How to Design a Garden from Scratch
Many people focus on decorating the inside of their homes but end up overlooking the vast possibilities of the spacious outdoors. Particularly, their garden.
Your garden is an extension of your indoor space and should be used to its full advantage, so don’t forget to take the decorating outside too.
However, knowing what to do or where to start can be daunting, so here are a few ideas to inspire you.
Build a fire pit
A fire pit can make for a brilliant yet functional garden decoration, and there are several reasons why you should have one.
Many people associate fire pits with cold nights and toasting marshmallows, and they wouldn’t be wrong. The fire can extend the amount of time a year you can spend outside in your garden, either with friends and family or by taking a quiet moment to relax and enjoying the warmth.
However, fire pits can still be used in summer too. They can be a brilliant replacement for a BBQ; just put a grill over the smouldering embers, and you can cook your favourite steak or burgers at the next BBQ party you host.
If you build your own fire pit, you can make it whatever style and size you like. You can choose to either dig into the ground and create a sunken fire pit, build it at ground level, or make a raised version. The latter is readily available in shops if building your own isn’t an option.
Most DIY fire pits are built from stone slabs, meaning you can choose any colour and texture to suit the theme of your garden. You can also make stone seating around it to complete the look.
Purchasing a fire pit gives you more options regarding design, although nearly all will be the same kind of black metal. They tend to be free standing as well, meaning they’re easily portable when cool.
Of course, safety is a must. Keep away anything that would immediately catch fire like plants, and maintain a reasonable distance between your furniture, garden ornaments, and home. Remember always to have a fire extinguisher to hand.
Add garden sculpture art – carvings or statues
If you want to take your garden decoration to the next level, you should look at placing a sculpture or two amongst your plants.
The great thing about sculptures is they can be as extravagant or discreet as you like, and there are many styles to choose from to match the style and theme of your garden.
Size plays its part too, with some sculptures needing extra manpower to be moved around, whereas smaller ones can easily be carried by one person. Don’t forget about the materials used, as a small iron sculpture could weigh the same as a 1-meter plastic one.
Perhaps the most common and well-known type is stone carved figures in varying sizes. Think white marble maidens with flowing gowns, cheeky cherubs, or jolly Buddha’s. These statues tend to suit a more traditionally themed garden.
If you prefer something less conventional, an exciting type of sculpture is chainsaw carvings. Due to their texture, they can easily blend in with a more natural themed garden. Depending on the design they can even give a whimsical feel.
Chainsaw carvings are an unusual decoration, but still relatable enough to create a fantastic talking point for your garden.
Create a unique container garden
Container gardening is great for all skill levels, especially beginners. You don’t have to worry about what soil type you have in your garden and whether the plants you want will be compatible, as you can put a custom mix in each container. Starting out with standard compost or potting soil will be a perfect stepping stone.
The flexibility that comes with container gardening is another reason this decoration option is so popular. You can move your plants around in whatever configuration you like best, and to correctly accommodate each plant’s needs. Those that love lots of light but need different soils can all sit happily together in the sunshine in their separate containers.
You can also easily bring certain plants indoors that wouldn’t last so well against the cold during the winter, but love the outdoor summer temperatures.
Nearly all plants can happily grow in containers, and it’s a popular option for those who want to start growing their own herbs, fruit, and vegetables.
You can even get creative with the containers you use. Instead of sticking to ordinary ceramic pots, you can use unusual items like empty cans, suitcases, or even an old pair of wellies! Try tying the types of containers you use in with the overall theme of your garden, or making them a decorative focal point.
Decorating with water
Running water is proven to have lots of health benefits. In some Asian cultures, it is believed that water restores a sense of balance and promotes favourable energy. The relaxing sound of running water helps people feel calm and unwind. Its de-stressing and revitalising properties are what makes water features a staple in a hospital or care home garden.
You can bring these benefits to your garden with a decorative water feature. There are many different types and designs to choose from, meaning you’re sure to find one to fit perfectly with your garden’s theme.
Classic tiered fountains are the most famous and widely recognised water feature. They mainly find their home in traditional and classically landscaped gardens, or on the grounds of stately homes. Their ornate designs usually feature people or animals carved into stone.
