If you have a large garden, you might be stuck when it comes to knowing what to do with all that space! Do you lay turf over the whole area to create a rolling lawn or do you create different zones, each dedicated to a different style or activity?
Large gardens needn't be intimidating though, as there are many things you can do to transform them without too much effort or a high-end budget.
To help make this easier, the garden design experts here at Marshalls have compiled a list of ideas for how you can transform your larger garden into the outdoor living space of your dreams. Read on to learn the best tips and tricks for landscaping larger spaces.
Large garden ideas
Whether you want a modern patio area, a kitchen garden, a cottage garden, living walls or something completely different, our experts have ideas and inspiration to suit all creative visions. From hard landscaping to adding some finer touches to your garden designs, below are seventeen of the best large garden design ideas that can breathe new life into your outdoor living spaces.
1. Mix soft and hard landscaping
With larger gardens, you're able to enjoy the best of both worlds by combining lush grassy lawns with hard landscaping in the form of decked areas or patios.
You can either opt for a 50-50 split between grass and paving, have a smaller patio area for outdoor dining adjacent to your house that leads to rolling lawns beyond, or install a larger patio that is surrounded by flower beds.
Make the whole space feel more coherent by matching the stones or colours used in your patio area to those used in a garden path that runs through your lawn. This hack will help to prevent your garden from feeling disjointed and ensure that you achieve a sleek, professional finish that's sure to impress any guests.
Large gardens are perfect for entertaining, and you can use hard and soft landscaping to demarcate separate zones for adults and children. A decked or paved area is perfect for adults enjoying a drink at weekends whilst the grass will be ideal for children and pets to play on.
2. Choose the right garden furniture
Large gardens are perfect for outdoor furniture sets, having plenty of space to accommodate a dining table, chairs and outdoor sofas too. You could either place furniture on grassy areas that are surrounded by flower beds or on a secluded patio area for the ultimate relaxation. Major homeware stores and online specialists have huge ranges of beautiful garden furniture, so you'll be able to find a set that suits your design preferences and requirements.
If you're planning to keep your furniture outside all year round, be sure to choose a weather-resistant range. Materials like recycled plastic, metal and hardwood are all ideal for this. To extend the lifespan of your furniture even further, don't forget furniture covers to protect your outdoor chairs and tables when not in use. Covers will keep them dry in wetter months and help to prevent build-ups of dirt and avoid any rotting.
3. Add a water feature
Water features make excellent focal points in larger gardens, capturing attention and giving a fantastic focal point to the whole space.
A water feature like a classic fountain with ornate stone details can be a beautiful centrepiece for a large, wild garden, with several winding pathways leading towards it. Alternatively, if you have a more modern, minimalistic garden, you can install a contemporary fountain to add some softness in contrast to the angular lines.
A raised water feature perfectly contrasts smooth paving or densely planted areas with many shrubs or hedges. The reflection of sunlight on your water feature's surface can be mesmerising and almost meditative, whilst the sound of trickling fountains is known for helping with relaxation; perfect for achieving a tranquil oasis.
For a more natural water feature, consider installing your very own wildlife pond. This can be as small or large as you like, a pond of any size can be a magnet for a huge variety of insect and animal life. If you have a family garden, though, be sure to take safety into consideration. Adding large rocks around the edge of your pond or laying strength-tested mesh just below the waterline will help to prevent accidents.
4. Illuminate your outdoor space
In larger gardens, you may want to create corners of interest and ensure that the whole space is visible in the early mornings and evenings. Outdoor lighting is perfect for this and is available in a wide range of styles and brightness levels to suit landscaping design schemes of all types.
Illuminate your favourite trees and install floor lamps or beautiful lanterns along your garden paths to provide even more structure and make your large garden look cosy and inviting. If you have a courtyard garden, this will look stunning with naked bulbs or fairy lights strung along perimeter walls, and there are lots of nifty solar options available if you want a more environmentally friendly solution.
Garden lighting is also an effective way of improving safety and security in your garden by deterring any thieves or trespassers from attempting to enter undetected.
5. Don't be afraid of colour!
One of the best things about a large garden is that you can get creative and add colour in various ways and forms. Colour gives your garden more shape and prevents it from being an empty space with lots of green but limited structure.
Whether in the form of colourful flowers or boho cushions for your corner sofa, splashes of colour are always a welcome addition to an outdoor space. In terms of colourful flowers, prairie-style planting with a mix of wildflowers will look stunning and attract birds and butterflies that will add their colour to the mix.
To maximise the effectiveness of any colourful flowers or shrubs, use paving stones that are lighter in hue. Cream, pale grey or buff pavers will provide the perfect neutral base for your garden and allow the colours of the flowers to take centre stage.
