Garden path running along a border

Ideas for a new-build garden

New garden? We recommend ways to transform a bare, empty plot.

The gardens of new-build houses are usually left as blank canvasses, often with just a lawn and no borders.

Advertisement

Before you start making changes, familiarise yourself with the climate of your space, its orientation and soil type. Also, consider any existing features, such as patios and fencing, which can affect the feel of the ‘finished’ garden.

More garden design content:

Browse our ideas, below, for your new-build garden, including low-cost solutions.


Create a path

Feature path made with wooden sleepers
Feature path made with wooden sleepers

A curved path is a brilliant way of making a smaller garden feel bigger. It’s also a quick way to divide the garden into smaller areas that can be planted up or used for seating and dining.


Grow aromatic plants

Night-scented stock
Night-scented stock

There are plenty of aromatic plants you can grow, from night-scented flowering plants to richly perfumed and wildlife-friendly herbs.

Video: Watch Monty create an area for scented plants in his garden.


Start a veg garden

No-dig raised beds for veg
No-dig raised beds for veg

You don’t need lots of space to grow your own fruit, veg and herbs. If the soil is poor, as is often the case in new-build gardens, consider installing raised beds. You can grow ornamental plants in these, too.

Space-saving crops to grow


Build a patio

Raised seating area in a small new-build garden
Raised seating area in a small new-build garden

A raised area for sitting, eating and relaxing could form an attractive focal point of your new garden. Raising this area by 20cm or so will help the area feel more distinct from the rest of the space and give you a better view.


Work with clay soil

Daylily 'Red Twister'
Daylily ‘Red Twister’

The soil in new-build gardens is often poor, as some developers scrape off and sell the topsoil, leaving poorly drained clay subsoil below. Fortunately, there are various ways to improve clay and heavy soils and plenty of flowers, trees and shrubs that will thrive in them.


Create raised beds

Freshly filled raised beds
Freshly filled raised beds

Raised above the original soil level in your garden, raised beds can be a good option if you have very heavy, acidic or alkaline soil. Take a look at our gardening tips for raised beds to get you started.


Plant up borders

Borders running along a garden path
Borders running along a garden path

When marking out new borders, be generous – they fill up quickly and, once planted, they appear smaller than they are. Check out our border-themed features for ideas and further advice.


Create a mini-grove

Multi-stem birch trees planted amongst paving
Multi-stem birch trees planted amongst paving

Overlooked garden? A mini-grove of trees could be just the solution. If you stick to small trees, you won’t need as much space as you might think. A closely planted group of birches is ideal – their white trunks have a brightening effect while the foliage provides a shady canopy – perfect for a restful and private retreat.

Advertisement

Tips for improving new-build garden soil

  • Lawns on heavy, wet soils may start to look sparse, particularly in wet winter weather. Consider lifting the existing turf and starting again. Find out how to prepare ground for a new lawn
  • If you do this, keep the strips of turf, which can be turned into good soil to be used in the garden. Find out what to do with spare lawn turf
  • Whatever your soil type, adding organic matter to it will improve its structure and fertility. Take a look at at the types of organic matter you could use
  • Heavy rain can compact the soil surface, creating a ‘pan’. Break up the soil surface with a fork to prevent a pan forming
  • Don’t walk on the soil after heavy rain – this will compact it further. Stand on a plank when digging or planting