Want simple and easy garden ideas? Revamp your outdoor space in a few simple steps with our favourite design ideas for today’s modern garden.
Whether you live in the town or the country, have a backyard, front lawn, patio, balcony or roof terrace, an outdoor room is a valuable extension to your living space. The style you choose for it is up to you – there are plenty of ways to get inspired.
Try decorating in colour. Nature’s colours add a wonderful decorative quality to a garden. They can be used to complement a design or create a mood; they can also affect our sense of distance and perspective.
Of all the elements of garden design, the hard landscaping is the most important to get right. Not only does it define the shape of the space, it can also be the most expensive part of a garden, the most permanent and the most difficult to change if mistakes are made.
Choosing new plants and flowers for your garden is an exciting challenge. Whether your garden is completely new – a blank canvas – or is filled with established vegetation, adding the plants of your choice will make it truly your own.
A simple water feature can create a range of different moods, from the meditative calm of a still pool to the exciting thrill of fountain jets. It is a great way to increase wildlife into your garden and to instil peace and tranquility.
Think beyond linear planks and use decking in new, inventive ways to give a small garden a strong personality. Popular and versatile, decking is a ‘softer’ alternative material for patios and terraces and is particularly suitable for raised areas. You can change the finish of the wood with coloured stain or oil should you wish. This diamond design gives a simple pathway real beauty.
Take a look at these innovative and easy garden updates before your start your outdoor room decorating project.
Large expanses of one material at ground level can make your garden look stark. Combining several materials is a simple way to create interest. It can be easy to get carried away when faced with the vast available choice of hard landscaping materials, from ornamental aggregates to paving and decking. But do try to resist the temptation to mix up lots of different textures and colours. Paving stones are the ideal choice for creating an all-weather, hard wearing surface. Use bricks and blocks as edgings to complement slabs or gravel areas.
Get the look: Team stone paving with gravel stone and soft planting.
Take inspiration from your home’s interior and find an outdoor equivalent. Where space is restricted it’s worth considering dual-purpose furniture for use indoors and outside. Portable bean bags are ideal for sunny terraces, patios, balconies and roof gardens. Moulded plastic furniture is inexpensive, surprisingly comfortable and available in many different colours. It is also tough and durable. Here, bright cushions work perfectly to liven up a garden space.
Get the look: Colours that reflect the material in your house will create a sense of unity between the two.
Similar cushions and beanbag chairs
Coloured paints and stains can be very effective in an outdoor space. If you want to create fresh, fun spaces outdoors, think cheerful bright colours. Colour is the key to creating moods by day and by night, all through the year. If you get bored with a particular effect, you can always change a colour to create a new mood. Here horizontal lines trick the eye into looking down the length of the garden, elongating a small space.
Get the look: Garden fencing is important, as it defines the garden’s perimeter. Look for sleek lines or go for dark panels to create a contemporary look.
The Garden Centre Group
Tall hedges or banks of greenery are ideal for concealing unsightly boundaries in your garden, and provide a pretty backdrop for an alfresco dining area. Hedges come in all shapes and sizes, some more manageable than others. When planting a new hedge it is essential to give honest consideration to the time you want to spend cutting it. Box will take some years to reach its mature height, yew even longer, but these will require only one of two trims per year. This green partition is simple and elegant and forms an intimate seating alcove.
Get the look: For an alternative to hedges, try long stems of garden bamboo or fast-growing plants, such as climbers and vines.
Establish boundaries. If your garden lacks privacy, install some trellis panels or an arbour that will screen you from prying eyes. An oriental-inspired screen is an ideal way to close off a perimeter of the garden without feeling boxed in. The dappled shade provided by a screen will provide a welcome relief from the summer sun.
Get the look: If you have a small garden, keep the colour light to avoid dark shadows in the closed areas.
Similar bamboo screen
Use your individual style to bring colour, pattern and texture into your outdoor room, making it a beautiful and enticing place for al fresco living. A dark-painted wall makes a bold statement and defines the garden’s perimeter. Planting softens it, but this look is about creating a dramatic backdrop for contemporary furniture.
Get the look: Add fabric to contrast against the dark wall, and keep furniture light. The pinwheels add a contemporary touch.
Using a vibrant colour can really brighten up a dull garden wall, particularly if the space is shady or has a gloomy corner. Colours can have a marked impact on our perception of distance. Hot colours – red, yellow, orange – push forwards, seeming closer than they actually are. Cool, pastel colours and all the whites appear further away, elongating the view. If you have sufficient space, colour can be used to create separate zones within the garden, each with an appropriate mood. You might make a bold statement with energising brights in an area dedicated to socialising, eating or entertaining. In an area set aside for retreat and relaxation, cool, harmonious colours will help establish a calm atmosphere.
Get the look: Choose a shade that suits your personality for that feel good factor – your garden should be an extension of your home.
You don’t need to rely on tall plants to create height; raised beds set at eye-level break up the white walls of this garden. There are lots of lower growing plants, including herbs, alpines and summer bedding, that will thrive in raised beds. A smart marble-topped table and a cowhide rug bring the indoors out, and the low level planters add some colour at ground height.
Get the look: Use strong shapes to accentuate the scheme.
A small plot at the back of the garden is the perfect place to grow your own micro crops, such as, salad leaves, herbs, fruits and various vegetables. Growing your own delicious food can take the pleasures of a garden to a whole new level. Simple salads are a great place to start. These are fast-growing, attractive and colourful, and the flavour and texture of freshly picked leaves is uniquely delicious and healthy.
Get the look: Choose pretty terracota planters or raised wooden beds, as not to distract from its natural environment.
Wooden raised beds