Gardens are the perfect place to relax and soak up some vitamin D – they’re a haven from our busy lifestyles and provide an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of nature.

Whether you’re designing your first garden, or you want to upgrade an existing space that has been neglected, there are some garden design rules that it pays to follow. Here are six design tips to bear in mind when you’re planning your garden layout.

Understand Your Landscape

Before you can plan the types of plants and trees to include in your garden design, you need to be aware of what grows well in your climate. For example, if you live in a cold, wet area which creates a lot of shaded areas, you need to look for plants that will work well in this environment in order for them to thrive. Likewise, if your garden is a sun trap that isn’t sheltered, you should research the plants that grow best in this type of environment for greater success.

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Incorporate Surrounding Views into Your Design

If you’re lucky enough to be surrounded by beautiful views, don’t be shy about building your design around them and capitalising on what you can see from your garden. By encompassing borrowed beauty into your garden, it can create a feeling of more space that can make your garden feel larger. There are several ways to do this, from avoiding high fences or tall plants that might block the views, to placing decking or a swimming pool in an area that can take advantage of the surrounding vistas.

Add Varying Levels of Height

It can be all too easy to stick to small, ground-level plants when designing your garden. But if you choose too many plants that are all at one level, it can make your garden feel bland and uninteresting. Adding height with shrubs or trees can be a great way of building more interest and it also creates pockets of shade and privacy too. As your garden develops and the taller plants grow, you’ll have the benefit of protecting your garden from harsh winds, as the likes of conifers and evergreens act as a windbreak.

Even smaller gardens can utilise this design tip through ornamental trees which are more compact but still add height.

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Visually Define the Boundaries of Your Garden

Defining the boundaries of your space, whether you choose fencing, box hedges or shrubbery, can help provide focus for the eyes and creates a sense of order to your garden. If you have a larger space to work with, this concept can work well to separate different sections of the garden too, to add structure.

Plan for the Future

It’s important when you’re planning a garden to factor in space for your plants to grow.

While it can be visually appealing to have a densely packed garden straight away, there won’t be any room for them to mature and you’ll eventually have to relocate or remove them. A good tip is to choose cheaper, short-lived filler plants to build out your beds while your main plants are still developing. The same applies with trees – more often than not, you’ll need to exercise patience in order to reap the rewards that trees can provide to your garden. When you’re planning the design of your outdoor space, remember that it may take a while for your ideas to come to fruition so allow plenty of space for the growth and evolution of your designs.

Take a Neighbourly Approach to Your Design

Landscaping can sometimes involve bigger projects that may provoke resentment from your neighbours if it impacts their view. Before you start on anything major when it comes to your design, it’s a good idea to run your plans by your neighbours so that they’re aware of what you have in mind. There’s often an easy fix that will appease both parties, from moving a tree a few feet in the other direction or putting a slightly higher fence in place to provide them with greater privacy. Your neighbours don’t necessarily need to share your vision but it’s worth noting that your garden is likely to impact others more than the interior design of your home will.

Enjoy Your Garden

You might be surprised what you can achieve when it comes to your garden, no matter what size space you have to work with. Garden design takes a bit of prior research and you may find that it’s an ongoing process as the garden develops, but it can be a real pleasure to see your ideas come to life on your own turf. By taking these design rules into consideration, you’ll be better equipped to create a varied, interesting and future-proofed space that you can take pride in.

6 Garden Design Rules You Need to Know