In many cases, the majority of the garden design framework is built up from hard landscape features. These consist of the boundaries that surround the site, the practical or decorative structures that include greenhouses, sheds and pergolas, and the surfaces such as paths, terraces and decks.
The selection of these elements may need to be decided by you and your family if you are planning and designing a new garden. When making a final decision about the size, type of material and layout of each of these features, you need to carefully consider the range of alternatives available within each category, the choice of which will greatly affect the overall visual finish of the garden, the ease or complexity of construction and the cost.
If you move into an established garden, some, or even all of these elements may already be in place. Ideally, they will fit your requirements perfectly and need no modification, but in most cases, there may be a need for improvement, alteration or expansion.
The order in which you lay or build these components often follows a set pattern: the boundaries first, followed by the surfaces and finally the various features that add interest to the garden, such as water features, archways and living areas. Plants are then added into the scheme; not only as decorative borders and beds, but also as features to soften and surround the garden. This may include using hedging for boundaries, plant screening material on arches or pergolas, or decorative features such as bog gardens, rock gardens or raised beds.