Garden Planning 101 – If Kids Can Do It, So Can You

Kids have fantastic design sense and even great drawing ability.  I am discovering this as I layout my new garden plans for 2011 with my kids, rather than on CAD in my office as I would normally do for a client.  Both my son and daughter have churned out various plans for our garden and I find that they have the undaunted design capability of of two people who have no idea how much money or sweat some of their more fantabulous features will take the create.

shortliste entry for olympic garden england rhs

I started thinking (when I saw this great garden above) about how awesome kids can be when they are given the freedom to design a garden or a room or really anything.  Their pure desire is reflected so innocently and they are free in their artistic depiction.

It is very easy for adults to forget that and to think that designing a garden is beyond their capabilities when, in fact, what they really need to do is get in touch with their own creative sense and then just start drawing….no matter how rudimentary.  While scale and accuracy is important (particularly for a professional designer to maintain some quality and product control), for the individual who is  putting together their own garden it can stand in the way of creativity and imagination.   So what I want to say to you is, take inspiration from these plans….and just draw what you think might make you happy in your garden. Don’t worry about what will work and what won’t at first, just draw and imagine.

shortlisted entry for olympic garden england rhs

As I look at each of these garden plans (each drawn  by a child under the age of ten) I think how easy and fun it would be to translate the plans into real gardens.  All gardens are subjective and all gardens are a work in progress so, the fact that these are  somewhat incomplete or short on details is irrelevant.  These are a great start where learning and enhancing can come with experience.  They provide a framework for the a design to evolve with a little initial organization.

What is most important about drawing is that it lets you think outside the constraints of what you might see in you garden when you look out the window.  So many people can have a hard time thinking about expanding a flower bed when a small one already exists or putting a path where there might be grass or another feature.  But on paper, moving things is easy and imagining what might be, becomes more fun.   Give it a try, and see what you come up with.

child garden design
Plan #1 above was drawn by 10 year old Hannah Clegg and was the winning entry in the RHS contest to create a garden for the upcoming 2012 London Olympics.   The second garden was a finalist in the same RHS competition and was drawn by seven year old Ben Rubin Moberg.  Both were found via little green fingers and the Guardian.

The third is a garden created by the six year old daughter of the Calgary Garden Coach.

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.

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