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20 Garden Ideas To Bring Your Garden To Life

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If you’re looking for garden inspiration, you are in the right place! Gardening is a common hobby, but knowing how to design a garden is quite different. Fortunately, we have some garden ideas to help kickstart your creativity. Whether you have a small balcony or a sprawling backyard, you can adapt these ideas to suit any space and budget. So, if you’re ready to get your hands dirty and transform your outdoor space, read on for some garden inspiration.

1. Start Your Garden With Mature Trees

Mature trees are a great starting point for building a planting scheme and bring many benefits to a garden. For example, trees will help block the glare and UV rays of the sun, filter air and noise pollution, cover unattractive views and screen your garden from neighbours or passersby.

Here are some great mature trees that you could include in your garden ideas:

  • Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)
  • Dogwood (Cornus florida)
  • Magnolia (Magnolia spp.)
  • Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
  • Serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.)
  • Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
  • Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
  • Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)
  • River Birch (Betula nigra)
  • Weeping Cherry (Prunus subhirtella)

2. Bring Your Lawn Up To Date

The lawn is often the most noticeable part of your garden, and you don’t want to neglect it in your garden designs. So, get it into shape! Keep your lawn mowed and weeded, and fertilise or water it when necessary. However, don’t be afraid to make your lawn your own. You can cut and trim it to any shape to add a unique edge to your garden – rectangular, circular, diamond – the choice is yours. 

Read our winter lawn care tips to keep your lawn well-maintained all year round. 

3. Plan Your Planting Scheme 

woman standing on garden pathway

The best garden design focuses on structural plants boosted with pretty blooms of colour and foliage. So, to make the most of your garden, make sure your planting scheme is solid. For example, you can use evergreen bushes at the edge of each border and intermittently throughout the flower beds to create a structured base for more colourful plants.

4. Create A Living Wall With Vertical Gardening

A living wall is a vertical structure to which gardeners attach greenery and plants, and they are a popular element in many garden designs. A living wall is the way to go if you want to embrace vertical gardening in your garden ideas. However, remember to choose the plants best suited to your gardens’ conditions for a thriving finish. 

5. Try Square Foot Gardening

Square foot gardening is the perfect way to make raised beds work for you. Efficient and high yielding, a square-foot garden involves planting vegetables in raised beds divided into squares at a density that depends on the size of the plants. For example, due to their density, you could plant 13 radish seeds in one square but only one tomato plant in another. 

6. Create Unique Planters

gardener planting up a container garden

Almost anything can be used as a planter if your chosen vessel has good drainage. Fortunately, with a drill and a few minutes of spare time, you can make objects of all shapes and sizes perfect planters by drilling a few holes into the bottom. Creating unique planters from items like toolboxes or mason jars will give your garden ideas a quirky edge that expresses your style and personality without overwhelming the space.

Some other unique ideas for planters include:

  • Teacups and teapots
  • Mason jars
  • Old boots
  • Tin cans
  • Wine barrels
  • Toolboxes
  • Colanders
  • Pallets
  • Birdcages
  • Tires

7. Start Training Climbing Plants

Climbing plants are an excellent addition to any garden, and the twining blooms of colour can help make your garden ideas pop. You can train climbing plants to drape tastefully over doorways, arches or pergolas or encourage them to grow over bare walls. All you need is a garden stake to start climbing plants. 

Read More: 10 Beautiful Climbing Plants For Arches

8. Choose The Right Furniture

Choosing the right furniture is vital, as unfitting furniture will harm your garden design. So, choose your furniture to fit the garden. For example, if you’re looking for small garden ideas, folding pieces of furniture or a wooden bench will likely benefit you. However, if you have more space, large furniture collections, like a wooden bench set or a teak dining set surrounding a large fire pit would fit your needs. 

9. Make Wildlife Feel Welcome

garden with open gate

Running a wildlife garden benefits the gardener, their garden and the wildlife that make it their home. Unfortunately, many garden designs don’t consider their impact on wildlife. So, make sure to change this in yours! For example, you could plant flowers to attract bees, hang bird feeders in trees, or create a hedgehog highway.

10. Add A Water Feature

Water features make an excellent addition to any garden since they create a tranquil atmosphere. And there are so many water features to consider for your garden. For example, you could add a pond, a fountain, water rills, or a water sculpture. 

11. Direct Your Garden Ideas With Paving

Paving can make all the difference in a garden; you don’t have to choose traditional layouts. The colour and arrangement of your paving can help you direct your garden ideas. For example, you could lay silver or black paving in a regular design to complement a sleek, contemporary garden. On the other hand, you could bring an English garden to life with a mixed pattern of gold stone. 

12. Extend Your Living Space

an open garden design with ornamental gates

Making your garden an extension of your living space is a common garden design element because it provides additional entertaining options and gives you the perfect place to relax. To extend your living space, you must create cohesion from your indoor space to your garden. For instance, you could use the same colour scheme or similar decor accents in both areas to tie the spaces together. Alternatively, creating additional space in the garden with a timber garden building would provide a versatile living space that adds value to your property and looks great in the garden

13. Don’t Neglect Your Boundaries

It’s easy to forget about your boundary walls, but they can factor into your garden ideas for a cohesive finish. By creating a visual link between your boundaries, whether walls, fences or instant hedges, you will tie them into your garden and finish the look. 

