Many gardeners disagree with the idea of sticking to a particular design, feeling it will stunt or dampen their creativity. However, the opposite is often true- a well-designed plot can unify your garden, giving it a stronger sense of purpose and making it more practical and useable.

Sometimes, the natural style, shape or location of your garden will play a part in dictating the design you pick. For instance, small gardens will need special treatment to help to get the most out of the minimal space available. If you lead a busy lifestyle, considering low maintenance materials and plants will be vital to your garden plan. Regardless of what design you choose, try not to be too rigid about it. Having everything perfectly matching may disturb the natural flow of your outdoor space, giving it a stunted, overly formal feel.

Low Maintenance Garden Ideas

Looking for an outdoor space to enjoy but you simply don’t have the time for pruning, mowing and tending? Then a low maintenance garden is the one for you! The clue is in the name- these gardens are all about creating an inviting, relaxing space with minimal upkeep. Expanses of lawn are replaced by gravel, or astroturf if you want to keep illusion of grass. Decking is also a good option, ideal for creating a barbecue area or sun lounger platform. Common features are oversized planters, stone sculptures and bird baths. Flowering and evergreen shrubs create a wonderful background, while hardy perennials provide a blast of colour. For a truly low maintenance design, fill your beds with a mixture of decorative glass stone and plant them with hardy succulents.

This is the design idea for people on the go. You won’t need to feel guilty about neglecting your gardening duties when you have a yard that practically looks after itself.

Plant with succulents, hardy evergreens and durable perennials such as geraniums.

low maintenance garden

Contemporary Garden Ideas

Less is more where the contemporary garden is concerned. Straight lines, meticulous borders and geometric shapes rule the roost here. Clutter free, the soft tones and uncomplicated landscape of this space serves to soothe the soul and clear the mind. You are more likely to see an abundance of green foliage and structured topiary here than a bed of bright perennials. The centre piece will be a tranquil seating area for relaxing and reflecting. Water features are also a popular option, more for the serene sound of flowing water than visual impact. Mixing up textures and aspects gives the garden depth- stones, lawn and paving slabs all laid precisely at odds to each other draw the eye along the space to the end.

This is the design for people with a hectic lifestyle who simply need to stop, take a deep breath and reconnect with nature every once in a while. It is the ultimate alone space. Switch off your phone and enjoy!

Bamboo, euphorbia, and grasses give an airy feel to the contemporary garden, while structured sculptural plants in pots such as topiary trees keep in line with the architectural design.

contemporary garden design

Cottage Garden Ideas

Cottage gardens are relaxed and romantic, reminiscent of the rambling English countryside. Informal and abundant with vibrant plants, there are no straight lines or structured beds here. Cottage gardens usually evolve over time, the few initial perennials and shrubs snowballing into a charmingly wild concoction of bright flowers that obey no boundaries. Prominent features in cottage gardens are usually kept simple, so as not to compete with the surrounding glory. Bird baths, nesting boxes and understated benches blend nicely into the background.

This design is for lovers of literature who enjoy nothing more than sitting in the shade of an apple tree daydreaming about Heathcliff and Mr Darcy.

To achieve this look, plant anything that sounds remotely romantic. Foxgloves, wisteria, peonies, hollyhocks, delphinium and rambling roses will give a timeless feel to your garden that your granny would be jealous of.

cottage garden ideas

Mediterranean Garden Ideas

Mediterranean gardens are a lovely year-long reminder of your annual 2-week jaunt to the South of France. Warm and inviting, this garden boasts a rich terracotta canvas in the form of paving tiles and large planters. In true Mediterranean style, the focal point is usually a set of dining furniture, begging to be the centre of many informal lunches and dinner parties. A grapevine adorned pergola will finish off the look perfectly. The key to the Mediterranean garden is balance- offset lush leafy greens with strong, bold flowering plants. Mix it up between beds and planters, and intersperse the large leafy palms with denser, structured plants in pots.

This design is perfect for sun worshippers and people who enjoy late evening barbecues surrounded by family and friends.

A Phoenix Palm or yucca will give that breezy sun-kissed feel, while geraniums, campsis and euphorbia will offer a much-needed splash of colour. If planting in beds, be sure to dig in some grit as well as compost to ensure your Mediterranean plants feel at home and have enough drainage.

mediterranean garden ideas

Eclectic Garden Ideas

An eclectic garden is your own personal blank canvas, waiting for you to stamp your style and personality all over it. The key here is to stay true to yourself and build a number of focal points that represent who you are, without going over the top and ending up with an overwhelming mismatch. Features will normally consist of upcycled old domestic items that you cannot bear to part with. Before plotting your eclectic garden, ask yourself what you will use the space for, and what you want it to say about you. Love tea? Why not create a ‘Tea Corner’ and pack with fragrant herbs, ornamental cups and teapot planters? Or a ‘Kids Corner’ complete with mud kitchen for the little ones? The beauty of this style is that you literally write it as you go along.

This design is perfect for quirky, laid back individuals who aren’t too concerned about following the rules. Unleash your inner rebel!

Plant anything you like. Large vibrant clashing flowers will find a home with you.

eclectic garden ideas

Whether you’re a hopeless romantic or a high-powered executive, there is a garden design to suit every personality. Don’t just focus on the end result when designing and building your haven, enjoy the process of creating it from the ground up, pouring yourself into it as you go. The satisfaction will be immense. Happy gardening!

Image sources:

http://forbesgardendesign.co.uk/forbes-garden-design-portfolio/

http://www.saga.co.uk/magazine/home-garden/gardening/ideas/small-gardens/design-a-cottage-garden

http://owtdoor.com/garden/en/garden-design-38337/

http://gatsbysgardens.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/collectors-garden-2012.html

http://www.echinopsgardendesign.co.uk/