The winter time is ideal for planning how to rescue parts of a garden for updating. There are far less shrubs about getting in the way of rather serious photo sessions and endless note taking. If you know that in the next year or so you will be wanting to carry out a garden make-over, then touring a professional garden, perhaps a well known one such as an RHS site, or that of a heritage house known for its gardens. Take a really good walk around – down every little avenue, tree lined or however it is presented. Going three times before ripping up your own can be so rewarding. The summer visit will show the maximum colour and variety of planting that can be achieved on various types of soil and in all aspects be that a shady dry spot or the shady damp one. You can also appreciate how a warm wall can aid the climbers to reach their peak and then the trees. What might look a small, well managed skeleton in winter can very often explode into an enormous cloud of colour and petals when out in full bloom. Not every garden has that capacity without knocking everything else out completely losing sight of the other plants. Seeing the winter view is important to get scale too, the other way round. If all the colour and size is gone, what have you left to make an interest . . . .