Design your own Imaginary Garden!

Ever wish you could look out of your window and see the garden of your dreams? Well, we want you to design exactly that…so let your imagination run wild!

There are many different types of gardens. Why not have a think about balcony gardens, roof gardens, internal gardens, vegetable gardens, butterfly gardens…? What will you create?

The winners of this challenge, judged by Adam White and Carolin Gohler from the Landscape Institute, were collaged into the image you see above, but you can still take part by uploading your creations at the bottom of the page!


Step 1: Thinking like a Landscape Architect

A landscape architect transforms a boring piece of land into an interesting one by thinking about form (the shapes used and how everything will fit together), function (how it will be used), beauty, and the senses (smell, touch, sight etc.)

Have a look at some pictures of gardens online for inspiration. What do you like? What do you dislike? Write down and draw the things you like.

Step 2: Take a walk outside

Take a walk outside in your garden/local park or street to find some twigs, loose tree bark, dry leaves, petals, moss, pebbles, etc. but please only gather things that have fallen, not growing plants from flower beds!

Step 3: Thinking about textures

Look at and feel the textures of the materials and compare with your notes and drawings of the gardens you liked – look at paving slabs, gravel, grass, brickwork, and think about what they feel like – rough? smooth? furry? soft? prickly?

Step 4: Designing and drawing your garden

Before you start, check out our tips on how to Draw Like an Architect. Draw a picture of your dream garden from a plan view inside your box (i.e. how it would look from above), thinking about how you can use different shapes to represent different parts of the garden e.g. an oval for a pond, some rectangles for steps, squiggly circles for trees and bushes. If you’re struggling to draw directly into your box, you can always draw onto a piece of paper and stick it inside. Look at the questions below to help you make decisions about your garden.

Think about:

  • Who is your garden for? Which animals and insects might you want to attract? Is it for your family? Your friends? Does it have areas for children and adults?
  • Is your garden big or small?
  • What shapes does it have in it? Circles? Rectangles? Squares?
  • Does your garden have water features e.g. a pond or a fountain?
  • Does your garden have different levels? e.g. steps or grassy hills?
  • What would you like people to do in your garden? Play? Sit? Run? Walk?
  • If you’d like for people to run around, think about creating some open space (without obstructions like bushes or trees).
  • If you’d like people to sit, could you put some kind of seating in your garden? Where is it? Can people still walk around it? Does it fold away or stay in place all the time?
  • If you’d like for people to walk around, could you create some pathways with e.g. paving slabs?
  • Is there a play area for children?
  • Is the garden open plan or is it split into different sections for different things?
  • Where is your garden located? Is it on the ground floor or is it up on the roof?
  • Do you have more vertical things (things that go up e.g. trees, brick walls) or horizontal things (those which go right and left across the page e.g. a path) in your garden?

Step 5: Adding colour with collage

Bring colour and texture to your drawing by using cut-outs from magazines, newspapers, recycled materials, and other things you find around the house. Focus on all the things that would be on the ground first. It doesn’t matter if the things you cut out don’t exactly match the lines of your drawing. That’s part of the fun!

Step 6: Making your imaginary garden

Now start to use your gathered natural materials and anything else you can find to make it 3D and bring it to life…Happy making!

Check out our model-making tips and our guide on how to think like an architect for help.

Step 7: Photographing your masterpiece

TIP: Photograph your model and sketches and look at our photography suggestions here.

Step 8: Upload you work!

We’d love to see what you make, why not upload your work below?

Video example

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Tahra Malik

Zara Mantache, age 12 - London

Caspar Rodrigues, age 13 - London

Emilia Timmis, age 12 - Lambeth

Junsei Kinkead, age 12 - London
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