Changing a ‘nice enough’ garden that isn’t nice enough!

Nice-Garden-Before

A ‘nice enough’ garden, but could it be made better?

A few years back, a friend of mine asked me to redesign the garden of a house she’d just bought. I was happy to help as I could see there was lots of room for improvement.

Her family were all keen gardeners, and by the look on their faces, they were somewhat aghast at her getting a garden designer in! The garden was perfectly ‘nice enough’ as it was, surely? It only needed a few extra plants and it would be great. Getting the whole garden redesigned was unnecessary and might ruin it!

I can only imagine what horrors were running through their minds of what a designer might do…

A very common problem

If you have a garden that is already quite nice, the concern is often that you might ruin what you have now. One thing I can absolutely promise you, is that a good design will never ruin what you’ve got, it will only improve it.

The average garden can and should be so much more than average. So please don’t settle for the average boring and bland backyard!

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to create great looking garden

Really, you don’t. Of course, you can spend a lot of money if you want to, but you actually don’t have to. The trick to creating an amazing looking garden is all down to how you arrange the space. That basically is what shape lawn/patio area you put in. If you already have a patio down, then it’s just the shape of your lawn that will need to change.

Just reshaping your lawn to get a lovely looking garden might sound far too good to be true, but it really is the key to creating a great looking garden. The reason it is so powerful is because you are controlling the shapes within your garden.With the right shapes you can make a garden look larger and more interesting.

OVAL-Garden2a

Most people do it the other way round. They add the plants and then the space that is left is an odd shape lawn. By doing it in reverse and choosing the correct shape lawn first, the areas that are left are where the plants go. It will also help prevent you from having a random lawn shape that is disjointed and doesn’t help the garden to flow visually.

A ‘nice enough’ garden case study

The key to transforming my friend’s garden came down to getting (you guessed it) the right shape lawn in!  A very simple oval shaped lawn with a brick edge surrounding it was the basis for the entire garden. The old concrete patio was dug up and replaced with natural stone paving laid in a random bond style (lots of different sizes mixed together).

The sizes of the paving was quite small to make the space look larger, and the different sizes works well with the modern cottage garden style that we were aiming for to match the house and owner’s tastes. The same paving is also used in the raised patio at the far end of the garden.

A timber planting rail, to match the neighbours fence, was added to the top patio, making it more enclosed and creating an interesting area at the end of the garden.

OVAL-Garden2

Design does make the difference

If we had just added more plants in the garden, it really wouldn’t have looked much different. My friend loved the new look to her garden and thankfully, so did all her family. Phew! It would have been rather awkward if they hadn’t!Oval-Garden-mature1

Need more help?

If you’d like to learn more about exactly how you can transform your garden, then check out the online garden design courses I run here at Successful Garden Design.

I particularly recommend signing up for our FREE web class… 

Learn how to design your garden – Attend one of our FREE Fast Track Garden Design online classes…

Register on this page: https://www.successfulgardendesign.com/freeclasses/

Transforming a bland garden – Case study

So, just how do you go about transforming a boring and bland garden into something that is beautiful, eye-catching and won’t blow your budget?

CIRCLE-GARDEN-beforeStep 1 Take a good look at the overall shape of your garden.

Is your garden long and narrow in shape? Perhaps it is wider than longer? Or maybe it is a square shape? Maybe, none of those and you have a really odd and awkward shape garden?

If your garden is long and narrow you need to use shapes that make it look wider (lawn and patio shapes are the critical ones to get right here). If it’s a wide garden you need shapes to make it look longer. If your garden is square, you need to use shapes that create interest and draw the eye around it. And if you have a really odd shaped garden, you need design shapes to take your eyes away from the awkward angles.

Step 2 Apply the right shape of lawn, patio or deck to suit your shape of garden that creates interest and makes best use of the space.

I will cover how to do different shape gardens in upcoming blog posts. Today though, we’re going to focus our efforts on how to tackle a square shaped garden. If you can’t wait for future blog posts in this case study series, and you have a long narrow garden you desperately want to transform, then head over to the free LONG garden web class.

Step 3 Once you have your main shapes organised, then choose a focal point that leads the eyes around the garden and creates additional interest.

Focal points can be anything from a nice statue to a bench or urn. You can even use showy plant varieties as a focal point. A plant like a Japanese Maple with deep burgundy coloured foliage makes a great focal point.

So, let’s now break down those three main steps by looking at a case study.

Square garden case study

Now, although this garden isn’t a perfect square, it’s close enough for demonstration purposes.

The main problem with it was the existing block paving patio was very boring. There was no nice mixture of paving or nice shape to it. Also, the path that led straight to the garage was at a bit of an odd angle and didn’t do the garden any favours visually. In other words, there was no real design shape to the garden.

The first job was to disguise the shape of the relatively new patio and lead the eyes away from the straight lines and bland paving. This was done by the use of a large oval, brick-edged lawn and curved shaped water feature area. A big sweeping curved gravel and stepping stone path replaced the old paver path to the garage, making much better use of the shape whilst still being practical.

Circle-Garden-Plan-sm

 

CIRCLE-GARDEN-DURING

If you compare the garden before to the after picture below, you can see just how much difference correctly shaping the lawn can make. The factors like the planting, water feature and pergola obviously play an important role, but the key is getting the lawn shape right BEFORE adding all those other goodies!

CIRCLE-garden-after

Need more help?

Attend one of our FREE Fast Track Garden Design online classes…

Register on this page: https://www.successfulgardendesign.com/freeclasses/

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