Doing the garden planning yourself: This is how I got a little closer to my dream garden


Autumn is coming with big steps. My grandfather always said that winter was compulsory vacation for the farmer. But does that also apply to the hobby gardener? No, I thought to myself and started planning the garden. Really with your own garden and planting plan, with great ideas and unfortunately many unanswered questions. “Do your own garden planning” even.

Table of contents: What to expect in this article

My garden, my ideas. Do I need the garden planner professional at all?

It can’t be that difficult, I thought to myself when my wife and I decided to redesign the garden. So far it has been rather boring and the plants are characterized by the fact that they like to grow backwards or look reproachfully with a sad yellow-brown. That should all be different now! thought, done. I grabbed pen and paper and jotted down my ideas. The euphoria was great at first, but quickly gave way to reality. It’s not that easy to do the garden design yourself! But it would be laughable if a real hobby gardener (me) couldn’t manage it. My reflections revealed the following:

  • Gardening is a matter of gut feeling

    I know what my plants want! If the planting instructions say “sunny location”, the newcomers come to a sunny spot. I also have the “protected location” in the garden, where other plants are used. Doesn’t always work out, hence my current desire for more planning in the garden. I’ve now used all my intuition to create a garden plan, but now I feel that a little expert help would have been useful. Doing it yourself is not always as intuitive as hanging up pictures.

  • Garden planning must be placed in the hands of GALA architects

    Now it’s the turn of the real professionals! They have all the experience needed to plan and design a dream garden. They know which plants need what and where they are best placed. You can also assess the correct planting distance and say whether ground cover or group perennials are the better choice in one place. It is also advantageous that planning errors that affect the plants do not occur with the professionals. You know everything! However, a look at the costs makes me cringe: A high four-digit amount is due for the garden planning?

  • Garden planning can be placed in the hands of plant manufacturers

    Many don’t know, but if you want to plan a garden or the design of the terrace, you can go to plant manufacturers. The landscape architect earns his money with the planning, while the plant manufacturer offers the planning as a service. He has just as much knowledge and is often even better acquainted with the individual plants. He is remunerated for his work with a nominal fee and, if desired, can deliver the plan and plants to your home ready to plant. There is such an offer from, where the costs for planning start from 55 euros depending on the effort. What a difference to the architect’s fee!

Where there is light, there is also shadow: do your own garden planning … and draw ideas

Whether you’re a landscape architect or a specialist gardener, I wanted to try it myself first. The first ideas had been there for a long time, in my head everything was green and blooming everywhere in the garden. But it’s not that far yet, I’ve been told that everything has to be recorded first. Do-it-yourself must also be well organized. So I went to work and found that there were a number of details to consider. Where is there a lot of sun in the garden, where is there shade? Which dimensions and distances have to be considered and which plant composition makes sense? Phew, that’s a lot of questions that the professional gardener can certainly answer with ease. I didn’t, so before the actual design planning, I had to read up on the topic a little. Incidentally, it is easier to plan if the garden is undergoing a complete redesign and is not just to be redesigned in one place.

Little shadow creatures in the garden

On the terrace, the problem of those who love the shade is less common, here – at least in our house – it is primarily the sun worshipers. In the garden, however, there are shaded areas everywhere and these should also be equipped with beautiful plants.

Shade can be caused by the residential or garden house, by tall trees or other plants. Scaffolders cast shadows when they grow far up. Perennials and shrubs, hedges and large flowers can also provide shade. This is often not permanently available in the garden and depends on the position of the sun. However, the shade can also be present all day long if the garden is on the north side behind the house, for example. Various groundcovers also get along well in the shade, it is important to rely on plants that do not have great demands on the light conditions.

Great ideas for the garden: The seating area must also be considered

Also important if you want to plan the garden yourself: Where should a seating area or barbecue area be created? This should certainly not be located where the full sun shines in the middle of the day and in the afternoon. Of course, an awning or other sun protection can help here, but natural shading is simply nicer. In order to find the right ideas for garden design, it is worth taking a look over the garden fence. This should be done before the garden plan is even tackled, because great ideas can be found at garden shows in Germany and elsewhere. The nice thing about it: That’s where the professionals got to work and found ideal plant combinations that laypeople usually have no idea about. After visiting the garden show, you can go straight to the planning table. If you plan yourself, you save the costs for professional draft and detailed planning, even if it is admittedly very cheap at 55 euros.

