Planning a garden makeover? Brought a new house and want to adjust the garden to suit your needs or simply improve what you already have? Altering gardens requires careful thought so as to make sure that you achieve the results that you want.

Begin by taking a close look at your existing garden. Draw up a plan as to what it is like, highlighting all the key items such as big trees, boundaries as well as the things you want to keep like sheds, pergolas or seating areas. Are there any views that need screening or is extra privacy required? Think about the needs of the people who will be using the garden – ramps rather than steps may be better for wheelchair users or small children. Ponds, even small ones, may need safety barriers if you have toddlers in the family. If you plan to use the garden for entertaining, having a direct access from the kitchen may be a good idea, as it will make it easier to bring food outside. Measure up just how much space you have.

Using a compass work out which way your garden faces. A north-facing garden will receive far less sunlight than a south facing one and this will affect where you place decking or patios. Likewise if your garden is very open and windswept, you may need to consider creating some shelter.

Identify the shadiest and sunniest parts of the garden. Check this at different times of the day. How much sunlight does it get in the evening compared to the morning?

Having obtained the basic information, decide what you would like – perhaps a bigger seating area, direct access from the kitchen, ramps rather than steps? Do you need a patio that can be easily maintained and kept clean? Do paths need to be moved?

Take your plans to a landscaping company and discuss just how to create the garden of your dreams. They can give you ideas that you might not otherwise have thought about, simply because they are specialists and know the industry. The more relaxed feel of a wooden deck may be more suitable than a concrete paved patio. Curved edges can provide a pleasanter image than lots of straight edges. A company with a good knowledge of hard landscaping can advise on suitable materials within your budget, and undertake the work to your timescale. A new garden can be yours within a very short time.