steps was to do a scaled drawing survey of our property.  Then you should determine which major features of your site that you wish to base your entire design upon...

This grid uses the ten foot measurement of our breakfast nook addition. It will be useful near the house to make sure that the design is in "human scale".
This survey grid uses the 22 foot dimension of the planned rear courtyard, which is the open space at the middle back of the house.  This would be a useful scale for planning a sweeping design, and also when you move further from the house.
Next step is to think about the different garden areas that we would like, and decide parts of the property would be best for them...

This is a concept diagram, where we start to think about "what where?" These garden areas should extend all the way one to another, there by using all of the space and helping the design to connect. No gardens dotted around the perimeter of the yard here!
I am still playing will the shapes these garden areas will take and trying out both the ten and twenty foot grids. But this process has really helped me to start getting my mind around our new garden.


  1. These are what I call 'Functional Layout Plans'. Althrough not visually attractive, they are incredibly useful in putting together your garden needs and studing the use of space. Mine are usually messy pencil sketches, but here a nice, tidy one from my collegue Rachel Parker Soden:

    Good luck with your garden and keep up the good work, I am sure it will be fantastic!

    1. Thanks Noemi! You are so encouraging! :)

      Rachel's plan is just beautiful.... so easy to see what she is thinking because she includes arrows for sight lines and movement. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. Hi Julie, I fell in love with John Brooke's landscaping books and learned so much from them. Now, I always draw up a plan and finally it's the only way I don't make mistakes in the number of plants to buy. You can see my flower beds on my blog, but it's mainly in french!
    You've drawn a very nice garden! Great job!

  3. Thank you so much, Julie, for sharing what you are learning from the great John Brookes. Love the garden areas you've chosen. I'm curious about the glass house. Is this a conservatory or a greenhouse? It looks shaded by the trees and maybe the house depending on which direction it is facing. I would love a conservatory attached to my house. How wonderful to be able to start over -- and you are doing a great job of it. P. x

  4. I am also looking to redesign my gardens so i ill be starting this process in a few many things I am learning but I love the process.


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