Another option is a pondless fountain, sometimes called a disappearing fountain. The water is contained and hidden in a small reservoir beneath the ground, usually concealed by a layer of rocks and gravel. Because of this, pondless fountains are a brilliant addition to your garden if you have young children, as there is no risk of them falling into a pond.
Alternatively, there is the self-contained water feature. These are the most affordable option as well as being the easiest to install. As all the parts including the plumbing and reservoir are contained within the feature, you can set it up just about anywhere you want. If you decide you want to move it, you won’t have a problem doing so.
Make use of pathways
You’d be forgiven for overlooking the simple pathway. However, these can be used as a decorative feature to enhance your garden too!
Use them to the advantage of your design to lead someone around your garden, developing a story. No matter whether your garden is older and more traditional, or modelled on a more modern design, every space has its own tales to tell.
When creating garden pathways, there are many materials at your disposal. If you’re looking for something that’s easy to lay then gravel, pea shingle, or bark are perfect choices. They look best when in the confines of a border to keep edges neat and to prevent material from spreading out into grass or plant beds.
Alternatively, if you want a robust, unmoving pathway, opt for paving or stepping stones. These require laying and the materials to fix them in place.
Whichever you decide on, you have a lot to play with to decorate your garden space. Think about the colours of bark, gravel, or slabs you can choose. You can also create patterns and shapes either with the pathway or within it. The options are endless!
Switch on the lights
Gardens aren’t just for enjoying during the day. At night they are still a lovely place to spend your time, especially during the summer when the weather is warmer, or during the winter sat around a fire pit. However, navigating your garden in the dark can be a bit of a problem.
Luckily, even though they’re mainly functional, garden lights can count as decorations too!
Fairy lights and lanterns can be used to hang around seating areas, along any fencing, or amongst tree branches. If you opt for solar-powered versions, you won’t have to worry about replacing batteries or putting them near a power source.
You can also use solar-powered lights to line your garden pathways, or as spotlights to illuminate your sculptures or water features. Different coloured bulbs can be used to compliment your theme, change the mood of your garden depending on the time of year, or to tie in with a specific holiday.
Get Outdoor Furniture Built for English Weather
It looks great but be aware of mosaic furniture. In the changes in temperature and unexpected rain and sun, it can be hard for mosaic furniture to survive and it may end up cracking. This could mean that you waste your money on garden furniture that doesn’t last. Try searching for a furniture clearance that sells good quality outdoor furniture either new or second hand. Sometimes this type of store will sell hotel standard furniture to consumers at a great price, this means you can save money while getting furniture that can handle the great British weather.
Invest in Good Quality Tiling
If you’re wanting to add stone flooring to your garden or replace existing tiling, do your research and invest in a good quality flooring company. Although some may seem expensive, you will save yourself money in the long run and give you a quality product from the start. Exterior flooring like limestone is perfect for garden areas and can give a charming, rustic style or clean look to any outside area. As limestone tiles are hard, they do not wear easily making them a perfect tiling for outside where they will face the brunt of changing weathers.
Weeds, Weeds, Weeds
The weed is an enemy of us all especially when you are trying to remodel your garden. It can seem tempting to dig up all of your shrubberies and replace it however this does not guarantee a weed free garden. It’s also important to completely check and new plants for any weeds that may be lurking there. The next step is to use a professional grade weed killer. There’s no better time to invest in a professional weed killer than when you plan to redo your garden. This will save you time, money and frustration later on.
Keep it Simple
If you’ve never remodeled a garden this tip is especially important. It can be all too easy to want to change everything and add in special and complicated features that you’ve seen on Pinterest but it’s important to keep it simple to begin with. There is always time as you go on to add extra plants to make it lively but to start, stick with one or two features you would like and build everything else around that. Less is more – and easier.
The final result
Decorating your garden is just as important as the inside of your house, but there are certain elements that are exclusive to outdoor designing. When you focus on what you want to get out of your garden space, the decorating process becomes much easier.
Even if you only incorporate one of these ideas, you’re sure to make a dramatic difference to how your garden looks.
Have you got any tips on refurbishing your garden? Share your experiences!
Author Bio – Emma and her blog Fixtures and Flowers.