​7 different garden designs to help you find yours

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Garden Design Didsbury Hannah Collins Garden Design Modern garden
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Every so often one just needs to relax and unwind by spending some time with nature. But don’t fret, as we are definitely not suggesting that you pack up and go camping or hiking. After all, with a beautiful garden showcasing Mother Nature’s handiwork right outside your doorstep, why go anywhere else?

Gardens come in various styles. A garden may be classified according the predominant feature that it has, such an herb garden where the predominant feature is the collection of herbal plants. 

Another classification of garden types is based on the origin of the design. Some garden designs are tailored according to the traditions and themes practiced in a certain countries. Think of examples like Japanese, French and our very own English. 

Then we come to the different styles that are also applicable to interior designs and architecture, like modern, minimalist, rustic, etc. Yes, even these can be applied to gardening, if your gardening skills are top notch or you have an expert gardener in charge! 

But how do you know which garden type is right for your exterior space? And lifestyle?

With these examples of some of the different garden designs, of course…

1. Garden designs: Traditional

The term ‘traditional garden’ can mean different things to different people. However, generally it refers to the sort of gardens that are found in most average-sized plots up and down the country. 

Traditional gardens are made to complement stately homes, and are usually centred on a lawn. The visual aesthetics of the traditional garden is a mixing-and-matching of the last century or so of garden designs. Well executed with good balance and consideration for the surroundings, the traditional style is one of the most challenging, and therefore rewarding, ways to design a garden.

2. Garden designs: Formal

For formal gardens, we travel back in time to the Persian dynasties, to the gardens of mediaeval apothecaries and the complicated knot gardens of the Elizabethans. Formal gardens employ both straight and curved lines, with planting generally being symmetrical. 

Evergreens are often used with great effect to enclose and define areas of planting. Look back at Victorian gardens for optimum examples of this style of planting, as it was they who introduced us to the use of bedding plants within these schemes. 

Formal gardens are one of the more costly and time-consuming options of garden designs; therefore, this type of planting is less appealing to modern households (who don’t generally have teams of gardeners available). That’s why the modern version of formal gardens are more simplified and adopt a more manageable and sustainable way of planting.

3. Garden designs: Cottage

Love the old-fashioned and homely look? Then a cottage garden could be right up your alley. 

If you start off with a strong groundplan, almost anything goes. But keep in mind that it’s best to avoid plants and structures that are too modern, as they can seem out of place in this style of gardening. 

Traditionally, cottagers used their small plots for growing vegetables and fruits, plus some flowers. However, for the modern-day cottage garden, you don’t need a separate zone for food cultivation. Part of the style is to mix fruit and vegetables in with the rest of the planting. 

And out of all the different types of garden designs, the cottage garden might be the most ideal for plant lovers, as it allows for the continual acquisition of new plants.

4. Garden designs: Mediterranean

Terrace House garden Earth Designs Mediterranean style garden
Earth Designs

Terrace House garden

Earth Designs

Want your garden to make it look and feel as if you live in a hotter climate? By carefully selecting the plants of your Mediterranean-style garden, you can mimic the look of many of the plants that originate in the Mediterranean. 

Some, such as herbs, are quite resilient and, if planted in a free-draining spot, should flourish in most British gardens. 

homify hint: To create your own little holiday garden, add some gravel and perhaps a vintage café set.

5. Garden designs: Minimalist

Small, low maintenance garden Yorkshire Gardens Minimalist style garden Wood-Plastic Composite
Yorkshire Gardens

Small, low maintenance garden

Yorkshire Gardens

Think of the minimalist garden as the exact opposite of modern/contemporary gardens. This design relies on a cleaned-down version of a space, focusing on clear lines and a ‘less is more’ approach. 

To achieve a perfect minimalist garden, caution is advised for both landscaping and planting. Limit your use of colour and plant in blocks using greater numbers, but fewer varieties.

6. Garden designs: Herbs

Whether you have a large or a small yard, it can be perfect for your herb garden. Some people choose to grow their herb collections in simple containers, making it easy to take their “gardens” with them when moving house. Others prefer their herb gardens neatly in the back yard close to the rear door, as it’s easy to retrieve the necessary herbs required for cooking. 

But of course you can just as easily devote a large portion of your garden to herbs, creating a network of paths that snake between garden beds filled with numerous herb plants. 

And style-wise, you can opt for either a formal herb garden (with those herbs neatly and painstakingly planned and planted in a precise manner), or a more informal/lush design (where it looks as if Mother Nature herself were in charge).

7. Garden designs: Contemporary/modern

Perhaps the most popular of garden designs, contemporary gardens make use of modern ideas of style. Often, these ideas reflect the architecture of the house they adjoin.

Although contemporary gardens suit a lot of new homes, many new houses like to use vintage/classic architecture, which is why red-tiled porches, complex rooflines and fake sash windows seem to be getting popular again. 

A true contemporary garden must reflect these nods toward past designs, yet also create a new outdoor space for living. But remember that these styles can sometimes be mixed with visually delightful results. A favourite is to combine formal landscaping ideas with old-fashioned cottage planting. Just imagine how fascinating it can be to see burgeoning plants in all their lushness billowing from the confines of a rigid and straight-lined garden.

Rules can definitely be broken, and that applies to gardening as well!

Speaking of beautiful outdoor spaces, take a look at homify gardening: Working with a planting plan.

Which of these garden designs would you pick?

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