Square gardens can be a little bit tricky to design, because you can see everything in one go, which often makes them quite boring to look at. So, how do you design your garden if it’s a boring square shape? Good question, glad you asked! Square-Gdn-Before If the garden is large enough, you can often divide the space up and make an interesting side area alongside the main lawn. This breaks up the square and creates interest. However, in our garden case study, we weren’t able to do this because the builders had created a slightly odd-shaped, raised, timber planter to cover over a big block of concrete they found in the garden. This meant that we were unable to use the space to put a pergola walk or meandering path to a seating area at the end of the garden.

Step 1 Use interesting shapes that takes your eyes away from the squareness.

I would also normally suggest that you create an interesting shape with your patio or deck area. Unfortunately, the deck had already been built and was too new to take up and redo in a different shape. So, basically, with this garden we had to work with what we’d got. I wanted to create more interest than just having a circle lawn shape, so I used an oval instead.

Step 2 Link the existing in with the new garden.

Although the deck and raised timber border were already built, it was still important that they tie in with the new design. Whilst it wasn’t possible to change the shape of either of them, we could still link them with the new areas by the use of wide steps and shaping the brick edging to meet the steps. Because the steps were the entire width of the areas of lawn in front of them, it created continuity and a seamless link between the two areas.

Square-Gdn-After1Step 3 Add in a main focal point or two, to take your eyes away from the squareness of the garden.

To add further interest we incorporated a gazebo as the main focal point to draw the eyes around the garden. The garden was certainly large enough to have more than one feature, but we wanted to make a statement piece, so we kept it to just one.

The brick edging we used to surround the lawn helped to make sure that there was a defined shape to the lawn and it also cuts down maintenance because you don’t need to edge it to keep it the shape. Brick edges are also good because they allow the plants to flop over them, softening the whole design, without affecting the lawn.

The planting borders next to the deck area help to soften the harsh straight-line of the deck, as well as bring interesting colour closer to the house, enhancing the view from the kitchen and dining room. Garden-After

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Rachel Mathews
Rachel Mathews

Professional international garden designer for over 25 years. My mission is to de-mystify garden design and make it easy for people to successfully design their own garden - without needing to spend a fortune!

    3 replies to "Large square garden makeover – Case study"

    • Alison Boocock

      What a difference shape makes and just what you can do without spending a lot of money. I wouldn't have been attracted into the 'before' garden, but I certainly would the 'after'! …It's lovely!

    • Successful Garden Design

      Thanks Alison! You'll get to see your garden today – the new Garden Design Show episode 7 will be live very shortly…!

      • Alison Boocock

        Yippee! I can’t wait….
        Thanks Rachel!

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