14. Seamlessly Combine Different Levels

Working with different levels is best with garden ideas rather than neglecting them. You’ll want the different levels of your garden to flow together rather than stick out, so consider how you can achieve this. For example, you can allow your lawn to spread across different levels, install decking, or add ramps or steps. 

15. Make It Family-Friendly

A family garden caters to everyone and gives each household member a reason to spend time outdoors. Depending on your family’s needs, you could include a seating area, a playground, an outdoor kitchen, or a small zen garden. Whatever you want from your garden, make it work for everyone. 

16. Create Different Zones With Screening

Screening areas of your garden to create ‘zones’ is one of the best small garden ideas, as it can expand a space and make it feel bigger. However, zoning isn’t only useful for limited spaces! Creating zones helps you make the best use of your garden, reduces clutter and improves focus for a more efficient garden. Consider the many ways you would like to use your garden, and you can start your zoning mission from there. 

17. Style Out Garden Ornaments

Garden ornaments add a touch of fun to the space, but placing them well is vital. Typically, garden features placed in the middle of a space will not look appealing. To make your garden ornaments look their best, we’d recommend nestling them within your planting scheme. 

18. Maximise Your Small Space

A small garden doesn’t mean you can’t maximise your outdoor space. There are plenty of small garden design ideas that you can make use of, including:

  • Vertical gardening
  • Hanging baskets
  • Flexible furniture
  • Layered planting
  • Mini herb/vegetable gardens

Read More: How To Make A Small Garden Look Bigger

19. Build A Garden Room

Garden rooms are great if you want to maximise your interior space, and they provide you with plenty of extra space. If you want a change of scenery for your yoga studio or home office, a garden room will give you the perfect opportunity. And a garden room doesn’t have to be fancy – you can transform a large shed or summerhouse into the perfect garden room without too much work. 

20. Light Up Your Garden Ideas

After putting all the effort into choosing, crafting and completing your garden ideas, you want to see the results! Hence one of the most beneficial ideas for garden design: lighting! There are plenty of outdoor lighting options that will put your garden in the best light, such as:

  • Solar-powered lights
  • String lights
  • Spotlights
  • Lanterns
  • Path lights
  • Floodlights
  • Underwater lights

Put Our Garden Ideas To Good Use

Creating a beautiful garden is a rewarding experience that brings many benefits, from reducing stress to improving air quality. With the garden ideas we’ve shared, you can create a space that looks stunning and serves a purpose. But don’t be afraid to try new things and make mistakes – that’s how you learn and grow as a gardener. Happy gardening!

FAQs

Where Do I Start When Designing A Garden?

  • Assessing your space: Evaluate your garden’s size, shape, and features, such as sunlight and soil type. This will help you determine what plants will thrive in your space and how to arrange them best.
  • Setting your goals: Consider what you want to achieve with your garden. Do you want to create a relaxing retreat, grow vegetables, or attract pollinators like bees and butterflies? Your goals will influence the type of plants you choose and how you arrange them.
  • Choosing a style: Decide on a theme or style that reflects your personality and complements your home. This could be anything from a cottage garden to a modern, minimalist space.
  • Planning your layout: Sketch out a rough plan of how you want to arrange your plants, pathways, and other garden features. Consider factors such as focal points, colour schemes, and plant heights to create a balanced and visually appealing design.
  • Selecting your plants: Choose plants suited to your climate and soil type and fit your design goals and theme. Consider factors such as bloom time, colour, and texture to create a cohesive and visually interesting garden.
  • Adding garden features: Incorporate unique features such as water features, sculptures, or garden structures to add interest and visual appeal to your garden.
  • Maintaining your garden: Regularly maintain your garden by watering, pruning, and fertilising your plants to keep them healthy and thriving.

What Time Of Year Is Best For A Garden Makeover?

Autumn is a great time for garden makeovers because the soil is still warm, encouraging root growth, and cooler temperatures reduce the risk of heat stress on newly planted trees and shrubs. Additionally, many garden centres offer discounted prices on plants and supplies during the fall season.

Early spring is also a good time for garden makeovers, as the soil begins warming up and plants emerge from dormancy. This is a great time to plant spring-blooming bulbs and perennials and shrubs that will establish themselves before the summer heat arrives.

Is It Worth Getting A Garden Designer?

Ultimately, the decision to hire a garden designer comes down to your own personal preferences and budget. If you have a complex project or are trying to figure out where to start, a garden designer can be a valuable resource. But if you have a clear vision for your garden and are comfortable doing your own research and planning, you can create a beautiful and functional garden on your own.

Resources

Naava (n.d.). What are green walls? Retrieved April 18, 2023, from https://www.naava.io/editorial/what-are-green-walls 

Homes & Gardens (n.d.). Garden zoning: how to divide your garden into different areas. Retrieved April 18, 2023, from https://www.homesandgardens.com/advice/garden-zoning 

Anna Sharples

Anna is the marketing and office manager for Garden Benches - a premium supplier of high-quality wooden benches and other outdoor furniture.

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