How to design a garden

How to design a garden

Need help designing your garden? Browse our list of tips for inspiration.

When designing a garden it can be difficult to know where to begin. How do you assess the space, draw up a plan, start planting? And what about paths, boundaries, seating and screens?

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Whether you’re starting with a blank canvas or have inherited a garden that’s been designed by someone else, if your plot is small or shady, or you’re designing just one border, help is at hand. We’ve assembled a selection of garden design features to inspire and guide you through the process, from ways to break up a space to ideas for garden seating.

Gardening for beginners – 10 tips

Browse our garden design features, below.


The basics of garden design

How to design a garden
How to design a garden

If you’re starting from scratch it’s important to get to grips with the basics of garden design. Find out how to start a new garden, discover nine garden design tips, be inspired by flower show planting ideas and don’t miss Joe Swift’s three golden rules of garden design. If you’re looking for ways to divide the garden, see four ways to break up a space.


Designing a border

Garden border
Garden border

Do you have deep or narrow borders? What plants should you grow in them and have you considered colour schemes and planting styles? Discover plants for a prairie-style border. Learn how to design and plant up a border and how to combine plants. For more border design tips, see below.


Hard landscaping

Garden path with lavender growing along the edge
Garden path with lavender growing along the edge

Designing a garden isn’t just about plant choices. You may need to consider your boundaries – will you opt for a fence or hedge? And what about paths and seating areas? Discover 11 ideas for garden fences and nine ideas for garden seating. Perhaps a raised bed is on the agenda? For more inspiration on hard landscaping, see below.


Design tips for small gardens

Small patio garden
Small patio garden

Sometimes designing a small garden can be more difficult than designing a large one. Small gardens tend to have greater areas of shade, particularly if they’re narrow. Also, you may run the risk of trying to cram too much into the space. Find out how to make the most of a small garden. Be inspired by our tips for designing a front garden, and browse our list of ideas for designing a courtyard.


Other design ideas

Garden with yellow summer house
Garden with yellow summer house
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If you’re after something a little different, why not consider designing a gravel garden? Or how about an outdoor room? You could also browse our summer house ideas if you’re looking for more than a garden shed. Lighting may also be a consideration in your garden – discover six of the best garden lighting ideas. For inspiration on which trees to plant browse our pick of trees with attractive bark.