How to design a garden
Learn how to design a garden with our fascinating, in-depth guide. Covering layouts, plans and ideas for front gardens, paths, borders, flower beds and more.
For peace and relaxation, or a space for children to learn and explore, our gardens have many uses. Gardens have limitless potential, giving you the chance to create a functional and beautiful space that works for you and your family.
If you’ve always had a dream garden in your mind, then you can achieve this by designing your own garden. But to do this you must understand how to design, plan and build a garden.
Keep reading as we look at how to design a garden from scratch, including tips for creating gardens on a budget, garden paths, flower beds and more.
How to design a garden
When it comes to designing a garden, it’s worth considering a wide range of options before you narrow your search down. Looking for inspiration is key to creating a space that suits you and other family members.
Below is a list of places to look for ideas and tips when learning how to start designing your garden:
- Garden centres and other people’s gardens
- Professional gardens and stately homes
- Gardening magazines
- Ask friends and family for tips
- Speak to a professional gardener
How to design a garden from scratch
If your garden layout doesn’t suit your needs, it may be time to learn how to design a garden from scratch. This way your outside space is a blank canvas that you can design exactly to your taste and requirements.
Below are a number of tips to help you build your ideal garden:
- Start by clearing any dead plants, rubble and broken furniture away, stripping your garden back to basics.
- One of the most important steps is to sit down and plan out your budget. This way you can be sure you aren’t overspending.
- Another crucial step is to learn about the different plants and flowers you wish to include in your garden. Ensure you are planting at the right time of year, in the right location and with the right care.
- Next, plan what you need to buy. This may include things like plants, flowers, stones, hedges, furniture and water features.
- If you’re struggling to design your garden, consider contacting a landscape gardener using our free search feature.
- It’s usually a good idea to start planning at the beginning of the year, aiming to finish your garden in the summer.
- One of the best ways to design your garden is to use our ideas guides. They are packed with inspiration and handy suggestions to guide you through creating your unique garden. Just click the following links to learn more:
- Creating a landscaped garden ideas guide
- Sloped garden ideas guide
- Low maintenance garden design ideas guide
How to design a garden layout
When it comes to building your perfect garden, a little research and planning go a long way. It’s always worth drawing up sketches to help you visualise the final design. If you’re wondering how to plan a garden layout, just use the following guidance:
- Use Pinterest to create boards with pins of other garden layouts you like.
- Choose a colour scheme. This can be anything from tropical reds and yellows to beautiful pinks and purples.
- Decide whether to make your garden more private using fences or hedges.
- A great option for a garden layout is to plan different areas for socialising or for kids and pets to play and relax.
- Consider separating zones of your garden using hedges or fencing.
- Draw a scale plan of your garden before beginning.
- Consider garden aspects, e.g., is your garden North, South, East or West facing?
How to design flower beds
Flower beds can help to not only beautify your garden but can also set different moods. For example, soft pastel colours can be soothing, or more bold colours can create a modern feel to your garden. The below ideas are all great ways to design flower beds:
- Choose different colours that complement your garden design scheme.
- Choose your preferred flower types and ensure you meet their specific needs.
- Choose a mixture of perennials, annuals and bulbs so your garden looks incredible throughout the year.
- Decide whether to have a theme like a cottage garden or Japanese garden.
- Plan the size of your flower bed and its location carefully to suit your garden layout.
- Consider the height and width that your plants will reach. For example, tall plants should be positioned at the back of your flower bed. Remember to make sure your plants aren’t tall enough to block any of your home’s windows.
- Buy multiples of different plants to ensure your bed flows well.
- Consider adding a focal point like a large or attention-grabbing plant.
How to design a garden border
Garden borders are a great way of adding colour and life to an otherwise dull garden. Don’t forget, it’s a good idea to plan exactly how you want your border to look before getting started. Wondering how to design a garden border? Try the below tips:
- Ensure your border ties in with the rest of your garden. You can also consider using similar colours and types of plants throughout the border.
- Look to other gardens for colour, plant type and layout inspiration.
- Choose a theme and colour scheme to match your garden and home.
- Think about how you will maintain your garden border. This may be through watering or feeding your plants.
- Use multiples of different plants to create a cohesive feel.
- Plant your border in layers from tall plants at the back to shorter ones at the front.
How to design a garden on a budget
If you’re struggling for money, this doesn’t mean you can’t create a beautiful, functional garden. In fact, the following ideas are perfect for anyone wanting to know how to design a garden on a budget:
- Look for affordable flowers and create small flower beds.
- Do any work and maintenance yourself rather than hiring a gardener.
- Ask friends and family if they have any garden furniture they don’t need that you can use in your garden.
- Ask your family or friends whether you can take clippings of their plants to save you buying new ones.
- Refurbish old garden furniture instead of buying new furniture.
- Use pallets to create furniture. You can often collect these used pallets for free, then you just need to join them together and add cushions for stunning outdoor furniture.
- Spruce up old plant pots.
- Paint or stain your fencing, making it look like new.
How to design a front garden
Your front garden is the first thing visitors see when they come to your home. As such, it’s vital the outside space at the front of your home is properly designed and maintained. In addition, your neighbours will be thankful you took the time to help beautify your street.
Looking for tips on how to design a front garden? Try the following ideas:
- Ensure you have a way of accessing your home from the street using a path or driveway.
- Consider how private you want your front garden to be. If you spend a lot of time in your front garden, you may wish to add a bush or fence for privacy.
- Use a design scheme that works with your home. If your home has cottage vibes, a pretty and colourful front garden may be perfect, or if your home is modern, consider using topiary and slate.
- Try to tie in your garden with your neighbours’ gardens to enhance the appearance of your street.
- Consider adding a low fence and gate if you have children or dogs. This will prevent them from running off if you choose to spend time in your front garden.
- Disguise your wheelie bins.
- If your front garden is small, you can still improve the appearance of your home by adding hanging baskets by your front door.
How to design a garden path
Paths are not only a way of getting from A to B, but they can also influence the aesthetics of your home and garden. A well-designed path should be practical and suit the design scheme of your garden.
To design a garden path use the below suggestions:
- Decide where your garden path will begin, then plan the route it will take. Make sure it’s easy to follow while suiting your garden’s shape and layout.
- Plan how wide your path needs to be depending on its level of usage. If multiple people will be using the path at the same time, a wider path may be better.
- Decide what materials to use. You can choose to use paving, concrete, slate or gravel. In fact, you can even use tree stumps to make a fun path for children to use.
- Make sure the materials you use work with the rest of your garden’s design scheme.
- Consider adding plants along the edges of your path.
Should I hire a professional garden landscaper?
Designing and creating your ideal garden can be a complicated and long process.
Hiring a landscape gardener will help to reduce the pressure and stress of doing the work yourself. With years of experience, an expert can perfectly plan the layout of your garden in a way that suits the space and your needs.
If you’re considering hiring an expert, our handy search feature can connect you with a range of trusted professionals at the push of a button. You can also read customer reviews and see examples of their past work on their profile pages.
How much does it cost to hire a landscape gardener?
If you’re looking for fantastic results quickly, using a professional landscape gardener is a great choice. Luckily our garden landscaping cost guide is full of prices and helpful information to assist with your project.