6. Lead the way
Paths are great for taking you and your guests around extensive gardens, guiding them intuitively between different areas and preventing them from walking over any delicate flowers or vegetable patches. Use beautiful path designs to connect your house to other parts of your garden, frame flower beds or lead to your seating area, pool or pond.
Garden paths can lead guests to secluded corners or statement pieces in your garden, such as hidden sculptures or a romantic bench under your favourite tree. They're especially effective if paired with a stone paving circle that's fitted with a fire pit or chimenea - perfect for entertaining guests on cooler evenings.
Pathways through your garden can be cobblestones, small stones, woodchips,paving slabs or tiles. Do your research before choosing a material, though, as some are more prone to becoming slippery when wet and are therefore less suited to families with younger children or anyone who is unsteady on their feet.
7. Add statement seating or accessories
Whereas small gardens are more at risk of becoming overcrowded by the addition of too many ornaments, furniture sets and accessories, this isn't the case with larger gardens.
A spacious garden plot offers great scope for setting up occasional or unusual seating, such as egg chairs or hanging chairs underneath the most prominent tree. A larger garden space can also host a pagoda or a little summer house to create a special corner of interest if surrounded by your favourite scented flowers or ornamental grasses.
To bring a more classic aesthetic to your garden design scheme, choose a few stand-out sculptures and place them in prominent positions throughout your large outside space.
8. Create your perfect outdoor kitchen
Outdoor living means outdoor dining, so why not prepare your dinners or Sunday lunches in your own outdoor kitchen? A perfectly put-together area where you can relax, cook and dine with family or guests provides a perfect and natural flow between your indoor and outdoor living spaces.
Make sure there's enough storage space and the materials you use are weatherproof and easy to clean. A large barbecue can serve as a stove as well as a grill, depending on the model you have.
An outdoor sink will come in handy, not just when you are cooking but also to wash your hands after getting green-fingered in the herb garden or veggie bed. Ideally, plant these within close reach so you can use your own garden produce while cooking al fresco!
If you'd rather not install a full-sized herb garden, you can fix some hanging baskets above your outdoor kitchen that can provide all the organic ingredients you need whilst making use of perimeter walls, too.
9. Add an outdoor entertainment area and bar
All that al fresco cooking and dining will be thirsty work, so why stop at a kitchen? Installing a bar area will transform your garden into a multi-purpose space that's great for adults and children alike.
Whether it's a fixed full-service bar or a more modest portable bar on wheels, having a space to prepare and serve drinks can really turn your garden space into an entertainment destination du jour amongst friends and family.
For a more low-cost bar setup, consider using reclaimed wooden palettes and crates. These can be assembled together using little more than a hammer and nails and can be upcycled with a lick of brightly coloured paint. Adding some colourful wall lights behind your bar will create the perfect entertainment vibe and ensure that you're able to use your outdoor spaces long into the evenings.
10. Build a versatile garden shed
A garden shed can be more than just a storage space for your gardening tools, bicycles and furniture. With larger gardens, you have the option of buying (or building if you're feeling adventurous) a bigger shed that can be used for a wide range of activities.
On a mission to get fitter? Transform a shed into your very own personal gym right in your back garden! Feeling crafty or creative? Use a garden shed as your private art studio. Want to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life? Deck out a small shed as a secluded reading room where you can relax and admire your garden.
Garden shelters come in a wide variety of forms - pergolas, pavilions, wooden sheds, brick annexes and more - so think about what you might want to use yours for before buying. And, even though opting for a more expensive option might not feel worthwhile at first, remember that additional living space in your garden could add real value to your home.
11. Add a greenhouse
We already mentioned growing herbs or having a vegetable garden as large garden ideas, but these won't be right for growing all types of fruits and veggies. If you want to grow things such as tomatoes, peppers, courgettes, chillis and cucumbers, you'll need a greenhouse if you want to reap the best yields.
Be sure to plan the location of this carefully, though, as you'll need to place it in one of the sunnier spots in your garden to maximise its effectiveness.
12. Add an art installation
Put your personal stamp on your garden by including a piece of artwork. This could be a wall painted with a bespoke mural, a mosaic, a sculpture or even some topiary - whatever suits your preferences and budget.
With lots of space available, you're in a position to think big. One large centrepiece at the end of a longer, more narrow garden or in the middle of a large square garden will provide a lovely focal point.
Garden ideas that feature artwork are guaranteed to make an impact, providing people with an instant talking point as soon as they set foot in your outdoor space. Just make sure that the theme and style of your art installation match the aesthetic of your home's exterior architecture so as to avoid a clash.
13. Create levels
If you have a sloped or hilly garden, creating separate zones at different levels is an excellent idea. You'll be able to incorporate a number of different garden ideas into one space - great for anyone who just can't decide what design scheme to go for! A patio or terrace can lead into a vegetable patch and then on into a formal garden space, for example.
