Before you start digging carefully consider what you really want from the garden. You may soon discover that an average size garden cannot easily provide the requirements for a botanical garden.
The primary role of a botanical garden is to focus on providing a plant collection with some scientific basis. These gardens are not designed for the outdoor domestic needs of singles, families or a couple.
Prior to any design concept it is important to acknowledge that the look of your garden will be influenced by the more mundane domestic garden items such as a children's play equipment, potting shed, household bins, clothes line and so on.
The plant collection needs to fit around a family's requirement. If it is the other way around the plants are likely to be destroyed and the garden will look a total mess.
Sure a botanic garden can provide a children's playgrounds and outdoor seating areas but these activities can often be separated from the plant collections. It is unlikely that a play area is also the only place available to locate a very rare plant.
In general, botanical gardens are large whilst domestic gardens are comparatively small. Creating a successful botanical garden in a small area is very different from creating one in a large area.
When space is limited it is very important for every object in the garden, including plants, to take on more than one function. A shrub in a small space may need to act as a screen to block out the neighbours whilst providing shade from the summer heat and add colour to a dark corner. It is hard for a plant to meet all these functional requirements plus also be from only one plant species.
Furthermore, small gardens work much better with fewer plant types rather than more. Small spaces appear much bigger and are more appealing to the eye when plants are repeated over and over again. A small garden becomes fragmented and appears disorderly when loads of different plants and garden accessories are used.
Still Want a Botanic Garden?
If you still want a botanical garden it is suggested that you select a species that will also accommodate the needs of your family. Be wary of large plants. A small garden cannot cope with a home owner's penchant for Eucalyptus.
Why not consider a botanical garden of a small plant species within the framework of the whole garden (such as corner devoted to orchids or ferns)
If your collection does not include a plant that provides a required function (such as shade and screening) do not be scared to use another species.
Remember to repeat the use of any plants wherever possible to provide visual cohesion