Having clear goals is key to any design. The first part of our planning process was to get a clear idea of what is was we actually wanted our garden to be. We wanted the whole family to feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for the garden and to do this we felt it important for the kids to be involved from the beginning. This means getting everyone involved in the design, so we held a creative brainstorm session one Saturday morning.

The ingredient to do this were simple:

  • All garden stakeholders, young and old
  • Blank paper
  • Colour pencils
  • Enthusiasm & Imagination
  • Plenty of cups of tea

Getting some help with ideas for the garden

We each had our own vague perceptions of what we wanted. On their own these ideas might have manifested as discrete entities in the garden eventually. However, our goal is to create a garden with a series of over-lapping integrated systems,  where the outputs of one feed into the requirements of another.

Aspirations big and small, were  depicted in pictures and words on a large sheet of blank paper. Drawing was a great way to help everyone get their ideas onto paper and to help articulate what they would like to see in the garden.

As we drew our garden aspirations we each described what we had drawn. All opinions were heard. As each person’s ideas seeded new ideas with others, and our picture evolved further.

As key elements were revealed it was easy to start to draw general lines between these to denote where relationships might exist. We will look at this in more detail when we get into the detailed planning of systems.

Despite telling the kids to go wild, their suggestions were very practical. Raised strawberry beds featured, as did areas to grow and play, and a list of desirable vegetables has started to form. This picture has been on our dining room wall for several weeks now, so we look at it often, and every now and then an extra wee illustration is added.

And just to show that well imagined and often dreamed aspirations DO become reality, shortly after initiating our brainstorm, this illustration by our daughter …

…recently became this …

‘A dream you dream alone, is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality’  – Yoko Ono

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