Garden design ideas: 54 ways to update your space with planting, furniture, materials, and more

Give your space a gorgeous new look with our garden design ideas – there's something for every size and budget

garden design ideas with decked roof terrace
(Image credit: Andreas von Einsiedel/Alamy Stock Photo)

Are you searching for new garden design ideas to transform your space? With warmer weather approaching, now's as good a time as any to get yours looking fabulous, ready for lots of use.

Using our gardens as an extension of our living spaces has become more important than ever. Whether it's a place to relax with family at the weekends; somewhere quiet and peaceful to escape the stresses of everyday life; a play zone for the kids; or an outdoor kitchen area; our gardens have to work hard to meet all of our needs. And of course, as well as being practical, they need to look beautiful too. 

No matter how big or small your backyard is, with just a few simple touches you can create a tranquil oasis that you'll want to spend all your time in. We've rounded up our favorite garden design ideas to give you all the inspiration you need to turn your dream garden space into a reality. And, if you're after more advice for your next project, our guide on how to plan your garden design has lots more useful tips.

1. Surround a decked terrace with ornamental grasses

small tree in container in modern garden

Decking adds a polished look to garden design ideas

(Image credit: Andreas von Einsiedel/Alamy Stock Photo)

Decking ideas are a popular choice for all kinds of garden and it's easy to see why. They're smart, simple to maintain (our guide on how to clean decking has all the tips you need), and they provide a sturdy platform for all your outdoor furniture.

Timber decks also offer an organic texture and warming tone to a space, which can make a lovely contrast against urban surroundings. Just take a look at this show-stopping roof terrace for instance. The sleek wood extends to the raised planters, built-in bench, and even the fire pit for a harmonious vibe. Meanwhile, a screen of wispy ornamental grasses softens the look further, as well as boosting privacy levels.

2. Consider an awning for shelter

awning over raised patio with hanging chair

An awning like this will provide cover from rain and shade from sun, whilst letting in the light

(Image credit: Joanna Henderson/Future)

If you have a seating area that's next to your house, investing in patio cover ideas such as an awning or veranda will provide protection from both the rain and sun. 

Choosing a clear material like glass or perspex for the roof means that light still gets through and you can enjoy views of the sky. If the structural beams are strong enough, you could even consider hanging a chair from one of them for the ultimate outdoor relaxation spot.

3. Go uber-modern with bold screens

modern steps seating and screen

A Corten steel screen makes a striking backdrop to this scene

(Image credit: Hasselblad H6D/Future)

If you're looking to zone up your space, block lacklustre views, or create a more private and sheltered nook, then a sturdy screen is definitely a good addition to your garden design ideas. 

This Corten steel one is an absolute head-turner, providing the perfect backdrop for a sleek seating area. Against the pared-down surroundings, it's a bold and beautiful focal point and really completes the scene.

Of course, there are plenty of other options if you prefer something a little more understated. Our garden screening ideas gallery has plenty of inspiration.

4. Define zones with a pretty arbor

cottage garden style with arbor and trellis for garden design ideas

Traditional garden design ideas work well with pretty trellised fences and structural arbors

(Image credit: Ian Lamond/Alamy Stock Photo)

Another way to break up the 'rooms' of your garden design ideas is with an arbor. Framing a path or gate, they'll add extra definition to a space as well as visual interest up high. 

This curved design is a lovely addition to a more traditional scene, and complements the open and airy trellised fence. It also provides a sturdy support for climbing plants – everything feels more enchanting with a rambling rose overhead.

You can also find garden arbor ideas that integrate with benches for a cozy seating spot – our gallery has lots of styles.

5. Lead the way with paved paths

long garden with modern decor

Use a path to connect garden zones

(Image credit: Rei Moon/Future)

Having paths that link different areas of your garden design ideas is not only visually appealing, it's also practical. Without a pathway you'll soon find that you tread an unsightly channel in your lawn. 

We're a big fan of stepping stone ideas like these for a playful twist. Opt for salvaged paving slabs as a cheap option and smarten them up with one of the best pressure washers before laying, to make them look brand new.

6. Soften brick features with plenty of plants

traditional garden with brick wall and cottage garden planting

Red brick walls look lovely alongside cottage-style planting

(Image credit: Joe Wainwright/Future)

Red clay bricks are a classic choice for garden wall ideas and work wonderfully in more traditional plots. But, when adorned with plenty of clambering flowers and foliage, they offer a whimsical charm reminiscent of bygone eras.

For an enchanting scene, train sweetly-scented honeysuckle or colorful clematis over your walls using trellis ideas for gardens. Then, add an ornate garden mirror or two, or even a hanging basket or stone ornament up high. Take a cue from the scene above and continue the theme by opting for tons of cottage-garden style plants around the plot, balanced with neatly-clipped miniature hedges for a sense of structure.

