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For many people gardens were traditionally a paved area with some seating and grass. Storage was a standard shed for the lawnmower, weeding tools and bikes. Small gardens usually had small planting and large gardens large planting. It was a space to look out on and sit in on nice summer days.

How things have changed and how easy it is to make your outdoor space come alive.

We all now value the outdoor space we have, whether it’s large or small. Our gardens have become an extension of our living areas. We want to be able to use and enjoy them throughout the year. A well thought out garden need not cost a lot, but it can add significant value to a home. As well as providing a wonderful space to decompress after a long-tiring day.

Here are the 5 things to consider when planning your garden.


How do you want your garden to function? This is critical to getting the layout right. If you have young children, you may wish to keep a grass area for play. A larger garden may accommodate a goal for football but a smaller can also provide options for all ages e.g., a sandpit. Think through what you do or would like to do in the garden: play, relax, sunbathe, dine, or simply read a book in a sheltered spot. The functions and layout can be dictated by how much time you wish to spend on maintenance! You may want somewhere to enjoy without too much work, or you might enjoy working in the garden to relax.


Now define the areas. Do you want to keep grass or change the ground covering? Where is the best location for a dining area? Many people position this right outside the back door but your suntrap or even a better view could be to the side or back wall of your garden. Make sure the areas seamlessly flow into each other to make the space seem bigger and more integrated. Blur the boundary between the house and the garden by using similar colour tiles and flooring. Where is the shaded area and what is best located in that space? Do you want a covered area or pergola? Consider whether an umbrella or awning would work better in your space.


Like a house, all gardens need a certain amount of storage. Even for basic tools, the lawnmower and garden cushions. Many people now also have home gym equipment outside and that needs to be stored away safely when not in use. Consider the type and size of storage you need and the best place to locate it. There is a huge number of options depending on your requirements. Even a basic wooden shed can become an attractive feature of the garden using paint and colourful window boxes. Maximise the inside of the storage area with floor to ceiling shelving, hooks, and stackable plastic storage containers.


This is an area that needs careful consideration. Planting adds character and personality to your garden along with colour. Whether you’ve moved into a house with an established garden or are starting from a clean sheet, it’s important to understand what’s in the garden. And remember it doesn’t all have to be manicured borders and trees. Wildflower beds are hugely popular along with herb planters and potted shrubs. Ensure a mix of texture and colour that will see you through all seasons. If you’re not sure, then take a few pictures of your garden to your local garden centre for advice on what would work in your space.

Gone are the days of the single light bulb over the backdoor! Given the way we are now using our outdoor space we want to ensure it is lit to suit. This doesn’t mean lighting it up like a Christmas tree to be visible from Mars. It means having lighting that not only allows the space to be used after the sun goes down but that creates an atmosphere. The easiest way to do this is by up lighting trees but solar stakes along pathways and borders can also add ambiance. Festoon lights are the must have this season and really add a beautiful touch to any garden.

Your garden should be an extension of your home and your style. Regardless of the size of the space, there are lots of options to make it work. Tidy it up, take a step back and begin. With a little imagination you can create or improve your outdoor space, so it becomes a truly valuable addition to your home.