The Ultimate Guide To Garden Design: Expert Advice And Inspiring Ideas

Gardening is a wonderful way to spend time in nature, and it can also be an excellent form of therapy. As you spend time outside looking after your plants and spending time with your family, you’ll find that gardening has many benefits. 

Best garden design tips of the year
Key Takeaways
– Start with a plan and design your garden to suit your needs and style.
– Consider the location, soil, and climate when selecting plants and features.
– Utilize different colors, textures, and heights to create visual interest.
– Add water features, seating areas, and lighting to enhance the functionality and ambiance of your garden.
– Maintain your garden regularly to ensure its health and beauty.

In this guide, I’m going to show you how to create the perfect garden for your home!

1. Create Garden Rooms

Create a garden room. Think of your garden as several different rooms, each with a different theme or look. For example, one could be an English cottage garden, while another is modeled after an Italian villa and yet another could be inspired by a Japanese bonsai garden.

When you design in this way, it’s easy to create a variety of gardens that are all connected but don’t feel crowded or cluttered.

Design with a theme in mind. When you have several distinct areas of your yard and you’re planning what plants will go into each one, consider using the same plant types throughout all of them such as using lavender shrubs throughout the English cottage-style space or varying things up so that each space has its own unique look and feel (like using tall grasses in one area).

Use different plants in each garden room. Beyond just having varied textures and colors within each garden room (which we’ll talk about below), make sure you use lots of different kinds of plants too! This keeps things interesting for both yourself and any guests who come over to visit; they won’t get bored because there’s no repetition at all! 

If possible though I would avoid planting anything poisonous within reachable distance from a walkway – nothing worse than accidentally eating something poisonous when trying out new things!

Want to create an eco-friendly garden that is also sustainable? Check out our guide on Sustainable Landscaping 101 to learn more about using environmentally friendly practices in your garden design.

2. Indoor-Outdoor Living

If you’re going to make the most of your outdoor space, you need to make sure your home is as energy efficient as possible. 

By placing awnings over windows and doors on all sides of the house, you can ensure that cool breezes come in while keeping out unwanted sunlight or rain. You can also install insulation in your attic, which will keep heat inside during winter months and reduce heating costs significantly. Even better? If you have solar panels installed on your roof, these will actually generate electricity for use within your home—saving even more money!

As far as comfort goes, it’s important that everything matches up with one another. Create an inviting atmosphere by using furniture pieces that are similar in design but not so much in color scheme; this way they won’t clash with each other when placed together but still look cohesive enough when viewed from afar.”

FlooringChoose flooring that can withstand outdoor elements, such as weather-resistant tiles or rugs.
SeatingUse comfortable, weather-resistant seating that is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
LightingInstall lighting fixtures that are appropriate for both indoor and outdoor use and create a cohesive atmosphere.
GreeneryIncorporate indoor plants that can thrive in outdoor conditions, such as succulents or tropical plants.
Climate controlInstall features that allow for climate control, such as a retractable roof or heating equipment for colder seasons.

Note: This table provides recommended factors to consider when designing a space that merges indoor and outdoor living spaces.

By selecting durable flooring, weather-resistant seating, appropriate lighting fixtures, suitable indoor plants, and climate control features, you can create a seamless and functional indoor-outdoor living space that is ideal for relaxing and entertaining.

3. Cater For All Seasons

To keep your garden looking its best, you’ll need to take into account the changing seasons.

If you want a really stunning garden, consider using plants that have different flowering times. For example, if you plant bulbs in spring and they flower in summer, plant something else with a long blooming time such as an evergreen shrub or perennial flower.

Plants with different textures, heights and colors are also great for variety. You can use a mix of plants that will flower at different times for added interest throughout the year.

Creating an outdoor living area can be a challenging but rewarding experience. If you want your outdoor space to be a relaxing retreat, check out our guide on 15 Secrets to Successfully Designing Your Outdoor Living Area for expert tips and advice.

4. Choose A Color Palette

The first step to create your own garden design is to choose a color palette. This can be challenging, but with these easy steps, you’ll be able to pick the right colors for your space.

Choose a limited number of colors – You don’t need an entire rainbow in order to create a gorgeous garden! Instead, try using three or four different tones and shades of one color family that complement each other well. This will help keep things cohesive while also adding interest and variety without becoming too busy or overwhelming.