We also love how the split-level design of this plot forms a useful bench – perfect when entertaining guests.

7. Create a holiday vibe with a pool and bar

deck with pool and sun loungers from Harris Harris

Sleek furniture from Harris & Harris provides the perfect finishing touch to this luxurious scene

(Image credit: Harris & Harris)

If you want to bring a sense of luxury to your garden design ideas, then you can't go far wrong with a pool. Add in a sleek bar and you're all set for a chic summer of relaxation.

Keep the range of materials and color palette pared-down for a serene and sophisticated vibe. Here, pale decking makes a gorgeous complement to monochrome furniture, and we're a big fan of those sculptural end tables, too.

Naturally, a view like this will take any garden design ideas up a notch, but if yours isn't quite the same, then a few sleek raised beds filled with leafy foliage or a potted olive tree wouldn't go amiss.

Our backyard pool ideas feature has tons more looks.

8. Build seating into your walls

Outdoor seating area with built in sofa

Double up your walls for seating as part of your garden design ideas

(Image credit: David Giles/Future)

Want to maximize space in your garden? Having outdoor seating ideas up against a wall gives a seamless look, especially when combined with raised beds. The wall behind the bench seating also offers added protection from the wind or sun. Simply add some colorful bench or scatter cushions to ramp up the comfort factor. 

All those cushions will need storing away when it's raining and during the winter months, however, so if you don't have a shed or garden storage it's a good idea to incorporate storage underneath your bench seating instead. Opt for a design where the top of the bench seat can be lifted up to reveal a large storage compartment, perfect for keeping all your cushions and throws in.

9. Curate a cozy outdoor living room

modern garden with paving and privacy fence

Patterned pavers are a great addition to garden design ideas

(Image credit: Jacek Wac/Alamy Stock Photo)

We all know that garden's aren't just for growing. They're a place to relax and entertain loved ones – just like you would in your living room but out in the fresh air. 

Comfy seating, coffee tables, cushions, and a considered color palette are all must-have additions for cozy garden design ideas. But, don't be afraid to get a little creative – here, patterned paving is a fantastic way to add personality to the space, as is the verdant border of sedum and other succulents which surrounds it.

Sleek raised beds around the edge of a plot are a great option for modern garden ideas, especially if they double up as seating as mentioned above. And don't forget a stylish fence too, to keep nosy neighbors out. This horizontally-slatted design adds bags of style in its soft grey hue.

10. Cocoon a space in climbing foliage

traditional chairs on paving with wisteria overhead

Embrace a canopy of greenery for your garden design ideas

(Image credit: David Cleveland/Future)

If you've got a pergola over your patio, then covering it in some of the best climbing plants is a reliable way to elevate it further. Sipping a glass of vino under a canopy of leaves or fragranced flowers certainly sounds like our idea of bliss!

Of course there are plenty of climbing roses to choose from, but wisteria is also a lovely choice for its striking purple blooms. Even when it's not in flower, the foliage will bring a refreshing boost of green to a space throughout summer. Just add some timeless rattan furniture and you've got the perfect relaxing retreat to shelter from the sun.

11. Add a sleek path with decking

decking path in modern garden

Decking makes for a structured and smart walkway

(Image credit: Jake Curtis/Future)

Chic decking doesn't have to be reserved for outdoor living spaces; it also makes fabulous pathways. This narrow stretch above follows the exterior of the house, and is lined with vivid-green euphorbia and spiky grasses for a structural vibe.

White planters continue the theme of clean, sleek lines and help to divide the zone from the next part of the garden. It's a fresh and modern look that we simply adore. You could even add recessed lighting to illuminate the way after dark.

12. Go for gravelled garden design ideas

gravel garden with wooden sun lounger

Gravel can be planted up with greenery for a natural vibe

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp/Future)

If you've seen our garden gravel ideas, then you'll know what a versatile, budget-friendly, and brilliant material this stony ground-cover can be. 

It's great for a more informal look, and can be planted up with lots of different alpines, succulents and other drought-resistant varieties for a naturalistic style. It's an ideal base for a tucked-away seating spot; just add large ornamental grasses for extra shelter and privacy.

13. Create an indoor-outdoor flow

view of modern tiered garden from indoors

Create a flow between indoors and out as part of your garden design ideas

(Image credit: Anna Stathaki/Future)

A stunning outdoor space can easily become an extension of your home. Select materials that match – or at least complement – your indoor flooring to create a seamless flow. 

Floor-to-ceiling doors that open fully really create a feeling of endless space. This is an ideal scenario for garden design ideas where space is at a premium, to stop things from feeling cramped.

