The best gardens, in my opinion, are the ones that make people happy and comfortable. Sure, it’s easy enough to make a garden look good, but it’s important to make sure it feels good as well. If you’re planning a big gardening project, and you’re making a start on the design, here are some tips that will ensure it’s relaxing and easy to move through.
Give Paths a Wide Berth
When you’re looking at your plot and planning where you’re going to have everything, you need to make sure the pathways are wide enough to be comfortable. Nobody wants to have to squeeze themselves through narrow spaces, whether they’re indoors or out. If possible, try to make your thoroughfares wide enough for at least two people to walk down side-by-side – about five feet across. If you have any secondary paths, intended for people to walk down in single file, make them around three feet. Remember that the taller the plants and structures that flank the pathway, the wider the path will have to be. If you oversaturate your garden with tall boundaries, it will make the space you have feel more restricted.
Structures are becoming more and more popular these days. If you’re planning on having any pergolas, shade sails, archways or anything else, make sure you’re leaving plenty of headroom. Seven feet is a good minimum, but you should also add another 18 inches if you’re planning on growing any plants over the structure. This may sound a little too tall, but stick to this guide. Structures tend to look much smaller in the garden than they would indoors. Aside from that, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and save your taller friends from smacking their heads while they pass under these structures! Going back to my first point, you should also make sure that the posts for any arches or pergolas are a few inches outside the edges of the path, to avoid knocking your elbows on them.
Find your Footing
Make sure that any kind of paving you’re going to have in your garden provides people with enough footing. Don’t use any potentially slick surfaces, and make sure the paving is set properly so that it won’t wobble. Materials such as polished granite and smoothed outdoor tile won’t offer enough traction in rainy or moist climates. Gravel walkways are a fine alternative, provided that you use unsifted gravel. Unsifted gravel contains aggregates of varying sizes, which will compact together firmly and give solid footing. Sifted gravel, on the other hand, has aggregates of similar sizes, which will slide amongst each other and fail to provide the grip you need. When you’re choosing paving, you should also make sure that the surfaces are somewhat sloped, which will prevent water from pooling on top of them. That marble at the garden centre may look gorgeous, but it could lead to a nasty fall!
There you have three of the most important things to keep in mind when you’re trying to create a garden that looks great and feels great. Feel free to leave some suggestions in the comments.