Choose complimentary colors – Complimentary colors are directly across from each other on the color wheel (like red and green). They work well together because they have opposite energies; when used together in large quantities, they tend to neutralize each other so both become less intense than if used alone. 

For example: If you want something bright but don’t want it too bright—try pairing blue and orange together instead!

5. Ditch The Turf

If your space is small and shady, turf can be a great solution for giving the garden a bit of color. However, if you’re looking for something that requires less maintenance than grass, there are other options. 

Try gravel or pebbles instead they’ll still provide some texture to your garden while taking up less room than grass and requiring less maintenance.

Water features are a great way to add beauty and tranquility to your garden. Learn more about the benefits of water features in our article on 10 Surprising Benefits of Having a Water Feature in Your Home and how they can transform your outdoor space.

6. Think About Furniture

Once you’ve decided on a theme, it’s time to think about furniture. Furniture can be used to create a focal point, create seating areas and even form an entire garden room. 

If your garden is large enough, consider using garden benches or even creating your own wooden bench (perhaps with built-in storage).

7. Use Scale And Proportion In Your Planting Design

Understanding scale and proportion is essential to planning a garden that will fit your space and stand the test of time. 

You need to consider how you want to use your garden, as well as its overall size. Knowing this will help you choose plants in relation with their size, shape and growth habit.

For example, tall trees or shrubs at the back of a small patio would be out of place because they take up too much room; likewise, dwarf varieties are unnecessary when there’s no need for them.

On the other hand, low-growing perennials at the front of an expansive lawn could be underwhelming unless interspersed with taller plants such as grasses or shrubs (in which case they should still form only part of an effective design).

Plant selectionChoose plants in various sizes to create a sense of depth and interest.
LayoutPlan the layout based on the size of the plants and the space available.
RepetitionRepeat certain types of plants or groupings of plants to create a sense of unity throughout the garden.
Companion plantsConsider companion plants that will complement the focal points of your design.
Containers and featuresUse containers and features that are proportional to the size of the plants and garden.

Note: This table provides recommended factors to consider when incorporating scale and proportion in your planting design.

By selecting plants of varying sizes, planning the layout carefully, repeating certain types of plants, using companion plants strategically, and choosing proportionate containers and features, you can create a visually appealing garden that is both balanced and harmonious.

8. Mix It Up – Evergreen, Perennials And Shrubs

You will want to mix the types of plants you put in your garden. There are many choices out there and each does different things for your yard.

Evergreen plants are good for year-round interest because they keep their foliage or needles all year long through winter months when other plants have ceased growing and died back to ground level.

Evergreens provide a nice backdrop against which you can grow flowering plants, annuals, bulbs and perennials that die down each fall but come back again next spring. Some examples include boxwoods (Buxus sempervirens), ferns (Osmunda cinnamomea) and holly (Ilex aquifolium).

Renovating your garden can be a daunting task, but with proper planning and execution, it can be a rewarding experience. Check out our guide on The Ultimate Guide to Landscape Renovation: What You Need to Know to learn more about how to successfully renovate your garden.

9. Design With Perennials In Mind

Perennial favorites: A simple garden design can be made even better by the addition of perennials. These plants have a long lifespan, which means they won’t need to be replaced as often as annuals and other types of vegetable plants.

Planting in groups: When planting perennials in your garden, it’s important to consider how many you want in each area. You can do this by grouping them together or staggering them so that there is an equal amount per square foot. 

This will help make sure that you don’t end up with too much green coverage and not enough color contrast for your eyes to rest on after looking at other parts of the yard for too long without seeing any decorative aspects.

Using curves when planting: Since most people enjoy looking at beautiful curves while they’re outside enjoying nature, adding curves into your plantings will add beauty while making things easier on yourself when it comes time for maintenance and upkeep throughout seasons where there may not be any leaves left on trees or shrubs.

Soil typeConsider the soil type and choose perennials that are suited to it.
Bloom seasonChoose perennials with staggered bloom times for continuous color throughout the season.
Sun exposureSelect perennials based on the amount of sunlight they require.
HeightMix tall and short perennials to add interest and dimension to the garden.
MaintenanceConsider the long-term maintenance requirements of the perennials you choose.