Using natural stone steps or stepping stones as pathways to connect each section together will ensure that the whole space flows and feels coherent. This is also a great way of making it easier for people to walk from one end to the other, reducing the risk of slips or falls on grassy slopes.
Depending on your taste, a more modern way to create levels in your garden can be to zone the various heights with raised flower beds or extend your patio as a deck above the slope and create a lookout with storage space beneath.
14. Don't forget about the kids!
If you have younger children or regularly have visits from those of friends and family members, creating a child-friendly area in your garden is a fantastic idea! Setting up a structure such as a playhouse or a swing, trampolines and climbing frames can be a lovely way to let the children play while the grown-ups are enjoying a drink on the terrace or preparing food in the outdoor kitchen.
Grassy areas or sections with a carpet of wood chips and bark are ideal for children, as they’re a lot softer in case of any slips or trips. These materials also act as effective drainage solutions to keep your garden's play areas from becoming water-logged in rainier months.
You don't have to sacrifice a beautiful garden for child-friendly features, though. Having a larger garden means you can enjoy the best of both worlds - areas that are reserved for adults and separate sections for the kids!
15. Add a fire pit
There's something special about an outdoor fireplace, no matter the size of your garden. In truth, even a small garden space can be transformed with a chimenea. A roaring fire is a place to gather, enjoy a starry night with hot drinks and tell stories.
In a large garden, you'll be able to choose exactly where you want to install your fire pit. You might want it on your patio, close to your outdoor seating area or kitchen, or you may prefer to have it further away from your house to create a more intimate, secluded space.
Fire pits look especially effective when installed in sunken patios or in the centre of stone circles. By placing them here, you make the fire pit the focal point of your garden and enhance its luxury aesthetic.
16. Install varying sized flower beds
With a large garden, you'll be able to plant a huge variety of flowers, shrubs, trees and grasses. Whether you opt for traditional flower beds or raised planters surrounded by retaining walls, having more space to play with will mean your garden won't end up feeling overcrowded and busy.
By varying the size and height of flower beds, you can break up the landscaping and ensure that your garden is eye-catching from every angle. We recommend planting flowers and shrubs such as:
If you feel like your exterior house walls are a bit lacklustre, embrace vertical planting on walls and garden fencing. Options for this include hanging baskets, living walls, and planters fixed onto old ladders or trellises. These are great low-maintenance ideas for anyone who wants to avoid a lot of weeding.
17. Go luxury with a pool or hot tub
To add a real sense of luxury and indulgence to your entire garden, consider building a pool or adding hot tub!
If you are looking for a place to cool off on hot summer days you could install a small swimming pool. This will be sure to transform your entire outdoor space into an island paradise and provide the perfect spot for spending time with friends. Just make sure to carry out a full ground survey before getting started on a sunken pool to avoid digging through any pipework or wiring.
If you'd rather have somewhere to warm up on chillier days or nights, a hot tub is the thing for you. These are ultra-luxury features that many people dream of having on their patio and, if your outdoor space allows it, can be an excellent addition to your entertainment area and serve you in summer and during cooler nights under the stars.
Get the perfect large garden with Marshalls
The plethora of possibilities can feel overwhelming if you have a large garden - so much so that many don't know where to begin.
Here at Marshalls, we're experts at providing high-quality garden paving, walling, pathways and more, taking the stress out of your next garden landscaping project. Our specialists are on hand to lend support and advice tailored to your individual needs, letting you enjoy the process of creating your dream garden.
How do I make a large garden feel cosy?
A spacious plot can sometimes feel empty and too wide if no tall plants or mature trees are around. To create a sense of comfort, adding a garden room or several smaller zones can add interest and make your garden feel less daunting.
If you don't feel up to the task, hiring a landscape designer or professional installer who can assist you with ideas for setting up different garden rooms and garden borders is recommended.
Where do I start with a large garden?
The best way to start planning your large garden is by looking at its shape and existing features, such as large trees and shrubs.
Next, consider how you plan to use your garden so you can be sure to leave space to include all of the features you want.
Ideally, draw up a sketch so you can play around with several designs before deciding on the one that's right for you.
If you’re still struggling to know where to start or feel like you could use some expert support when it comes to generating ideas, consider bringing a professional on board to help. Garden designers and landscape architects have a wealth of experience and knowledge on all things garden so will be able to provide valuable advice on how to make the best possible use of your space.
Find a garden designer or installer in your local area using our directory of trusted tradespeople.
How can I keep my garden low maintenance?
Many people are scared away from a large garden because they fear it will cost them more time and resources than provide them with pleasure. But this does not have to be the case with a few smart choices.
For instance, planting indigenous plants means you don't have to water your garden several times a day, and using natural materials cuts down on cleaning your furniture or garden paths.