The garden is very much an extension of your home. Just as a house consists of different rooms designed around your needs and your lifestyle, your garden should be considered an additional ‘room’ which can be used for whatever you enjoy doing, whether that be lounging, entertaining guests or even cooking.
No matter the type and size of your garden, thinking about designing it can be a daunting task. There are an endless number of dimensions that differ between any outdoor space, including scale, texture, colour, structure, light, dark (and so much more), however, once you get going, it’s not so much about strict rules as it is personal preference!
With that being said, there are a few main points you should consider when designing your garden:Make a wish list
Think about how you want to utilise your outdoor space and what you want to get out of it. How are you going to use it and what do you need to make that happen? Garden design is extremely personal, so it’s important to be sure of your specific needs and wants, and then be able to communicate this effectively to a landscaper or garden designer (if you’re using one) before you can create a tailored design.
Consider every aspect of your current lifestyle when picturing your ‘dream’ garden – do you want to be able to lie out in the sun all day with the option of a covered area for the colder, wetter months? Do you have young children who require a safe play area or a large lawn? If you’re part of a large family, storage space may be a priority for you, or if you like to entertain, do you have space for a hot tub, barbeque, or even an outdoor kitchen?Outdoor seating
A good place to start with your garden design is an outdoor seating and dining area. If your outside space is smaller, stick to a simple design such as a small patio or decking area positioned as close to the house as possible.
If your garden is larger, spend some time thinking about the best way to divide up the space without it appearing ‘empty’. Do you want to opt for a more traditional dining table and chairs, comfortable loungers or even outdoor bean bags? If you like to entertain, you may want to consider installing an outdoor bar with seating, or even a more contemporary and cosy ‘sunken’ seating area around a fire pit, surrounded by decking or underneath a pergola.Shade & shelter
You can change the overall look and feel of your garden by simply adding elements that allow you to play with light and shade. Outdoor shading products such as patio awnings and canopies are popular within many residential properties as they provide a quick, easy and affordable solution to transform any outdoor space.
Unlike an extension, patio awnings are not considered a permanent structure, so planning permission is typically not required. The primary use of your patio along with the position of the sun when it sets/rises and surrounding objects such as trees and fences will help determine which external shading product is best for you.
A canopy or awning with a shorter projection will effectively cover a small outdoor dining table, however, if you like to entertain al-fresco on a regular basis, a larger projection is highly recommended! Dimmable LED lighting, zone controlled infra-red heating and weather sensors can also help create a comfortable indoor/outdoor living space that can be used 365 days a year.Image Credit: As part of a recent project, award-winning landscaper, Landscapia, installed the Caribbean Blinds Outdoor Living Pod™ within a residential property in Stourbridge, West Midlands.
Introduce a focal point
Create a focal point in your garden by choosing a point of interest and opening up the space to that vista. Alternatively, create your own vista by using a large object such as a water feature, bench, trough or tree.
Architectural structures including pergolas also work well as a focal point in any garden, no matter the size of the space. As well as looking aesthetically pleasing, they are practical too and can be used as the basis to create an additional seating area with shade and shelter for use all year round.
A structure such as a pergola will also create height within your garden, drawing the eye to a specific point and giving a large space increased interest. Many people choose to build an extension or conservatory with the aim of gaining more space with a better connection to the garden, however, this can often result in significant green space being lost, while offering little escape from the confines of the indoors.
To summarise, be sure to play with scale and be bold in your choices, no matter your style preference. Whether you prefer the softer, natural feel or the more clean, contemporary ‘Pinterest’ look, stick to your guns and ensure the same style is portrayed strongly throughout.