Is your garden in need of some serious TLC? Are you a novice looking to become a green-fingered expert? Do you dream of designing a heavenly outdoor haven to escape to after busy days at work? If so, look no further. No matter your level of gardening expertise, it is possible to make your dreams come true. Here’s how to design and create the garden of your dreams in twelve easy steps.

#1. Clear the space

Is your garden overgrown? Has it become a dumping ground over the spring? If so, the first step to take towards your dream garden is a good clear out. To do this, all you’ll need is some gardening gloves, some trash bags, and some elbow grease. Use secateurs to cut down long grass and put weed killer down. Use a hoe to collect dead leaves, and pick up branches and twigs. The aim of this stage to ascertain just what kind of blank canvas you have to work with. If your garden is in a real state, ask friends and family to come over and help you out. Many hands make light work.

#2. Look for ideas and inspiration

Even the most creative and imaginative people can struggle to envision what their garden could look like when it’s just an empty area. Thankfully, there are loads of places you can look for inspiration. The Internet is a fantastic resource. Search online for gardening blogs and design ideas. You’ll find many design companies have their own websites, which may provide you with ideas. You can also browse sites like Instagram and Pinterest. It’s also beneficial to flick through some home and garden magazines and have a look around some garden centres. Sometimes, visiting Oriental parks, luxury hotels, and country gardens can also get you thinking. You may find that you like aspects of different designs and you enjoy a variety of styles. Write down your ideas, and take cuttings from magazines and websites. You can use the information you gather to create a mood board.

#3. Plan your new garden

Once you have some ideas about styles, themes, and layouts, you can start planning your garden. What does your dream garden look like? What kinds of styles do you prefer? Are you going for a simple design? Or are aiming to create a collection of different areas or add eye-catching features? Many people think about lawns and flower beds when they hear the word garden. But gardens come in all different shapes and sizes. If you don’t want a traditional lawned garden, there’s no rule saying you have to have one. Choose styles and themes that you like. It’s your garden after all. If you want a modern backyard with gravel, pebbles and bark chippings, that’s fine. If you want an overgrown country garden with a mini wildflower meadow, turn your vision into a reality.

To plan your garden, it’s wise to take measurements and to seek advice from experts if you have grand designs in mind. Discuss your ideas with a landscape gardener and work on plans together.

#4. Carry out any construction work

Do your garden designs include construction work? If so, it’s best to do this first before you start planting seeds or making your lawn pristine. Are you hoping to create a decking area? Are you erecting fencing or adding a water feature? Are you eager to produce a multi-level space with distinguished areas? Do you dream of glass walls or waterfalls? Once your plans are in place, you can contact local building or gardening firms to get quotes and set out timeframes. Make sure you have a full breakdown of costs before you sign any contracts.

#5. Lay and mow the lawn

If you have an empty backyard, and you’d like a lawn, order your turf and lay it. You’ll find local firms online. Ring around for some quotes and make sure you have measurements to hand. You’ll find that many companies will offer to lay the turf, as well as supplying it.

If you already have a lawn, now is the time to mow it. Mowing the lawn may seem like a simple task, but there’s a knack to it. Wait for a dry, warm day and stick to a pattern. If you mow randomly, there’s a risk of going over the same patch of turf again and again or missing an entire area. If you don’t already have a modern lawnmower, it’s wise to invest in one. If you have a large lawn, or you don’t have time to keep on top of mowing duties, consider hiring a gardening maintenance firm. Enlisting professional help ensures excellent results, and it’ll also save you time.

#6. Prepare planters and beds

Before you can start planting and scattering seeds, you’ll need to make sure your beds are ready. Remove any weeds and dead leaves or flowers and add compost to the soil. Water the soil.

#7. Choose your plants and sow your seeds

If you’re going for a traditional garden with a neat lawn and colorful planters and flower beds, now is the time to get planting. You can sow your own seeds, or buy ready-filled planters. If you prefer something a little different, replace traditional tubs and pots with barrels, trunks or vases. If you are planting, follow the instructions carefully. You’ll also find loads of helpful tips online. Once your flower beds are ready, don’t forget to water your plants regularly.

#8. Think about furniture

Most of us like to have furniture out in the garden so that we can relax in the sun and have friends and family around. Think about the type of furniture you want and how it will fit into your garden. If you’ve designed a modern space, you may be thinking about a rattan sofa set or a trendy hanging teardrop chair. If you’ve gone for a vintage look, you may be toying with the idea of a rustic wrought iron table and chairs set. Have a look around and see what styles you like best.

#9. Make your garden bespoke

Designing a new garden gives you the opportunity to put your stamp on it and create a bespoke space. Let your garden show off your personality and style. Use your experiences to shape your designs, or add personal touches. If you’ve traveled extensively, showcase your souvenirs or use them as inspiration. Jewel colors, hanging lamps, and opulent floor cushions could catapult you back to holidays in Morocco. Pristine white decking, whitewashed wooden furniture, and nautical themed prints may remind you of trips to the sea. Add a personalized plaque to the shed, or a custom-designed bar sign.

#10. Invest in outdoor lighting

Outdoor lighting is an effective way to bring your garden to life and add ambiance. There are all kinds of options out there. Create a romantic, relaxing space with twinkling fairy lights. Use lanterns or uplighters to illuminate entertaining areas. Hang strings of mini bulbs on decking to create a party atmosphere. Line paths with tiny LED lights to showcase your garden in all its glory. Add portal style lamps to fencing to channel a nautical theme.

#11. Weatherproof your garden

The last thing you want when you’ve spent time, money and effort building a beautiful garden is the weather to rain on your parade. Take some time to weatherproof your garden by coating wooden furniture, decking and fencing with varnish. It’s also a good idea to buy some furniture covers if you don’t have room to store your furniture in the garage.

Once you’ve varnished wooden features in the garden, make sure you keep on top of maintenance. Follow the usage instructions on the tin. In most cases, you’ll need to apply a coat once or twice a year.

#12. Go shopping and add the finishing touches

This is the fun part! Your garden is probably looking incredible by now, but it may be lacking those all-important finishing touches. Take a trip to homeware and garden stores. Browse online and visit yard sales, street stalls and markets. You can often find unique features and accessories in quirky independent shops and outdoor markets. If you have an idea of what you want, search online. You can compare prices, and many companies offer next day delivery for a fee. It’s also a good idea to have a look for bargains on online auction sites.

Have you recently moved house? Or have you let gardening slide over the winter? If you’re determined to create a dream garden this summer, this simple guide will help to make your dreams a reality. Do some research and make some plans. Inject your taste, style, and personality. Look around for inspiration, but use your own ideas as well. Don’t be afraid to stray from the traditional garden template. This is your canvas, and you can do what you like. Stick to a timeline and get the major jobs sorted first. Once you have a basic framework in place, you can focus on decoration and finishing touches.