Woman smelling flowers Photo: Thinkstock
1 Clear up the garden. If it is established, remove all unwanted plants, rotting fences and unwanted debris; if it is new, clear away any rubble that may have been left behind by the builder.
Put bricks, lumps of concrete and old stones to one side for possible use later as paths, edging or foundations for any walls and patios.
2 Dig over the ground, where necessary removing pieces of brick, weeds, old timber and rotting tree roots. Install or renovate boundary walls, fences and hedges.
Carry out any earth-moving necessary for making raised beds, changes of level, steps, banks or pools.
3 Make or repair any permanent features that you are incorporating – internal walls, pools, paths, steps, seating areas, garden buildings and play areas.
Install any necessary outside plumbing and electrical fittings, or make future provision for them by laying conduits before constructing paths and paved areas.
4 Mark out and dig or rotary hoe the planting areas, removing all weeds and incorporating organic material such as garden compost or well-rotted manure. Allow time for any soil you have dug or moved to settle naturally before planting hedges, trees, the larger shrubs and key plants (using tree stakes and ties where necessary).
5 The best time to plant the lawn is in spring or autumn. Mark out the lawn areas, dig over, remove weeds and stones and rake level. Firm down, then rake again and apply a general fertiliser before seeding or turfing. Keep off a new lawn or use boards if you have to walk on it.
6 Add the finishing touches. Position any statues and wall ornaments, wall fountains, containers and garden furniture.
At the appropriate time of the year, plant the smaller shrubs, herbaceous perennials, annuals and bulbs. Clean and fill the garden pool, adding plants after one week and any fish two weeks later
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