Assessing the Garden Site
One of the major dangers that can befall an amateur garden designer is lack of patience. Instant gardens only exist at horticultural shows, and in fact, they often have a sterility about them that you wouldn't wish in your own garden.
There are no short cuts to creating a garden; never be tempted to start designing your plot before you finish carrying out an accurate site survey. A thorough initial assessment will pays rich dividends later, and form the basis of a scale drawing that will in turn form the outline of the finished scheme.
In addition to detailing measurements of the site, your survey should include factors such as climate and soil type, as this sort of information is invaluable when making decisions about shelter, drainage, which plants to grow and where to site them.