14. Go for moody tones for your garden structures

black pergola over outdoor living area

Deck your seating spot out with modern accessories

(Image credit: Future)

If your garden lacks shelter, then adding a structure like a pergola could be a good option for creating a cozy and welcoming seating area. Painting it a dark color can help it to tie in with your furniture and creates a more fresh and contemporary feel. 

String festoon lights up for when the sun goes down and frame the area with an outdoor rug and matching cushions to add to the homely style.

15. Embrace cottage-style planting for your garden design ideas

wild cottage-garden style garden

Sumptuous planting in a rainbow of color is wonderful for more relaxed garden design ideas

(Image credit: Stephanie Mahon/Future)

If you're a fan of our cottage garden ideas, then a design like this might be just the ticket. Sure, it's a little wild but the mounds of foliage, billowing florals, and spectrum of soft pastel colors are sure to bring joy to anyone.

What's more, garden design ideas like these are a haven for butterflies and bees, which will bring even more color and life into your garden. Weave reclaimed brick pathways around the generous beds so you can admire the scene from all angles, and try adding a touch of topiary for a more refined touch.

16. Use raised beds to line a small space

Garden design ideas: patio and raised beds

Crisp white beds add a brightening effect

(Image credit: Lizzie Orme/Future)

Here, raised garden bed ideas define the seating area in this modestly spaced garden. Though they narrow the zone, it actually lengthens the look of the space and it's still the perfect fit for an outdoor dining table. 

These raised beds are also painted white, which reflects sunlight and offers a bright and airy feel to what could otherwise be a small and perhaps oppressive garden.

17. Pick chic materials for your garden ideas

modern garden with fire pit and festoon lights

Try patterned paving for an on-trend look

(Image credit: Dominic Blackmore/Future)

Patterned floor tiles are a growing trend for paving ideas, and there's plenty of choice available. From cool graphics to ornate Mediterranean designs, they certainly pack a punch. 

If you aren't all that green-fingered then their patterns can make up for a lack of interest elsewhere and give a much-needed boost to more simplistic planting schemes. 

It's important to make sure your choice of paving is suitable for outdoor use to prevent it cracking due to frost, or becoming too slippery when wet. Man-made materials such as porcelain or concrete are hard-wearing choices, or opt for natural stones like sandstone, granite, limestone or slate for your garden design ideas.

18. Design an area for cooking as part of your garden design ideas

green egg grill in outdoor kitchen for garden design ideas

Create the outdoor cooking set-up of dreams

(Image credit: Joanna Henderson/Future)

Let's face it, one of the best things about having a garden is being able to fire up one of the best BBQs. If this is the case for you, then putting in a designated area for cooking as part of your garden ideas makes good practical sense. 

It can be as simple as installing some storage to keep everything in one accessible place, from charcoal to condiments. Extra surface space is also handy for outdoor cooking and will save you walking back and forth to the kitchen to fetch what you need. Our outdoor kitchen ideas feature is full of inspiring styles.

19. Use the vertical space to create boundaries

hammock and outdoor seating on deck

This sturdy perimeter divides the space whilst keeping an open feel

(Image credit: Douglas Gibb/Future)

This sturdy overhead structure provides a subtle divide between the seating space and lawn, whilst allowing views to be enjoyed uninterrupted. What's more, the pared-back design is perfect for hanging a hammock and festoon lights to up the cozy factor. 

A climbing plant can be seen making its way up one of the columns, too – adding an extra dose of greenery. And if you opt for fragranced kinds such as honeysuckle or roses, then you can enjoy gorgeous clouds of scent in summer.

A neutral palette keeps the structure cohesive with the rustic decking. And, we love the bordering paving detailed with stones, which seamlessly flows into a nearby path.

20. Make your garden design ideas family-friendly

kids garden with lawn and playhouse

Make sure there's something for everyone in your space

(Image credit: Colin Poole/Future)

Good garden design ideas need to factor in all the family, to be a space that can be enjoyed by everyone. But, making a space fun for kids as well as grown-ups needn't mean you have to sacrifice on style.

This pretty playhouse fits in with the scheme beautifully, and is tucked away in a corner full of greenery – adding to the sense of magic for little ones (and the sense of peace for adults!). 

In terms of harder landscaping, notice how the nearby, mid-height wall doubles up as a casual bench, as well as bringing a sense of structure to the space. Meanwhile, steps lead down from the verdant lawn to a more formal seating spot for alfresco lunches. By lining them with soft geraniums and architectural agapanthus and astrantias, a gentle woodland feel is evoked and a soft divide is created between zones.

