As far as our gardens are concerned, the most superficial changes, such as adding flower-filled containers or raised beds, can make a huge difference. Gardens have the power to bring peace, purpose, and pleasure into our lives. Not forgetting that we can grow fresh vegetables and herbs and even play host to an array of colours with the addition of flowers and plants.
Keep reading if you're searching for inspiration and garden design ideas to get your creative juices flowing. We have compiled a list of the top 16 garden ideas that everyone can use, regardless of the size of their outside space or existing garden.
1. Change your lawn's shape
Many homes have an outdoor space with only grass and a fence, but these don’t need to seem dreary or uninspiring. Adding curves and shapes to your lawn can give your garden area an immediate facelift.
Reshaping your lawn's appearance into a more defined shape or pattern can transform your space, especially when adding decorative elements and plants in the newly created borders.
Using stone setts or cobbles can add visual interest and separate the space. To really capture your unique style, consider using plants and other garden items that bring the space to life. You may want to anchor the garden with a range of smaller trees and plants.
Changing the shape of your lawn works well for small, medium and larger-sized gardens.
2. Create height and dimension with plants
Creating aesthetic appeal in your outdoor space is as simple as adding height. You can quickly transform your two-dimensional garden design into a three-dimensional wonderland by adding an arch, pergolas, or building planter beds with garden walling or oversized, decorative pot plants.
Arbours and pergolas not only offer a vertical dimension to the landscape but also serve as a way to hide imperfections in your garden. Pergolas with either hanging fruit or cascading flowers add depth and style to your space. Consider using climbing plants, which you might train up a structure to give height and depth to your room and bring an aesthetic appeal.
Another example of adding height and dimension to your garden design is a living wall. Living walls have several benefits, including the addition of elevation, the provision of insulation and the deflection of water away from walls during periods of heavy rainfall. Additionally, living walls can become a home for insects, improve air quality and reduce noise pollution.
3. Create an indoor-outdoor flow
Create a flow between your interiors and the outdoors as part of your garden design. Choose a good flooring material to ensure that the interior flows smoothly and consider adopting the same colour scheme, or different shades of the same colour. Fully opened floor-to-ceiling door windows that overlook the garden help to create an unlimited sense of freedom.
Creating separate spaces in the garden by establishing new and distinct internal boundaries is an excellent way to encourage movement around the area and to the far corners of your space. You could establish these boundaries by using decorative panels, planted borders and climbing plants, or significant structures such as walling, trellis, or a larger multi-stem tree.
To create a "transparent" barrier, you may use more delicate plants like Agapanthus, Verbena, or various beautiful grasses. Changing your route through a garden is a terrific way to keep it interesting all year and inspire you to spend more time there.
4. Add plenty of garden seating
Making space to sit in the garden is an integral part of the design. Consider including seating areas to encourage guests to relax and socialise when designing your garden.
If you want to create a sitting area with well-defined borders, one option is to use an existing building like your house or garage. Plants, a paved garden path and structural features, such as fences, pergolas, trellises, and screens, can also be used to establish borders.
When designing small gardens, it is essential to consider how you can use boundaries to hide unpleasant views, frame desirable ones and give character to your small garden space. For an outdoor dining area with minimal space, try space-saving privacy screens or trellises to make the most of your environment.
Build seating into your walls
Double the use of your wall to accommodate seating in the garden. Outdoor seats on a wall give a seamless appearance, particularly when combined with raised beds. The walls behind the benches provide additional shielding from winds, the sun and rain. Add scatter cushions for more comfort - but remember, cushions must remain in storage during rainy seasons.
5. Establish a focal point in your garden
As with interiors, a single focal point in a garden can be a great way to make a statement and focus attention. For obvious reasons, your garden shouldn't be dominated by just one enormous tree or shrub, but remember that focal points can be adjusted to fit any size garden. An eye-catching, one-of-a-kind plant can liven up even the tiniest of spaces.
If you’re working with a medium or large-sized garden, why not consider an impressive water feature, an outdoor rug created with porcelain tile paving, or a striking sculpture? Intricate patio designs may also make a big statement and a professional installer will have the ability to build the pattern and precisely cut the paving - creating an eye-catching feature for your garden.
