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Think about where to place plants that require a lot of sunlight. The best place for such plants is away from buildings and taller trees because these block light at daytime.
Deciding which plants to grow near house, and which should be in open also requires some thought. If you prefer sunshine streaming through your windows, then you are best not to have bulky trees or bushes near house, where they will block sunlight.
If you have decided that you will be growing herbs and vegetables, best place for them is near house. When they are near house, it is more likely that you will be using them for cooking. Besides convenience, you should also think about location of vegetables as far as their needs for sunlight are concerned. This is especially true if yours is mainly a vegetable garden.
Last, but not least, take into account your personal preferences, when designing a garden. If there are particular extras you would like to have, for instance winding pathways or gazebos, include them in initial design of garden. Your outdoor garden is constrained only by limits of your creativity and growing season in your location.
David Kurshel is webmaster of BIO Gardening -- a popular and extensive resource including articles and a newsletter about gardening. For more information, go to: http://www.biogardening.com