A perfect garden is never thrown together last minute. Going to a garden center without a firm idea of what purpose you wish your garden to serve may be costly. Plants not suitable for your landscaping area will likely die or not develop properly. Well-planted landscapes protect the soil, add visual appeal and provide shade where necessary. Knowing the basics of landscape design and a do-it-yourself attitude should allow you to complete the project, but landscape designers should be readily available.
Measure your landscaping area using a measuring tape. Multiply the length and width to determine the square footage of the gardening area.
Draw the garden area on a piece of graph paper using a 1/8-inch scale, suggests the University of Texas A & M. One foot is noted per 1/8 inch.
Sketch any existing plants in the landscape you wish to keep, as well as walkways or structures and property lines, onto the graph paper. This acts as your base plan.
Take a pH test of your soil with a store-bought pH test by following the instructions on the packaging. The pH test will tell you what kind of soil you are working.
Contact your local university extension or gardening center with your pH results and determine what plants might work best in your gardening space.
Place a piece of tracing paper over the base plan and sketch possible placement for plants. Consider the form of the plants, what light they will let in or block, the color and the scale of the plants. Draw with balance, so that the plan has flow. Use shrubs or trees to block private areas of the garden, while using smaller plants such as ornamental grass to open up areas for viewing.