6. Choose the right landscaping materials
Garden landscaping is much like any other construction work in that a lot of jargon is associated with it. Hard landscaping refers to all the things that aren't plants or soil that make up an outdoor space; everything else falls under the term soft landscaping.
When selecting the appropriate hard landscaping materials for your outdoor area, it is essential to consider which materials are long-lasting, durable and simple to maintain. When planning the layout of your garden, it is important to figure out whether you want to use garden pavers or driveway paving to create a courtyard garden, or do you want to use them to provide paths or to separate your patio and lawn?
Although it is easy to choose a single paving stone and use it for all of the hard-landscaped sections in your garden design, doing so may create the impression that your patio is heavy. Why not try to create sections by dividing them up and introducing other elements, such as smaller pebbles and chippings that provide more interest?
When planning a garden, some innovative ideas include using cobbles, setts, or even gravel to create different looks and sensations as you go from one area to another. You could even use these things to create a pattern inside a bigger paved area.
Bringing life to a flat patio may be accomplished by combining big and small pieces of the same paving or stone product or even selecting a different colour. Use the materials so that some areas of your garden are more defined by adding texture and depth.
7. Soften hardscaping features with plenty of plants
You will need hard landscaping for both the structure of your garden and the practical components you use daily. However, try to stay away from creating a concrete jungle. Soften hardscaped features by incorporating them with various flowers and plants and round top or flat top garden edging.
With trellised garden ideas, you can grow sweet and flowery honeysuckle or colourful clematis over the walls. Ornamental grasses soften the hardscaping features and are easy to maintain.
8. Consider low-maintenance plants
Low-maintenance gardening is perfect if you don't like gardening or just don't have the time. It's a design option that works for any size garden, but it's particularly well-suited to small ones because of the limited area available.
Simply reducing the number of plants in your yard is the key to a low-maintenance landscape. The less you have, the less work you have to do. A good rule of thumb is to limit yourself to no more than five or ten different species. In time, you'll learn how to properly care for your plants, identify weeds and eradicate them swiftly.
9 - For effect, repeat planting and colours
Don’t make the mistake of buying plants only because you like them at the garden centre. Do some research beforehand and make a list of the plants you want, research and narrow it down to a more manageable one.
Repeated planting of wildflowers may provide an eye-catching display. Choose hardy, long-lasting perennials that are both beautiful and long-lived. Traditional and even cottage gardens benefit from the use of perennial favourites.
Using a range of coloured markers, begin sketching out your ideas. There's nothing better than creating an arrangement with a limited colour palette since it shows how thoughtfully each plant's location was thought out. Specific repetitions may connect the garden.
10. Start small with container gardening
Raised beds can be spacious and are a must when cultivating food or vegetables. For smaller gardens where you still want plenty of herbs, edibles and flowers, you should consider growing in containers.
Container gardening will work for virtually any garden simply because plants are placed wherever best fit the space available - ideal for renters wanting to take plants with them or for moving around the space in different seasons.
11. Install living walls
Garden designers are finding that living wall designs are ideal for embracing horizontal plants while producing maximum drama in outdoor living areas. As a result, living wall designs have grown more popular in the design and gardening industry.
When you build a wall around your house, you have the opportunity to grow ferns or an edible wall, which will also serve as a central point in your garden. Living walls are an excellent addition to even the smallest gardens or balconies.
Plants that grow vertically are essential for small spaces. Or you could stagger plants up the fence and wall to optimise the space. Hanging baskets are also good for front gardens and limited spaces.
12. Use outdoor lighting
Even the tiniest gardens may benefit tremendously from the addition of well-placed garden lighting, which is particularly important during the winter months when the days are shorter and there is less colour and greenery in the garden.
From the very beginning of the process of designing the garden, make sure you give good consideration to outdoor lighting.
The options are almost limitless when it comes to illumination that does not come from the sun. Your outdoor area may have a beautiful fairytale atmosphere added to it by using simple outdoor lighting or globe lights; these lights will also work nicely as Christmas decorations.
Lighting the perimeter of your garden or any stairs can be done with fencing spotlights and deck step lights, while path lights continue to be the most effective method for lighting driveways.
