Garden Design Ideas & Projects

 A reality photograph, methinks...
Designing with Old Bricks

In all my design projects, my garden dreams get the chance to become reality. But I'm a big-ideas, small-budget gardener, and my design sense (if I have any) is deeply personal. Hmm...

I'm always trying out new designs, and revising others. But there's no meticulous planning. And I've noticed something odd - the size of the project never corresponds to the thinking time allocated. A new pot can be agonised over for hours, while a new pond gets a casual sweep of the arm and the words 'over there'.

Some new ideas begin as trickles in my over-active imagination. Other potential projects are river-huge from the beginning, requiring bulldozers, ditch-diggers, and teams of burly men. After enjoying a summer gardens tour in England I arrived home wanting to build a moat around the house and a huge maze in the back paddock...

But I have such fun trying. And just sometimes I get 'it' right!

A Design Promise...A Design Promise......
Here is my promise for The Hump - a messy area of my garden, being the humpy top of an ancient sand dune, which until recently was covered in huge pine and gum trees. In the winter of 2018 the trees were felled, and The Hump became available for serious gardening...
Swapping Sun for ShadeSwapping Sun for Shade...
Gardens are always changing, for one reason or another. The biggest change in my country garden can be from sunny to shady (or vice versa) as new trees grow large, or older trees are cut down. These changes are not always easy to plan for, hmm...
My Brick Herb SpiralMy Brick Herb Spiral...
My brick herb spiral was the simplest of garden design stories. I saw a spiral in a local community garden. I immediately wanted one of my own. So I built one in the middle of my vegetable garden. Yippee! Easy as that...
River PumpsRiver Pumps...
I am the proud owner of not one, but two bright orange river pumps. They are made by a Pennsylvanian company called Rife, and float in the water race just downstream of Rooster Bridge.
Welcome, Pond Cottage!Welcome, Pond Cottage!...
I've always wanted a garden shed - or, to be more accurate, a garden shed-with-a-bed. I now have one such. I can just wander out through a gate over to the pond, and there it is. But it's called Pond Cottage.
Another Autumn Garden Make-OverAnother Autumn Garden Make-Over...
It's late autumn, garden make-over time. Day temperatures are still pleasant, the soil isn't too frosty for digging, and the mellow light quality helps the gardener to see things optimistically. Summer's perennial fluff and froth has evaporated...
Wattle Woods Stream and PondWattle Woods Stream and Pond...
'Remember water doesn't flow uphill' - Non-Gardening Partner's wise advice to me as I prepared to construct my Wattle Woods Wriggling Stream (Mark Two) - and pond. He must think I have my head in the clouds, or at least in the sandy soil of my garden.
A Cottage Garden?A Cottage Garden?...
A Cottage Garden? Strictly speaking, yes - I've just dug a tiny four-seasons garden round Pond Cottage, to hug the verandah and one side wall. I'm writing this in spring, when ideas feel as fresh and full of promise as the garden itself.
Brick Path and Koru CourtyardBrick Path and Koru Courtyard...
Every gardener needs a garden project on the go, preferably one that's realistic and doesn't require mechanical diggers or bulldozers. My latest such project has been laying a small brick Koru (spiral) courtyard and path in the Dog-Path Garden.
Garden Garden 'Shed With A Bed'...
This is a garden dream, rather than a garden design project. I've always wanted a garden 'shed with a bed'. It's a childhood dream - the tiny cottage at the end of the garden which fits just me. But just a few more creature comforts creep into the picture as one gets older...
The Hump GardenThe Hump Garden...
The Hump is the name I've given to the humpy old sand hill between the house gardens and the front paddock. The trees and the sand have made it THE most difficult area in which to establish a garden. So guess who just had to try? I've gardened the Hump slowly and surely, over many years.
Building With River StonesBuilding With River Stones...
Yet again I'm off to the local river with my dog to collect more stones. Stones, stones, stones - they're everywhere in my garden, a theme, a repeated motif. Yippee! That makes my garden design seem co-ordinated...
New Path in the Wattle WoodsNew Path in the Wattle Woods...
Some Moosey 'Grand Designs' take years to germinate, others get forgotten in the glass-house, and some don't even make it out of the propagator. I wonder if my best ideas are the quickest and the easiest - like my new Wattle Woods path.
New Stone WallNew Stone Wall...
The latest feature in the Moosey Garden is a brand new stone retaining wall, behind which is a brand new shrubbery complete with secret courtyard. Oops - yet another new garden area to tend, and plant, and weed...
