Garden Design Ideas

 In Garden Design

As the decade draws to a close, I take a brief look at some of my favourite garden design ideas from the last 10 years.

Sweeping Steps

curved steps with rendered wall and limestone treads

Working as I do in the rolling hills of Somerset, most, if not all of my garden designs involve slopes. The traditional garden design method of making a slope more manageable is to introduce a series of straight steps and terraces. It’s practical and sensible. However, I like to think outside of the box to design gardens that are different.

This is one of the last projects to be completed in 2019 and I’m pleased to say that the clients love it.

A big swoosh of steps leading from the driveway to the front door. Easy to navigate with bags of shopping and/or a pram but also a little bit “Hollywood”.

curved steps leading to driveway on lower level

Interlocking terraces

Slopes again. This time in a lovely back garden in Templecombe. The clients wanted their garden to be manageable and accessible garden but still have bags of character.

I took inspiration from the winding paths on some of my favourite countryside walks. Those meanders can make a short stroll into a wonderful journey with something new around each corner.

interlocking terraces create a journey through the garden

Using lots of tall planting and broad, interlocking terraces gives that same sense of exploration.  It also offers several viewpoints in a smallish space.

Atmospheric lighting

atmospheric garden lighting

I truly believe that a garden should offer a 24/7 experience. Your outdoor space isn’t like your best shoes that stay out of sight until there’s a special occasion. It should be more like your favourite boots that sit by the door ready for you to slip into. Heck, they’re even comfy enough to sleep in!

One of the garden design ideas I use whenever the budget allows is lighting. Lighting welcomes guests whatever the weather. Even when you are indoors looking out, lighting makes it feel as though you are in the garden.


Invitation to enter


Even the smallest space should have at least one garden design element that makes you want to explore more.

garden doorway inviting visitors to explore more

This garden in Rodney Stoke was divided into two mini-gardens by and old wall. The wall is a nod to the garden’s past. It’s beautiful feature that has stood the test of time and no-way should it be knocked down. However, if I wasn’t careful it would become an obstruction – a barrier that discouraged anyone from going past.

This bespoke made gateway is a simple garden feature yet it turns the gap in the wall into a doorway which invites visitors to go through and explore.

Walking on rainbows – Intriguing Landscaping Materials

rainbow sawn sandstone patio

Some garden design ideas are not about layouts or features. They’re about the materials themselves. For this patio in Street, we’ve used a rainbow patterned sandstone. For me, this celebrates the beauty of natural stone and I had great fun laying the slabs into a random pattern that really highlighted the colours in the slabs.

Playing with shapes – the apostrophe lawn

contemporary garden with interesting shapes

Garden design – in fact any design is all about playing with shapes and seeing how they interact. This apostrophe shape is great – think Paisley pattern or Ying and Yang. It’s not a shape you always see in garden design and I think that’s why it appealed to these clients. It truly does make their garden unique!

Using colour to set the mood

brightly coloured summer planting plan

I couldn’t talk about garden design ideas without mentioning the plants. Plants really do set the ambience for an outdoor space. I do have a tendency to lean towards jungle type planting – lush, interesting foliage is my “thing”. However, I just love this summer planting plan where there is a riot of hot colours. It puts me in the mind of a carnival or even an island in the Bahamas.

What is your perfect garden design?

When it comes to garden design, I like to push the boundaries a little and try new things. I want each garden that I design to be unique and personalised to the client’s own style and sense of adventure. I aim to use every square metre of space to the full. But most of all, I want to offer the “wow” factor.

Planning a garden makeover for the 2020’s? Contact SilverBirch gardens for original ideas and inspiration.

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