13. Upgrade the fences in your garden
Garden fencing serves a variety of functions in a yard. Your yard is protected from the outer world by this barrier, and additionally, it may give visual appeal to your property. Hanging baskets on a fence could interest you if you're a gardener who enjoys plants, flowers, or herbs.
Crossing elements produce a grid pattern in lattice fences, whilst they may vary in size and direction, all varies on the same pattern. Climbing vines thrive in lattice-style fences and your yard becomes more private as the vines weave through the gaps.
A garden arbour is ideal for drawing attention to a specific entrance point and is a beautiful addition to any yard. Despite the wide variety of arbour designs, they nearly always provide a sense of grandeur.
14. Create a garden room
Garden rooms may be a great way to make the most of unused space and they don't usually need planning permission. You could even consider using your shed or summerhouse as a venue to host summer parties and accommodate overnight visitors.
Gardening is about making the most of what nature offers but there are a few considerations to make if you consider turning your garden room into an outdoor bar or pub.
Think about where you want to be located: would you like to be within close distance of the kitchen or hidden away in a secluded part of the garden? Consider adding a cover to your garden if it's south-facing for bright afternoons. If you're expecting many visitors and want to make the most of your available floor area - modular outdoor furniture that can easily reconfigure might be a good addition.
15. Create a kitchen area as part of your garden design ideas
Create an outdoor kitchen that meets all of your cooking and entertaining needs. Ask yourself: What type of cooking would I like to do outdoors, and what am I most likely to use the most regularly?? How do you think you'll use it most frequently?
Compact outdoor kitchen designs are ideal for small backyards since they make the most efficient use of space. Don't limit your grilling options to a single little island in a limited area; tailor it to your space and requirements using a modest L-shape - or create two discrete islands.
Lastly, install some storage bins and you'll be able to keep all your belongings in one spot. More space for outdoor kitchens means you don't have to leave your garden to grab the BBQ goods.
16. It’s all about the furniture!
There's nothing like relaxing in your own backyard, whether it's a sprawling lawn or a cosy little patio. Everything is possible with fantastic garden furniture.
Garden furniture stored beneath a table while not in use is ideal for smaller outdoor areas, such as courtyards and patios. If you have a big garden, you may want to consider L-shaped couches since they provide plenty of space for guests.
Spend your money wisely and choose the best outdoor furniture you can afford. Depending on available space, make it as simple as possible to sit and stand up without encountering obstacles. Keep in mind that there will also need to be sufficient space for individuals to sit comfortably around tables.
Over the last several decades, outdoor couches, coffee tables and rugs have replaced the classic six-seat dining table and bistro sets.
What kind of outdoor furniture works best?
In addition to being more weather resistant, faux-rattan can be washed with soap and water. You can leave outdoor furniture made from teak and acacia wood outside all year also.
How do I keep artificial grass in top condition?
There is very little upkeep needed for artificial grass. Remove any fallen leaves using a broom or leaf blower. Spills and pet messes are easy to clean up with a hose and you may scoop up pet solids in the same manner as you would with different kinds of food. Just hose it off to clean with cold water or use a damp cloth. Using a broom, sweep in the opposite direction from where you're looking to lift the fibres.
What can I do to make my garden edges more appealing?
Curved borders that extend further into the corners soften the corners and provide the illusion of more space. The best curves are those that are simple and sweeping rather than angular. Avoid wavy edges since they seem artificial, time-consuming to maintain, and difficult to clean.
Is LED outdoor lighting better?
A lot more power is required to run halogen than LED. A concern of halogen lighting is the excessive heat it emits into the atmosphere. Not only can lights that get too hot cause power outages, but they can also start fires in dry plants. LED lighting is a safer alternative for outdoor lights since it is cool to the touch.
Transform your outdoor space with Marshalls
Plants and creative landscaping can help you make the most of your outside area throughout the year. All year long, your yard will be a beautiful place to spend time with your family, thanks to the most extraordinary gardening ideas you can come up with.
Whether you're working with a little patch of grass, a large courtyard, or a sprawling lawn, we've got plenty of ideas to help you make the most of your outdoor space.
Check out Marshalls fantastic range of garden and driveway products to help inspire your garden.