When approaching a new space, take some time to think about what is wanted and needed from the space. What would be a good space for morning coffee, having a glass of wine in the evening and barbequing a steak?
Time of Day
Check the lighting and shading over a few days to decide on optimum use for the area by time of day. Make notes for use when deciding on plants & furniture placement.
Once purposes are mentally mapped to areas, draw it out, the more detailed the better. Whether from a sketch on paper or a detailed design from landscape software, a layout will provide the structure needed to ensure ideas translate well to the space. Measure the space and make sure your plans are close to scale. Be sure to include accents like fountains, arbors or lighting.
Try it out
Once the layout is designed, take a chair outside & try out the space at the time of day you intend to use it. Check the views from the inside of the house as well – will the view be inviting and an extension of the home?
It is surprising the amount of money that can be quickly spent with gardening. Develop a high-level budget and be sure to include tools if they will be needed.