We have covered garden ideas of every manner in this guide, from coastal to English to vegetable garden ideas. Take inspiration to create a space that’s personal, and special, to you, whether a relaxed and informal family space, or a more formal garden design.
1. Grow A Garden You Can Bring Indoors
If you love flowers, why not plan a cut flower garden? All this really involves is planning your planting around the blooms you love. It might be that you indulge in typical English garden ideas, such as rose garden ideas, for example, or perhaps Mediterranean garden ideas are more suited to your local climate?
‘Plant roses among grasses and perennials, with the plan to let them intermingle,’ says award-winning garden designer Colm Joseph. ‘When choosing roses, go for those with simpler, open flowers that are closer to the wild or hedgerow roses, rather than anything too ornamental or blousy. Although wild roses only usually flower once in early summer, they produce beautiful hips for fall and winter interest.’
And if you’re looking to keep your roses – and all other plants – healthy, then you may need to learn how to add calcium to soil. This act will ensure the soil is at the best pH for growth as they encourage strong cell walls that ensure the plant grows upright.
2. Grow A Kitchen Or Herb Garden
‘If you are a beginner to gardening or have little time for maintaining a garden, herb garden ideas are simple and satisfying,’ says Homes & Gardens‘ garden editor Rachel Crow. ‘You can grow enough in a container like the one above, in a window planter or even indoors.’
3. Pack A Punch In A Narrow Space
If you are looking for plenty of planting but have a thin plot, look to clever narrow garden ideas. One of the best is to put in neat raised beds and layer planting, from tall to mid-height to low to make your flower beds pack a punch.
‘Planting trees to espalier is a good way to create screening and plenty of greenery without allowing trees’ branches to protrude into a narrow garden,’ says Rachel Crow.
4. Create A Garden That Loves Dry Conditions
If you are looking for coastal garden ideas, it pays to plan a dry garden that can withstand a lack of rain, and look to south-facing garden ideas for ways to mitigate against the potential lack of shelter and more extreme weather.
‘Putting in coastal plants will save you the heartache of losing plants you love but which just aren’t suited to the conditions,’ says Lucy Searle, Editor in Chief of Homes & Gardens. ‘If the climate in your zone is wetter, you can look to include tropical garden ideas, but the key to success is always to pick plants that suit your locale.’
5. Consider Plants For A North-Facing Plot
If your garden gets little natural light, you’ll need to look specifically for north-facing garden ideas. For your borders, this includes the best shade plants, including the best shrubs for shade that can keep your garden green throughout summer and winter.
But it will also include tricks to keep the garden light and bright, from choosing white-flowering plants to laying pale-colored, light-reflecting stone or wood for your patio. There are many different white garden ideas you could try.
6. Plant A Sensory Space
Sensory garden ideas can be incorporated into any garden’s design, whatever its style or size.
‘Sensory gardens are all about the emotional and physical effects they have on you,’ explains Homes & Gardens‘ Digital Editor Jennifer Ebert. ‘This includes everything from sensory garden plants, which are a real treat for the senses, through to the textures you can enjoy visually and through touch of the materials you choose for your hard landscaping. Even the sound of trickling water can be a sensory treat, and of course, blocks out the sound of everything from traffic to neighbors.’
7. Plan Vertical Planting Into A Small Space
‘Don’t be afraid to use tall or upright plants to emphasize the verticality of your plot,’ says gardening writer Natasha Goodfellow. ‘Sloping gardens can be difficult to work with but they are also often far more interesting and appear larger than a flatter site.’
8. Plant Sustainably
Sustainable garden ideas really ought to be higher up on our list. So where to start? Gardening sustainably is all about planting what will thrive in your local climate so that you have to have as little input as possible in maintaining them with precious resources, such as water, for example.
‘If possible, start with the structure: trees, then hedges, shrubs and climbers,’ says Marian Boswall, author of Sustainable Garden. ‘After that, consider herbaceous perennials and, finally, annuals.’
9. Create A View
Designing a vista that you can enjoy just a step from your property is top of the garden ideas wish list. Think about how entertaining spaces can flow out from the house with seating areas and smart patio ideas.
In this total overhaul of an overgrown five acre site, central to the design is the large terrace area that sweeps around the house allowing views straight out from the kitchen and living room across colourful borders to the lake and wildflower meadow beyond.
‘To maintain those views, patio planting across the terrace is predominantly low with swathes of colour from Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’, Rosmarinus ‘Tuscan Blue’ and Veronica umbrosa ‘Georgia Blue’,’ says Claire Merriman of Claire Merriman Design.
‘Repeated spheres of Elaeagnus ebbingei, Hebe topiaria and Pittosporum tobira Nanum pull the areas of the terrace together while stunning multi-stem Koelreuteria paniculata trees allow views out into the wider landscape.’
Pots on the terrace allow seasonal planting to be added throughout the year.
10. Design With Water In Mind
Water is a wonderful element to incorporate into outdoor spaces. Not only will it attract wildlife but the sight and sound can be incredibly soothing especially in town scenarios.
‘The magnificent scale of an antique limestone trough adds immediate importance to this city garden,’ says garden designer Butter Wakefield. ‘It effortlessly creates a sense of drama whilst providing a focal point to the immense side elevation of the house.’
For unique water feature ideas, frame a trough like this with a combination of white and pale pink climbing roses and the evergreen jasmine.
11. Divide A Large Lawn With Hedges
‘Over-large lawns can feel purpose-less,’ says designer Charlotte Rowe. Dividing the space into garden rooms will ensure that green spaces have different purposes, such as a terrace area for eating or a patch for growing vegetables.
In this project, a rethink of a garden resulted in two lawns separated by layers of box and hornbeam as well as pleached hornbeam trees, which is among the ideas for landscaping with evergreens.
‘The pleached central hedge cleverly divides the garden, but also allows views down into the shadier part of the garden where the owners have raised garden beds with vegetables and salads as well as a garden shed,’ adds Charlotte Rowe.
Subtle lighting makes this garden atmospheric at night – key trees and pleached hornbeams are uplit while Cor-Ten steel posts, with a rusty finish, create low level lighting along the gravel paths.
This is one of many backyard landscaping ideas for bigger gardens.
12. Create Presence And Proportion
In big open spaces, this is one of those garden ideas where it is possible to create interest and intrigue with large-scale topiary and symmetry. The classical Georgian style house in this project, designed by Jo Alderson Phillips and Rob Jones, needed a garden of equal presence and proportion and was built on the site of a neglected tennis court.
‘The anchors here are a succession of yew topiary domes leading through each colour coordinated garden with the owner’s sculptures creating beautiful sight lines,’ say the designers. ‘We bought the topiary, which each weighed two tonnes, at Solitair in Belgium, a nursery that specialises in these fantastic mature specimens.’
Hedges and intriguing doorways around the garden are planted with Ilex crenata ‘Dark Green’ (Japanese box) and more structural evergreens are provided by umbrella pruned Pinus sylvestris with Osmanthus fragrans providing scent later in the year.