Truly informal gardens call for an absence of obviously man-made structures and modern materials. If there is a real need for structures they should be built from natural wood or local stone and any garden furniture placed in an informal garden should blend in and become much  more of an unobtrusive comfortable convenience than a feature.

For example a simple wooden three seater bench placed under a tree and surrounded by snowdrops or wild daffodils in spring can be charming but try to avoid something like a metal swing seat which certainly won’t fade and age gracefully.

An informal design usually works best in a rural environment and often suits a plot of land that is in an irregular shape or has uneven slopes. This style can of course be constructed in a square or rectangular suburban plot.

But here the boundaries will need to be well hidden by profuse planting, this is to disguise harsh edges and draw the eye away from the fact that there is no countryside landscape beyond for the garden to flow into. The good news though is that even the most urban outdoor space can be turned into a haven for birds, butterflies and other wild life, especially with the introduction of bird boxes and other items to encourage natural visitors.

One problem that can catch out the unwary is the myth that informal or indeed wild gardens require virtually no maintenance. This is sadly not the case since unless you want a true rampant jungle there is a constant need for pruning and determined culling of invasive plants.

Any plants that are vigorous enough to clothe boundaries and colonise areas within a couple of seasons will simply not stop there. To maintain the balance of your informal garden you will need to dedicate a reasonable amount of time each week to pruning, weeding and training.

Before you build a garden that doesn’t appear to have any obvious constraints bear in mind that knowledge and planting skills will help you select the best trees, shrubs and ground cover plants to grow how, when and where you want them.