The Moosey WaterwheelThe Moosey Waterwheel...
The garden of my budget-free dreams has many beautiful water features - curved Monet bridges, hexagonal pond deckings covered with puffy recliners, waterfalls with secret water pumps - to mention but three. But in my real garden I'm rustic and recycled, and the proud owner-custodian of a waterwheel.
Koru GardenKoru Garden...
There's a Koru sculpture in the small rose garden where my Rhapsody in Blue roses grow. The Koru is a strong New Zealand form, spiritual and peaceful, a symbol of life's growth - it represents the fern frond opening.
Henworld - Early DaysHenworld - Early Days...
Henworld - possibly the silliest Moosey garden project ever - is almost ready for its official opening. Though it occupies a small area, Henworld is a huge concept. It's a playground designed for the Moosey poultry.
Rose Avenue in the OrchardRose Avenue in the Orchard...
In the winter of 2003 (July here in the southern hemisphere) the Hazelnut orchard was planted - over seven hundred trees. Included in the grand design was space through the In the winter of 2003 the Hazelnut orchard was planted - over seven hundred little trees. Included in the grand design was space through the middle for an avenue of thirteen rose-covered archways. Yippee! Roses are one of my greatest garden loves...
Rugosa Garden Make-OverRugosa Garden Make-Over...
For years now I have resisted taking garden make-overs seriously. I'd be absolutely furious if I arrived home and found a helpful team of T-shirted smileys digging up my lawn and artistically erecting blue painted wooden posts.
The Birthday Rose GardenThe Birthday Rose Garden...
It was nearly Easter - the big New Zealand gardening weekend. The head gardener at Mooseys was suffering from rose-purchasing withdrawal symptoms - it seemed like years since she'd had a good grab and buy session at an Easter rose sale.
The New Wriggling StreamThe New Wriggling Stream...
Usually I write about garden design projects long after they have been successfully completed - thus my gardening self-esteem can shine forth. My attempt at constructing a grand water feature in the Wattle Woods is an exception...
Dog Kennel GardenDog Kennel Garden...
You couldn't really call it a garden make-over. It was more like a garden challenge - like that given to would-be designers who exhibit at Flower Shows. Not the famous ones, though - in the year 2004 this small garden got itself designed totally by default.
The Great Rhododendron RescueThe Great Rhododendron Rescue...
'You should write about projects that failed' said Non-Gardening partner the other day, watching sceptically as some rhododendrons were being shifted into a new garden on one of the hottest days of summer.
The Sad Demise of the Tree Stump LawnThe Sad Demise of the Tree Stump Lawn...
Once apon a time at Mooseys there was a big patch of green and messy grass, full of artistic looking tree stumps. At the edge of this lawn was a small Willow Tree stump with big ideas...
Dog-Path GardenDog-Path Garden...
New borders in my garden are often self-developing, like the Dog-Path Garden over the water race. When the energy level of the gardener-digger drops, the new garden is temporarily finished. A few weekends later, with some spare roses needing a home, digging is happily resumed...
Garden PotagerGarden Potager...
Early in my gardening life I made a resolution to have an aesthetically pleasing edible garden area, which I would cheekily call a potager. My vegetable garden was in disgrace. My family had stopped eating my lettuces. I'd made a series of dodgy vegetable decisions...
Shade GardeningShade Gardening...
The back of the house has a small garden which up until now has been home to several large Pseudopanax trees. They were removed two months ago as they were too close to the house...
Bay Window BorderBay Window Border...
I've always had a serious design dilemma with the small, hot garden underneath the bay window on the sunniest side of my house. It started life covered in bark chips, planted with little Pittosporums. Perhaps, in retrospect, this was a good idea?
Stables Garden Make-OverStables Garden Make-Over...
This isn't the story of a major redevelopment. There is no slash and burn, no giant digging session. A garden project can be small and gentle, so subtle that nobody else notices. A successful make-over can begin and end on the same day. Such was my remodelling of the Stables Border, one day back in 2001...
New TreesNew Trees...
In the winter of 1999, when the gorse and gum trees were cleared from the land over the water race, I had my first real chance to choose and plant new trees. Serious research was called for! This was the real thing - planning sensibly for the future. But I was determined to buy trees that I liked...