Create the perfect gardener's retreat

Want to create the perfect chill out space in your garden? Check out housetohome's pick of the best design ideas for a relaxing garden. For more inspiring garden ideas, go to

Fancy creating your very own French-style bolthole right outside your back door? Or perhaps you would rather transform your plot with the quintessential cottage-garden look. Many of us crave a garden retreat that we can escape to when life gets tough. So whether you're totally green fingered or a city slicker, we've got your outside space covered. Don't forget to add all-important charm with quirky touches - hunt out garden signs, unusual pots or a statue. Even if you only have a small garden, you can still create a mini garden retreat. Brighten a quiet corner with a fresh lick of paint, cheery doormats and displays of spring bulbs. Display an array of kitsch and quirky accessories, such as this birdhouse for a scheme that wouldn't look out of place in a country garden.

Mat and thermometer
Labour and Wait

1/10 Brighten up a rainy day

front garden with wood cladding

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Brittain)

Brighten a quiet corner with a fresh lick of paint, cheery doormats and displays of spring bulbs. Display an array of kitsch and quirky accessories, such as this birdhouse for a scheme that wouldn't look out of place in a country garden.

Mat and thermometer
Labour and WaitWellington boots and raincoatJoules

2/10 Pretty country garden with seating and throws

pretty country garden with seating bench and throws

(Image credit: Future PLC/Spike Powell)

The British summer is a capricious mistress, so it's not surprising that we rebuff the idea of investing in expensive garden furniture, but a few key pieces can really lift a scheme. For vintage appeal, give a cottage garden a boost with some interesting architectural antiques. An oversized antique clock, a painted iron bench and galvanised steel buckets and urns provide visual interest, while pretty cushions and blankets add an air of gentle romance.

Atlantic Blankets
Antique Clock
Maison Artefact

3/10 Modern garden with herb organiser

modern garden with herb organiser

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Bevan)

Is your garden (or life) in disarray? This smart herb plant stand also makes a brilliant organiser for all that paraphernalia we need to eat outdoors. Slick matte-black industrial style contrasts with shots of vivid colour. With such clever organisation and a place for everything from napkins to straws, entertaining the gang alfresco is sure to be a stress-free affair.

Plant stand
Next Home

Pizza peel

4/10 Garden with pot staging

garden with pot staging

(Image credit: Future PLC/Tim Young)

If floor or worktop space it at a premium, consider planting up. A wooden stage will help you do that. Alternative presentation of potted salads and herbs on a staging like this one provides an attractive display in the garden. Or try planting sweet-smelling lavender for an aroma that will have the birds - and you - singing.

Garden Trading
Petersham Nurseries

5/10 Garden home office retreat

garden home office retreat

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

Whatever your budget or size of garden, there's a host of clever design ideas that can transform it into a natural extension of your home. How about a place to study? Yes, really! Take indoor furniture outside in the warm, summer months to create a space that is inspiring. Paint or decoupage seating to introduce a playful aspect to otherwise neutral furniture.

Similar decoupage stool
Laura Oakes

6/10 Garden room with botanical elements

garden room with terracotta pots and botanical curtains

(Image credit: Future PLC/Emma Lee)

With summer approaching, it's time we got our gloves on and got those hands dirty. After spending a day toiling in the fields, create a dedicated garden room for all your botanical offerings. Here, botanical fabrics are teamed with utilitarian furniture and lighting to create a practical, rustic garden room. Don't throw out your old terracotta pots, steel containers and plastic planters. Store them on an open shelf to create a pretty display.

Similar rustic table
Petersham Nurseries

7/10 Bistro-inspired hanging display

bistro hanging garden display

(Image credit: Future PLC/Tim Young)

Don't have a garden? No problem! Create a pretty display along a balcony railing. Steel containers make excellent planters. Usually known for their industrial edge, these sturdy pieces can also be used to create a pretty garden display when accompanied by planters in various shapes and sizes. For added oomph, use a combination of steel planters, glass jars and candles.

Hook rail and pots
Petersham Nurseries

8/10 Garden with stencilled planter

variety of herbs in container planter in garden with pots

(Image credit: Future PLC/Tim Young)

Painting and stencilling a planter like this gives an elegant twist to a herb garden and means plants can be changed and moved around with the seasons. Keep them well watered so they flourish during the hot months. Great for kids, it will give them something to look after.

The Stencil Library
Petersham Nurseries

9/10 Herb garden with yellow ladder

herb garden with yellow ladder

(Image credit: Future PLC/Spike Powell)

Vintage garden furniture adds to the character and atmosphere of this fragrant and relaxing herb garden. Use a light palette to stop a north-facing garden looking dull. Here, a yellow ladder adds a welcome burst of vibrant colour. Ladders can be so much more than just pieces of equipment - display one elegantly and creatively in your garden for an easy country touch.

Table and chair
Maison Artefact
Wild At Heart

10/10 Traditional garden greenhouse

traditional garden greenhouse

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mark Bolton)

If you're lucky enough to have a greenhouse, don't let it go to waste. Bring in potting benches or staging to give growing room to as many plants as possible. You can control the temperature, so it is the perfect environment for growing vegetables, fruits and hardy plants. This Victorian greenhouse with a striking wood-and-metal framed roof houses several hardy cacti species.

Garden potting bench
Taylors Garden Buildings

Inspired by these gardens? Why not turn your attention to other areas of your home with these front garden ideas?


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.