Home GardenDesign Top 10 Garden Design Tips

Top 10 Garden Design Tips

by a Friendly Gardener
Backyard garden with many plants and trees

Have you just bought your first home and you need a wonderful garden with beautiful flowers, lawns, nice paths, and different plants? Do you want to redesign your garden? Well, take it easy! I understand it can be a restless experience, and to some, it can sound like a nightmare. Worry no more because we got you covered with ten tips for your garden design.

Why would you need a well-designed garden anyway? One apparent and most significant reason for nice gardens is to cool down and warm up your home: enhancing the outlook. It’s also a good way of increasing the value of your property. Finally, you’ll get to enjoy relaxing surroundings.

Let’s get into our top 10 garden design tips you should use. These tips are from various designers and past experiences.


1. Consider Suitable Garden Levels

Depending on the geographical location, various homes have different levels. Some are flat, while others are sloppy/uneven. There is always a way to bring out the best design for your garden.

If you have an even garden, then you may probably consider making creative transitions. One of the unique ideas is to level down some sections of the garden. However, it boils down to your personal preference.

On the other hand, if you have a slope in your garden, you will either live with it or terrace it. However, you still have the option of designing a “hybrid” level on your garden from the slope. If the slope of your garden isn’t severe, you can live with it. Nevertheless, you will have to embrace free-flowing curve designs in your garden.

If a sloping garden is very steep, you will have to do terracing to attain levels that run from top to bottom. It’s a good idea for you to have three to four steps per level. Mind you; the most comfortable steps should measure 6 inches and below.

Finally, you may integrate all of the ideas mentioned above into your design. For instance, a flat lawn level that slopes to the rest of the garden section.

Select what’s most suitable for you.


2. Redesign your Paths and Paving

Tropical plants in a narrow alley next to a house

The size of your garden highly affects the size of your paths. However, you should have fairly sized paths.

If by chance your garden is more spacious, then consider paths of approximately 48 inches wide. That’s enough space for two people walking alongside. For a homeowner with a tight space, an 18-inch wide path is a good one.

You must also have to keep in mind that tall plantings or structures along your paths make it appear shallower. Therefore, consider what won’t create a restricted feeling in your space. Finally, design your garden paths with curves.

We all understand the impact paving can have on a garden from its style and colors. Consider paving with colors that complement each other. For instance, black & silver, grey & white, cream & brown, grey & charcoal, tan & brown etc.

Additionally, selecting your paving style and colors should be based on several aspects such as your border, emotions, exterior home colors, a particular theme or/and style. Common paving styles include brick, slate, tile, cobble, flagstone, and weathered stone.


3. What about the Future?

Sprinkler hose in the grass

If you’re establishing a new garden or rehabilitating it, electrical lighting and irrigation might not be a necessity at that particular moment. However, it’s always a good idea for you to design your garden with a future mind. What if you need the lighting or an irrigation system sooner or later?

For that reason, have irrigation piping and electrical conduit as part of your design. Both should be 18 inches beneath the ground and sited close to bed edges and alongside pathways.

This kind of design makes it stress-free to do plumbing or wiring works in your garden someday without interrupting your paving and plantings.


4. Distances & Spaces are Critical

Backyard garden alley with many trees

Design your garden with an outdoor space enough to accommodate your family members and desired number of guests. Ensure people are in congestion, and there is room for free movement as people interact.

Also, observe a distance of at least 24 inches from the patio edges and paths to plants. It makes the paths look clear. Remember this space is where we stated above that it’s suitable for the conduit and piping systems.

In case you need archways and arbors to support climbing and vine plants, you must be considerate of their heights. When these kinds of designs are part of your garden, ensure you have at least 84 inches of height from the ground. It provides enough headroom for any adult of standard height.


5. Get the Appropriate Plantings and Trees

Plants and trees in a greenhouse with an alley in the middle

You don’t need any plantings and trees in your garden. You ought to imagine how the plantings will look like and how big the trees will be once they mature. Also, it’s good to be considerate of the plant colors you may want to achieve.

Use about six different types of plants in your garden. Positions evergreen shrubs at the end of each border and a few along the line. Structural plants with flowers are what should follow along. You may also enhance your garden with perennial plants as you place them in groups around your garden.

Plantings in a container are a good idea that offers flexibility; thus, you can move it in various parts of the garden.

Consider planting evergreen trees since they maintain the foliage during the winter season. Be aware of the length and width the trees will attain in the future after maturity.


6. Reconsider Your Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor dining table with food and drinks on it

Do not just set any piece of furniture in your garden as a homeowner. Your outdoor living space can change the overall outlook when you have set up the most suitable furniture.

Get that furniture that can withstand the harsh conditions outside yet is easy to maintain. However, comfortability must not be compromised. Homeowners should have appropriate colors on their furniture. Nevertheless, neutral shades are preferable since you can easily blend up with other colors of choice.

Finally, the furniture comes in different sizes and shapes; thus, select that suits your available space. Additionally, it’s worth investing in a dual-purpose type of furniture but not necessary.


7. Lighting Your Garden

Decorative lights in a tree

Natural and artificial lights are very significant in a garden. Natural light is essential for plant growth; therefore, ensure your trees do not shade other plants from direct sunlight all day. Similarly, the same natural light should have enough space to reach your patio during the day.

For the night hours, light up your garden using artificial lights. Consider LED lights over halogen lights for your outdoor space. Your electrician should also position the lights in different spots, such as on the fence, walls, patio edges, trees, and along the pathways. Adequate lighting ensures you still enjoy your garden even when the sun goes down.


8. Redesign Your Boundaries

Metal gate in a park surrounded by trees

Boundaries are vital structures in a garden. However, depending on your budget and patience, you can select between hedges, walls, and fences. You can as well consider a combo of the three.

If you need an instant boundary, a fence or a wall will be more effective. A hedge takes time to grow. Also, if you select hedges, you must plan for regular trimming.

However, you can still integrate a fence with climbers to enhance the natural aspect of your garden.


9. Check with Your Neighbors

2 Barns with a wood fence

It’s your garden, but some garden changes are likely to affect your neighbors directly or indirectly. For instance, certain trees upon maturity will block your neighbors’ view or block sunlight from reaching their property. Another example is installing lights on your garden that directly reflects on your neighbor’s windows. Some plants might also spread seeds to their compound, and it’s not their favorite plant to tolerate around their homes.

Basically, some minor or significant changes might affect how you dwell with your neighbors for years. Be cautious and considerate!


10. Shape and Maintain Your Lawn

Backyard garden with many trees and a maze design

Lastly, your lawn should be in shape with attractive green color grass. Remember, the lawn is a perfect spot in the garden to play and relax with your family.

Regularly fertilize and water your lawn when needed. Also, frequently mow the grass on your lawn, cutting 1/3 of the grass each mowing. Last but not least, create perfect and clean edges on your lawn using the right tools.


Final Thought

Above are ideas you should probably consider while designing your garden. There is always a way to improve your garden for your family and guests to enjoy. However, executing some of the ideas will require getting professionals to do it for you. Also, you consult with qualified designers for specialized garden designs.

Take a reflection of Dr. Speth’s words, “If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of a bad design.”

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