These garden design ideas are the key to a scheme you’ll love for years to come. From getting your lawn into shape to landscaping, decorating with ornaments and maintaining boundaries, try these garden ideas to transform your outdoor space.
Look out of your window at your garden and the biggest shape you’ll probably see is your lawn. If it’s a good, strong shape, it will set the entire garden on the right track. And remember, it doesn’t have to be a rectangle! Try an oval, circle, square or oblong shape.
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For a perfect cut, why not try the compact, lightweight and cordless Bosch Isio Shape and Edge Set, perfect for cutting bushes, small leafed hedges and lawn edges with up to 50 minutes runtime.
A metre or more in depth is a perfect size for a border, giving you enough space to put smaller plants at the front with taller ones behind. But if you don’t have room for metre-deep beds, you could place climbers at the back of the border so you can still get height in the planting. In terms of climbing plants, opt for an evergreen like clematis, which provides a beautiful and colourful display.
The colour of your paving and the way it is laid can provide a strong design direction for the entire garden. For instance, grey or white stone laid in a random pattern will set the scene for a French country look. Black or silver paving organised in a regular design will form the perfect backdrop to a sleek and modern scheme, while golden stone arranged in a mixed pattern creates an English country feel.
If you want to create the garden of your dreams, attention to detail is everything. Create a beautiful scheme by coordinating your blooms with your choice of paving. For example:
• Grey or white stone looks great with purple and white blooms.
• Black and silver paving looks amazing with strong colours such as red, orange and yellow.
• Golden paving works with flowers that have soft tones – pink, lavender, and chalky yellow.
The best designs start with structural plants infilled with pretty, flowering plants. So use evergreen shrubs at the end of each border and as punctuation along the way. Include small shrubs such as box balls, or large evergreens, for example mahonia, for bigger areas. Once you have this frame, fill the gaps with pretty flowering plants. Try to stick to just five or six different types and arrange them in repeated patterns for a coordinated and harmonious effect.
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When you’re choosing flowering plants try to make some of them ‘out of season’ performers so you have some year-round colour, or put in spring and early summer bulbs to get the garden off to a great start.
When planning your garden, if you’re thinking of having a table, consider the space and allow enough room for each person to be able to sit comfortably and pull out their chair without hitting anything. And remember, you’ll also need room to walk around the table with everyone seated. It takes up much more space than you might think!
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In a small garden, boundary walls, fences or hedges may be the biggest element in view, so it’s really important to get them to look good. They don’t have to all be the same but try to provide visual links between them. You could have the same type of fence, for instance, and grow climbers up them in in coordinating colours. If you aren’t able to change the fences, whitewash them or clad them with battens or trellis. Check with your neighboursfirst to establish whose fence it is and ask permission before doing any work.
The most important rule with garden ornaments is to nestle them in with the planting. An ornament or water feature (great for wildlife!) plonked in the centre of an empty space is unlikely to look good. If it’s too small it will look lost and something too big will overwhelm the space.
Space-permitting, if you have the room, think about ways to make your garden more than just an outdoor area to eat, drink and soak up the sunshine. Make the garden an extension of your home by considering how you want it to feel. If you have a patio, simply extend the inside, outside. Or you can equally zone an area of your garden too. Think about how you can make it into a relaxing sanctuary with cosy garden decor and tactile furnishings. For example, invest in an outdoor rug (Cuckooland sell a great selection of Fab Hab rugs made from recycled plastic) with chunky knit throws, lanterns and outdoor cushions for a warm, inviting and cosy feel.
Speaking of lighting, please don’t underestimate how important it is to create atmosphere in your garden. Whether it’s a string of fairy lights or lanterns dotted about to create a garden path (Lights4Fun do some great designs), the lights you choose will bring real character to your space – and it’s essential for dining alfresco well into the evening.
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Vertical planting is key. Make use of fences and walls by planting upwards to maximise space and buy hanging baskets (these are great for front gardens too). In terms of paving, switch to gravel; it’s much more affordable. The most important thing to remember is that just because you have a small garden it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it and make the most of it. There are some great space-saving, foldable or stackable table and chair sets in high street shops that are perfect for compact spaces.
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Kids love going out in the garden for some playtime so make sure you’ve created an area or zoned off a section where they can play with their outdoor toys. While you would need to have a large garden to install a slide or playhouse, for more restricted spaces, sand tables or mud kitchen play sets in a corner will work great, and it will entertain kids for hours.
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Always consider the impact your garden design has on wildlife. For example, do your best to help bees by planting bee-friendly plants, speak to your neighbours about creating a hedgehog highway, and buy some bird feeders to hang on fences or from tree branches.
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