Garden design is all about creating a coherent whole, with plants, hardscape and other features working together in harmony. For beginners this can be a daunting task, but with some simple guidelines, it’s easy to get great results. The three main areas to focus on are scale, color and plant groupings. These are the elements that give a garden its identity and make it feel like home.

Scale refers to the overall size of plantings Garden design, both at maturity and in relation to each other. Beginners often struggle with this aspect of the garden, especially when it comes to choosing trees and shrubs. It’s helpful to take a large object, such as a person or a wheelbarrow, with you when you go shopping for plants so you can gauge their size. It’s also a good idea to sketch out your garden, even if it’s just on the back of an envelope, so you can see how everything fits together and avoid making mistakes with too much or too little space.

Color is another area where beginners often make mistakes, but once they learn the basics, it’s relatively simple to achieve a pleasing balance. Hot colors, such as red and orange, are lively and stimulating, while cool colors – green, blue and violet – create a more restful feeling. It’s a good idea to pick a limited palette of colors and stick with it, so you don’t end up with a jumble of all the brightest blooms.

The texture of the garden is another key aspect that many beginners overlook, but it’s an important way to add depth and interest. By using a variety of textures – from the smooth surfaces of paving and water to the rough edges of hedging and woody stems – you can create a more varied garden.

Other elements can make a garden feel special, such as the rustling of wind in the foliage of a tree or the gentle sound of running water. Adding a focal point – such as a garden shed, a statue or a pond – can also draw the eye and create a sense of enclosure.

Lastly, it’s important to consider the impact your garden may have on wildlife and incorporate ways to encourage it. Providing food sources for bees, birds and other garden visitors can help attract and maintain these creatures, and it’s becoming increasingly popular to include wildlife-friendly features such as log piles, hedgehog highways, wildflower meadows and ponds in gardens of all sizes.

Garden rooms, created by running paving and low hedging or planting across the garden, are a great way to divide a larger garden into smaller sections and make it feel more cohesive. Framing certain plants or views – as in the use of an arch at the Kimbrough and Laue gardens – can also be an effective design technique. Likewise, using paths to guide the eye around the garden and highlight key points along the way.