Note: This table provides recommended factors to consider when designing a garden with perennials. It is important to choose the right combination of perennials for your specific garden needs, taking into account factors such as soil type, bloom season, sun exposure, height, and maintenance, in order to create a garden that is thriving and beautiful.

10. Smart Planting With Annuals

Annuals are the easiest plants to grow indoors or outdoors. They’re incredibly easy to care for and can be grown practically anywhere, including your office windowsill. 

The best part about annuals is that you can enjoy their vibrant colors year after year (assuming you replace them each spring).

Annuals are great for borders or containers, as they grow quickly and will fill in between perennials. If you have a small garden area with plenty of sunlight, then this may be the way forward for your new garden design!

Xeriscaping is a great way to create a beautiful, sustainable garden that requires less water. Learn more about xeriscaping and its benefits in our article on Xeriscaping Tips for a Beautiful Sustainable Garden and how you can design a stunning garden with less water.

11. Plant With Wildlife In Mind

Wildlife-friendly plants: There are many plants that attract birds, bees and butterflies. These include daffodils, lavender, tulips and honeysuckle. Plants that provide food for wildlife include elderflower, borage and bee balm. Certain trees also provide shelter for wildlife such as hawthorn or holly trees which are ideal for nesting sites.

If you’re keen to create a wildlife friendly garden then you may want to include some wildflowers in your design as these can be beneficial too as they will attract insects which in turn feed on pests like aphids or caterpillars that might otherwise damage your other plantings.

12. Leave Room To Grow

One of the most important steps to designing a garden is ensuring you leave room for growth. A plant will only thrive if it has enough space to grow and develop, whether that’s in terms of physical space or in terms of time.

Plants need space on all sides – not just front and back – to fully develop their foliage. Some plants may even need more than one row, depending on their size, while others require more than one plant within each row (such as tomatoes).

The same goes for flowers: they need room to bloom! Flowers usually require at least 18 inches in which they can freely spread out their petals during blooming season. 

If you don’t give them this wide berth during springtime when they’re growing at full speed, then it could cause damage later on when those flowers are about ready for harvest (or if there isn’t enough sunlight reaching any other areas).

PlantsChoose plants that have plenty of room to grow to avoid overcrowding.
FeaturesPlan for features such as a shed or greenhouse that are proportionate to the size of your garden.
SeatingInstall seating areas that are appropriately sized for the space.
LightingConsider the placement and size of lighting fixtures to avoid over- or under- lighting the garden.

Note: This table provides recommended sizes and dimensions that are appropriate for the size of the garden, enabling the garden to grow and develop in a healthy manner, without feeling cramped.


We hope that this guide has shown you how to create a garden that is beautiful all year round, and that it encourages you to take a more hands-on approach to planning your garden. 

Remember, planting can be as simple as sticking seeds into the ground or as complex as building an intricate maze of hedges! The most important thing is that you enjoy yourself and have fun with it.

Further Reading

If you’re looking for more inspiration and advice on garden design, check out these helpful resources:

Woman&Home’s article on Garden Design for Beginners, which provides tips and ideas for designing a beautiful garden.

House Beautiful’s collection of Garden Design Ideas that will inspire you to create a stunning outdoor space.

Love The Garden’s guide to Garden Design, which covers everything you need to know to create a garden that suits your style and tastes.


What is garden design?

Garden design is the process of planning and creating an outdoor space that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. It involves considerations such as the layout of the garden, the types of plants and features to include, and the use of color and texture.

Why is garden design important?

Garden design is important because it allows you to create a space that is tailored to your needs and preferences. It can enhance the overall look and feel of your home, and provide a relaxing retreat for you and your family to enjoy.

How do I design a garden on a budget?

Designing a garden on a budget is possible with some creativity and planning. Consider using low-cost materials such as gravel or recycled materials, and focus on using plants that require less maintenance and water.

What are some common garden design mistakes to avoid?

Some common garden design mistakes include overplanting, using too many different colors and textures, neglecting to create focal points, and not considering the overall flow and layout of the garden.

Can I design a garden if I have little to no gardening experience?

Yes, you can design a garden even if you have no gardening experience. Consider seeking the advice and guidance of a professional landscaper, or start small with a few plants and work your way up as you gain more knowledge and experience.