A new garden is always an adventure and there is an almost irresistible urge to go out and make your mark on it.

If you are moving to a newly built property there is a good chance that you will have a blank canvas to work with and can start your grand designs straight away. There is a wide range of computer aided design software (CAD) available but nothing quite beats pencil and paper with a bit of imagination. Gardening magazines are a useful source of inspiration and if you have the time a visit to one, the big annual flower shows will give you lots of ideas.

If you move to a property with an established garden it's well worth leaving it relatively unchanged for a full season to see what the previous occupants have left you even if it seems totally overgrown make do with a general tidy up and removal of obvious weeds, especially if you move in during the winter. Make a quick sketch plan of the garden for each season then draw in the plants as they develop. In this way you will not unwittingly put your new shed on top of what would have been a drift of Bluebells in spring.

It doesn't matter if you do not know what a plant is called, photograph it, describe it or simply write 'leave this one' on your plan. It doesn't matter if it subsequently turns out to be a weed, if it pleases you call it a wild flower and keep it.

Before you go out and spend your hard earned cash on new plants it's a good idea to see what other people are growing. If a plant is doing well in a neighbouring garden there is a fair chance that it'll do well in yours. A useful way to see local gardens is through the National Gardens Scheme . Under the scheme hundreds of private gardens are opened to the public for a few days each year and you can talk to the owners about their plants. If you are new to gardening you will find that gardeners are more than happy to talk about their gardens and plants, the difficulty is stopping them!