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  • Lynn Hill

Top Tips for Designing a Garden

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

In the latest issue of Scotland Grows magazine, I share my top tips for designing a garden.

Scotland Grows Magazine - Full of garden design inspiration and advice to help you create a wonderful garden. The cover of this issue shows wintery scenes of frosty foliage and berries.
Scotland Grows magazine - available digitally and bursting with ideas for your garden

The feature is the first of a two-part special, where I help you to make plans for your own garden oasis - whether it’s a new garden in the making, or a bit of a revamp to what you have existing.


Firstly, my favourite bit… the ‘wish list’. Where you make a list of all the things you want for your garden. Enjoying morning coffee in the sun; dining with friends and family; growing herbs and veg; basking in the sun. Go on... let your imagination revel in the possibilities.

Dining Afresco - A very modern way of enjoying our gardens. Entertaining with family and friends is a top trend for garden design. Here we see a group of friends laughing and enjoying drinks and food together around the table.
Dining Alfresco - entertaining in the garden is 'must have' on most wish lists

Practicalities must be covered too and we add these to the list. After all, a garden has to function as well as look beautiful and there’s likely to be utility and storage needs.


The garden itself also has its’ story to tell - areas of sun and shade; drainage; views; areas crying out for a focal point – to name just a few. Analysing your garden space adds many more elements to the mix.

As every garden is unique, creating a bespoke 'wish list' ensures the design of your outdoor space reflects your lifestyle and taste. This is the essense of good garden design, which is shown in this image of jigsaw pieces being organised and set out.
Making a 'wish list' gives us the jigsaw pieces - the elements from which your garden is created.

When I first visit a garden, I have lots of ideas of how it can be designed. But the important part is to get the right design for the client. Everyone person and every garden are unique, so it’s hugely important that we collect all these pieces of the puzzle before we start. That way we make sure it’s a good fit for your lifestyle and taste.


The backbone of a garden is its’ layout and the materials it is constructed with. The plants then become its’ window dressing - they fill a garden, as furnishings fill a house. You wouldn’t dream of setting out your sofa before your house was built. Get the structure right first and your plants will then come in and compliment it wonderfully.

Award winning show garden at Royal Highland Show Edinburgh. Designed by Scottish designer Lynn Hill, this garden features natural stone walls, porcelain paving and mediterranean style planting in shades of purple and green. Designed as the perfect place for alfresco dining and entertaining outdoors - with a garden as an extension of the home
The backbone of a garden comes to life with the addition of plants

Want to know more? Scotland Grows is available digitally and is free to subscribers. The perfect place to share my top tips and expertise. Visit www.scotlandgrowsmagazine.com to receive your copy and read my article in full.



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