It's a myth that one continuous garden space - a lawn with borders around the edge, for example - makes it appear larger. This is actually achieved by breaking it into smaller spaces, creating a journey through the space.


Watch our video on the three golden rules of garden design.

Dividing the garden into sections means that you can create different areas for different functions - relaxing, growing veg and so on.

There are lots of simple but effective ways to achieve dividing the garden into sections, while increasing the sense of privacy in key areas, too. They could be a structure such as an archway, trellis or pergola, or soft landscaping such as a low hedge or herbaceous plants - or a combination of several of these.

Here are four ways to break up your garden space.

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Tall, airy plants

Tall yet see-through herbaceous plants such as Verbena bonariensis or ornamental grasses used in the foreground suggest division - drawing the eye into the distance, which increases the depth of field and creates a sense of space.

Verbena bonariensis used as a screen


Consider the ultimate height you want a hedge to be and think about views that might be blocked. Low hedges formalise and delineate areas, whereas taller hedges will increase privacy and enclosure. Choose an evergreen such as yew (Taxus baccata) or box if you want year-round structure.

A low yew hedge used as a divider


Simple archways come in a range of materials and create a 'door' from one area to another, adding immediate height. Once climbers mature, the structure often 'vanishes' visually.

A wire frame archway

Trellis and screens

Reed screens can be bought as ready-made panels and create a very different style to garden fence panels. They work as a boundary but can also be used to separate one area of the garden from another. Woven fencing can play a similar role.

Woven hazel fencing used as a garden divider

Five plants to grow on a trellis

  • Clematis montana 'Marjorie' – fast growing and scented
  • Clematis 'Warszawska Nike' – two flushes of purple flowers
  • Hedera algeriensis 'Gloire de Marengo' – variegated ivy
  • Lonicera japonica 'Halliana' – prune in spring to keep in check
  • Trachelospermum jasminoides – an easy climber for mild areas