IMG_18115_18_largeWhen it comes to our gardens, we could all do with an injection of inspiration to really optimise the invaluable living space that is on offer.  Whether you have a 12ft courtyard garden or an expansive plot that stretches 100ft, it can be difficult to determine how to enhance it to fit our lifestyles.  So we thought we would let you in on a few secrets so you can get your garden gorgeous and fit for the summer.

Gardening leads to thoughts of mowing, gardening gloves and lots of hard graft, but times have moved on and there are styles to suit everyone.  Before you begin it would pay off to assess how you use or intend to use your garden.  Do you entertain a lot, need an area for the children or would you like to create a vegetable patch?  Think of your garden as an additional room of your home, assess how you use or intend to use the garden and design it accordingly.  Here are just a few pointers to help you get started

ZoningIMG_18645_6_large

Now you know exactly what you require from your garden, you can devise a plan on how to execute this.  A great way to begin is by defining areas according to function, to break up the space. Effectively, this would allow you to create a seating and dining area, a separate area for the children and possibly even a vegetable patch.  This is also the best way to assess what to do with the more established gardens, allowing you to manipulate the overall space making it altogether manageable and functional.

IMG_14491_3_large Layout

Think about the best features of your garden and make them the focal points of your layout.  For example, taking into consideration how the sun hits your garden will determine the best place for your seating area.  Take note of where the best space is to enjoy the sunshine and even a shady spot if you do not want to get hit by too much sun.  Another thing to think about is views, not just from your garden toward the external scenery but from inside the house out to the garden.  The garden can provide a scenic backdrop as we look out of our homes, allowing colour and interest to flood into our living areas.  So it would really pay off to consider the view you want to enjoy from your living
room or kitchen, particularly if you have French doors or sliding doors that would visually frame your garden.

Tickle your senses

Tuc TinPlants and flowers of different colours and fragrances are visually appealing and once in full bloom instantly bring a smile to our faces.  It is not hard to see why this is typically the way in which we bid to spruce up our gardens.  If you want to try something a little different or are cautious of managing plants, there are other ways you could create a tranquil ambience ideal for outdoor dining or simply lounging.

Colour, texture and fragrance are three characteristics with which we can ignite our senses.  So consider the materials you wish to use within the garden that are not only visually appealing but infuse a touch of vibrancy to your garden.  Layering or even combing materials of different colours and texture will add interest and is a clever way to create pathways or even focal features such as a rockery.  You are at hands with an open space so this is a great opportunity for you to really get creative and think outside the box.  Use materials you may not normally relate with the garden such as mirrors.  Mirrors would work well to bounce light and colour throughout your garden, but will also help enhance the size of the space as a means of optical illusion.

Wren Cottage Garden

  • Get the Right Balance

Planting and getting green-fingered is a hobby for some but a chore for others.  But regardless of whether you enjoy it or not, it is important to get the right balance of nature and structure within our gardens.  After all we do not want to look out onto a mini-forest or at the same time a scarce garden full of bricks and mortar.  Consider what you could easily manage to get the right balance for you and work in some colour from plants and nature to create a modern space.  To create a sleek modern look, it would be worth limiting the palette of colours you use for structures, such as the table and chairs and allow the plants to add vibrancy.  Simple can go a long way

Incorporate the indoors with outdoorsIMG_3987_5_large

The trend of incorporating our garden and internal living space with the use of bi-folding doors or French doors has never been more popular.  The garden should be used as an extension of our indoor living space and some simple design tricks will allow you to achieve this. Use the same palette of colours within the garden as you have in your living space to create a natural flow between the spaces.  At the same time, pay attention to the flooring you use within your living room and try to match the colour and texture of this with the adjoining garden area, so the spaces unite seamlessly. This visually enhances the space but also allows you to incorporate the two areas stylishly.

Stoneleigh Cottage Garden

  • Seating

Due to the limitation of the lovely British weather most of us do tend to just stick a table and chairs in our garden without much thought, after all it does the job doesn’t it?  Defining a seating area will not only add visual appeal of your garden but it is also an opportunity for you to weather proof the space and effectively allow you to get greater use from it.  Zoning a seating area as a feature within the garden can be a clever way to add colour and incorporate textures.  For example, imposing timber pillars can add a striking finish, which when coupled with glass enclosures or even acrylic canvas can add a contemporary design twist.  Even a small coffee table inset with a herb planter running through the centre, is another means of combining materials in an quirky yet functional way.  Think about the spot you pick for the seating area by considering the views and ease of access to the kitchen or household gadgets such as fridges – after all  you don’t want to be walking to and fro from the garden when dining with guests.

Get Educational

As a society today, we have never been as conscious of caring for our environment and getting back in touch with our organic routes.  This is where our gardens have become a space for us to give back to our community, educate our children and just get healthy.  There is so much we can easily grow from just a little vegetable plot in our gardens from strawberries, tomatoes, potatoes and even herbs.  Even if you have a little garden or are conscious of managing the plants, you could use freestanding planters.  This is a great way to educate our children and get stuck into a project as a family.  Most children love to get a little messy anyway, but by having the opportunity to watch a seed they planted grow into a fruit or plant that they can then pick from allows them to really appreciate nature, planting a seed of thought!  If you have a fussy eater on your hands this could also prove an effective way of enticing them to try something new.

These are just some tips to help you get planning to design a gorgeous garden, so you can enjoy a restful summer in a little haven you have created.