Suggestions and ideas as well as great tips for choosing the right plants can also be found in gardening books and magazines for gardening. However, you should limit yourself to the best books (read the reviews!), because at a cost of between 20 and 30 euros per book, this amounts to a handsome sum. Perhaps the local library also offers relevant specialist literature.

Of course, the neighbors’ gardens are also a great source of inspiration, although imitating them would be out of the question for me. My grumpy neighbor would immediately spread the word from whom I had stolen all the ideas and that I couldn’t seem to afford to hire a professional if I was completely clueless. Bah, I’ll show him! That’s what I thought and used a solution that was simply perfect for me. However, I am surprised that many others have not come up with this. Namely, this solution is:

Draft planning by me, detailed planning by professionals. This means that the planning of the rough draft can come from your own pen, after all, you have to take the measurements yourself anyway. You can also draw in possible obstacles in the garden (large trees, buildings, fountains, terraces, etc.) yourself. But when it comes to the details, the professional has to do it and here again the specialist gardening is a help that has been completely underestimated up to now. The service consists, among other things, in the selection of the plant composition, in the decision on sowing, bulbs or group perennials and in the delivery of the selected plants directly to your home. My garden will look next time as if high-priced and international garden and landscape architects were at work here!

So my sources of inspiration now look like this:

  • Specialist books and gardening magazines from the library
  • own garden guide
  • Visit to the show gardens in Europe (among them, of course, especially in Germany)
  • Gardens in other cities and urban areas
  • Garden planning offer from specialist gardeners

This is how the garden plan succeeds very easily

Do you want to try and draw your own garden plan step by step? At this point I wish you a lot of fun and good luck! In order for both to occur, the following equipment is useful:

  • squared notepad or graph paper (better)
  • Compass and pencil in different strengths
  • Ball pen or Stabilo
  • circle template, ruler

Now we can start! The garden planning now proceeds in the following steps:

  • determine scale

    A hand sketch is not necessarily helpful when doing it yourself if the dimensions are not correct afterwards and what has been drawn cannot be implemented. So it makes sense to set a benchmark. A scale of 1:100 is advisable, so that one centimeter on paper corresponds to one meter in the garden. A very large garden may require a smaller scale. If the drawing is to be very precise, the scale 1:50 is recommended. In this way, details can also be displayed precisely.

  • draw floor plan

    The floor plan must be entered first, and all niches and corners of the garden must be taken into account. In addition, objects to be taken into account in the design are now drawn in. To mark the exact position of the objects, a compass is placed at a point from which measurements were taken in the garden. Then draw a correct arc. Then put the compass in place two. The object is exactly where the two compass lines cross.

  • Draw garden plan with color

    The individual areas of the garden can now be marked in color with the help of the ball pen or the stabilizer. Colored pencils are also great to use, they can be used to hatch larger areas (e.g. the lawn or the vegetable patch). Now also draw in shadow areas. Tip: There are now Frixion Balls that are colored and erasable! This means that incorrectly marked areas can be changed again.

  • make copies

    Do-it-yourself requires documentation: once the garden plan is complete, it should definitely be copied several times. Changes can be entered directly here, including newly set fences or planted trees that did not exist in the original. The garden does not have to be completely re-recorded if changes are desired, but you can access the current garden plan directly. The dream garden is thus captured on paper at all times.

Tip: There is software that can be used to design the garden. Some programs for landscape designers are even available free of charge, the representations are also possible in 3D and from different views. However, the software requires a certain amount of training and anyone who has never dealt with it before could definitely experience a new challenge here. I personally find the software to be quite helpful, but it should be used by someone who is familiar with the possibilities it offers and knows how to use them. Otherwise, it’s not much better than pen and paper. Ideally, it is used by the specialist gardener in their garden planning service, so that specialist knowledge and technical possibilities are combined.

My conclusion: planning a garden yes, but with a professional in the background

I wanted to plan my garden and made an appointment with my wife to find a cheap option. She didn’t agree that I should spend our money, which was actually planned for the vacation, on planning the garden. Then the offer from came to mind and, what can I say, I haven’t regretted it! The money was well invested, especially since the prices from 55 euros are not really high. Next year my garden will be an oasis for other gardeners to take as inspiration! My wife is happy, I am happy, my neighbor is not happy – everything went as planned. Why would anyone here try their hand at garden planning?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here