So, you've moved into a new build. First and foremost, congratulations!

Moving house is always an exciting experience, and new builds provide you with a completely empty canvas for expressing your preferences and tastes. Nowhere is this clearer than with a pristine, freshly-installed garden - While there's only so much you can do inside the house, a new build garden is brimming with possibilities and potential.

This can be a little overwhelming, especially if this is your first home.

This quick guide will help you find your starting point, clarify all the important must-dos you should look at first, and walk you through how to turn a blank slate into a thriving outdoor retreat.

First off, you've got a bit of homework to do!

That's right. Before you can start drawing up designs or digging up flowerbeds, you need to know exactly what you're working with. This can be the difference between having a lovely garden for years to come, and having to start again from scratch in a few months.

Give your garden a clean-up

The builders probably at least took a crack at it, but they usually miss a few bits on their way out. Inspect your garden for leftover debris like bricks or stones which may get in the way with your gardening and plant growth.

Observe your garden

Before you can start planting you need to know exactly what parts of the garden receive sunlight. Simply, on a sunny day, observe and note how sunlight patterns shift across different areas of your garden. This will be crucial for deciding the ideal locations for sun-loving or shade-tolerant plants.

You should also watch how the rain drains away.

Break up the compaction

Not all soil is created equal, and the soil that comes with new build homes tends to be compacted and of poor nutrient quality.

There are many ways to give soil a new lease on life, but the fastest way if you want to get started with gardening soon rather than later is to break up the top layer of the soil with a fork. Adding organic matter such as well-rotted horse manure or compost will help to improve your soil for future growth.

Now you can begin the planning

Maybe you have a clear-cut vision of a garden you want to bring to life, or maybe you are open to ideas. In any case, it's a good idea to sit down with a pen and paper and do a bit of research first.

Draw up a design

Imagine the overall layout you desire. Do you envision winding paths, a relaxing patio, a dedicated seating area or specific planting beds? Sketch out a simple plan or use an online tool to visualise your ideas and create a cohesive space.

This is where sunlight exposure comes into play – Having a row of sunflowers running along the end of the garden might sound good, but it's not going to work if that area doesn't receive enough sunlight.

Be realistic

Remember that turning a newly-mulched garden into a complete outdoor retreat is going to take not only time, but money. Factor in the costs of the plants you already have shortlisted, materials like mulch or edging and, most expensively, any hard landscaping you had in mind like a patio and pathways.

Think about garden use

With this in mind, consider how frequently you'll be using your garden and how much time you can realistically spend gardening (Depending on work commitments, your schedule, etc).

Even if you have the money to splash out and create an extravagant garden, ask yourself if you'll be able to find the time to give it the maintenance and upkeep it deserves.

Consider calling a pro

If you find yourself struggling, consider giving a landscape or garden designer a call. Their expertise won't just help you stay within budget and bring some ideas down to earth, but they'll likely be able to find clever ways of making the best use of available space.

Now you know where to get started.

Starting a garden from scratch will require some extra planning when compared to an owned garden, but the rewards are truly fulfilling.

This two-step prep process is going to give your garden the best possible start, and help you to create a space that will bring you joy and satisfaction for years to come.

If you're looking to make your mark and create a garden that's truly yours, come and visit Gardening World Ltd! We have everything from seeds to pots to plants, and are always happy to give gardeners some hints and tips.