A garden can be a collection of flowers for cutting, a place to grow vegetables or simply a striking landscape through which a person can wander, stop and relax or meditate. Designing an outdoor garden can be as simple as choosing plants that work within your limitations, or as complex as building around those limitations.
Sketch out your garden's dimensions on a piece of paper. Note any features, such as your home, a large tree or existing patio. Also note the slope of the land, drainage and the amount of shade that each area gets.
Determine the theme for your garden. A garden's theme will determine the types of plants and landscape features that you will include in your garden.
Note the USDA temperate zone your region falls in. This will also determine what goes into your garden.
Narrow down your selection of plants to those that are hearty to your climate zone.
Designate plant types for your beds based on the parameters your garden will provide. These parameters will include height of the plants (select taller ones for the back of your garden beds and smaller ones for the front), shade and sun that the bed will receive, support structures such as arbors or fences for vines, condition of the soil and drainage for the area.
Select plants based on the plant types needed and the colors of the foliage, berries or flowers.
Group multiple plants into odd-numbered clusters.
Select focal points for each flower bed, including accent plants, garden sculptures and borders.