A large garden is a fantastic outdoor space but can feel empty if there is not enough detail to add character and interest. How can you make your big garden feel cosier and little more intimate?
Like a big interior room, without features and detail, a large garden can seem characterless. With the gift of generous dimensions comes the ability to create the perfect outdoor space, especially when you consider these fantastic big garden design ideas…
Dens are not just for kids but for big kids too and with a generously proportioned garden, creating a tucked away space is perfect for adding detail.
It can be open to the elements and sculptural in design, a little bit like this open orb hidden at the end of a gravel track.
Surrounded by trees, it is the perfect forest get away. Why not create something similar in your own large garden?
A copse is a great way of adding detail to a large garden, but from a practical point of view, there are benefits to it too. As well as improving drainage with all those thirsty trees, they provide a mass of dappled shade, perfect for creating an intimate and romantic flair to the garden.
Often, what is missing from a larger garden is the connection between the different parts of it. Zoning a garden is a great way of adding detail as well as creating pockets for different functions, such as dining or playing.
By keeping a sense of cohesion between hard landscaping materials, the garden appeals to the eye more. Likewise, connecting it to the house in the same way also stops it feeling ‘separate’.
Use polished concrete in the house, continuing this material on the patio and beyond. Soften the edges with sympathetic planting. For contrast, use another material in smaller pockets in the garden, such as gravel.
The vastness of a garden is compounded by lack of focal points in it, something that we know is important in interior design and yet we rarely apply to the great outdoors.
As you walk out into the garden, where does your eye naturally fall? Add a feature to that area – a beautiful sculpture, for example – and fan out from there.
Use the nooks and crannies, and any quirkiness to your advantage. For example, in a shady corner, plant a cluster of shade-loving plants or why not add park benches and other garden furniture to key areas?
Zoning your garden is fantastic but creating a journey from one zone to another is perfect for creating a sense of wonder in the space – as well as being functional.
For example, gravel pathways that lead to a kitchen or walled garden promote a wow factor, as well as a more intimate feel to the larger garden. Soften the divide between zones with planting, as well as low-level fencing and hard landscaping.
In any garden, it is the hidden details that add a sense of intimacy to it. This is because people want to spend time there, discovering what is on offer.
As well as positioning garden furniture in different areas of the garden, use trailing and climbing plants on garden sculptures, introduce the sound of trickling water with a waterfall to tickle the senses and there is nothing like a fairy door hidden in the ivy on a tree trunk.
Different varieties of plants, species and colour also add an air of intimacy to the larger garden. But don’t think that because you have a generous proportion of outdoor space to work with, the only option is to go big.
Create pockets of planting that are intense and low level – from clusters of pretty scented plants to evergreen shrubs that continue to provide colour in winter, the range of planting options are many and varied.
And don’t forget how the soft glow of outdoor lighting can make the garden feel a less open, cavernous space.
If you do have a garden that is generously proportioned, then going BIG is an option. From ornate sculptures to trees, there are many ways that larger items add a feature to a space.
Use sparingly, however, as too many large objects become imposing, closing down your garden space too much.
Use curves to bring a fresh appeal to the garden, including curved walls and backdrops. Circles and curves naturally connect areas of the garden in a soft, understated way but for a more angular and specific design opt for clean, straight lines.
Garden design should support the way you use your garden, bringing an air of both function and intimacy in the larger outdoor space.
Anna is the marketing and office manager for Garden Benches – a premium supplier of high-quality wooden benches and other outdoor furniture.