It's a relatively simple design, but it works perfectly for all involved. Our family garden ideas feature has lots more tips.

21. Zone up a tropical plot

tropical garden design ideas

Pair palms with sleek materials for a modern take on tropical

(Image credit: Alasdair McIntosh/Future)

When considering small garden ideas, you might think that breaking up a plot into separate areas would make it look even smaller. But, zoning garden design ideas like this can actually increase the feeling of space. 

This small garden has been divided into sections that are separated by low maintenance tropical-style planting. The decked dining area is positioned nearest the house, which can be practical for easy access to the kitchen. The snug seating area at the bottom of the garden feels cozy and secluded and is perfect for relaxing. 

Adding a fire pit means it can be enjoyed later in the year too, when the evenings are cooler.

22. Elevate your seating space

An outdoor living room at the bottom a garden

Raise up garden furniture onto a deck and create an outdoor living room

(Image credit: Jamie Mason/Future)

If the bottom area of your garden is the place that gets the most sun, it's the ideal spot for outdoor living space ideas. As it's further away from the house, it also gives a feeling of seclusion and privacy. 

The decking gives the space a more permanent feel, as though it's an extension of the home, which is enhanced by the shelves on the rear wall. Add some bright bunting and color pop cushions for some fun and flair.

23. Turn heads with trees

trees on patio space

Create a breathtaking display with small trees for your garden ideas

(Image credit: Mark Bolton Photography/Future)

Looking to add something a little different to your garden? A display like this is bound to turn heads.

The 'Nana' variety of Indian bean trees (Catalpa bignonioides nana) is a more compact version than its larger counterparts, and looks stunning arranged in a paved space. Surrounded by neatly-clipped evergreens, the scene has a sculptural vibe – a great way to liven up a quiet corner.

You could swap out the trees depending on your style – how about some blossoming fruit trees, or vibrant acers? Our best trees for small gardens guide has plenty more options you could try.

24. Bring in some foliage

A shaded seating area with ferns and living wall

Cocoon your seating with a living wall

(Image credit: Colin Poole)

Foliage-covered fences and walls can act as a handy barrier to exterior noise, which is particularly useful in city gardens. Plant climbers such as fragrant jasmine in raised beds next to your fence and encourage them to spread out, creating a living wall effect. 

Enhance your secluded oasis with foliage and a large parasol for shade and lose yourself in the greenery. Our guide has plenty of tips on how to create a similar living wall look in your space. 

25. Mix hard materials with soft planting

The Savills and David Harber Garden. Designed by: Andrew Duff. RHS Chelsea flower show garden

(Image credit: Neil Hepworth/RHS)

If you're looking to strike that perfect balance between natural yet modern for your garden design ideas, then give this a try. By breaking up your paving with areas of soft planting, the look will feel unexpected, fresh, and organic. 

Weave in wilder flowers such as field buttercups, or try ornamental grasses for their soothing textural appeal. And why not integrate water in this way too? 

Then, add a few statement pieces of garden furniture, so you can relax and take in the view. The space will be adored by you – and visiting pollinators – in no time.

26. Add intrigue with traditional gates

Bowles & Wyer gateway onto lawn

Garden design and build by Bowles & Wyer

(Image credit: Steven Wooster/Bowles & Wyer)

If you're a fan of traditional styles, then rustic and wooden garden gate ideas can be a stunning solution to divide different 'rooms' of your plot. 

This pretty design is nestled into an evergreen hedge, and helps to frame the open lawn in front. As the experts at Bowles & Wyer say, it's good to design a space with a vista in mind.

27. Take in the view from a chill-out spot

Bowles & Wyer curved wall and sun loungers

Garden design and build by Bowles & Wyer

(Image credit: Steven Wooster/Bowles & Wyer)

'It's always important to plan the perfect spot to enjoy a view or a G&T,' says the team at Bowles & Wyer. And we think this would do the job just fine.

So, if you're lucky enough to be surrounded by vistas that inspire, then make the most of them. These sun loungers looking out onto a wild meadow will offer instant feelings of zen. If your surroundings are more on the urban side, then you can still create gorgeous views, even if it's just with a few of our garden planter ideas.

Curved features add to the flow of a plot, so are a great choice if you're opting for a blissed-out vibe. This wall is a feature in itself due to its luxurious width, and with the help of a few outdoor cushions, could also be used as a serene spot for lounging.

28. Create a tranquil water feature

The Hospitality Garden. Designed by: Kazuyuki Ishihara. Sponsored by: G-Lion. RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018. 

The Hospitality Garden, designed by Kazuyuki Ishihara at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018

(Image credit: Tim Sandall/RHS)

Water features, ponds, and fountains will instantly add a tranquil feel to garden design ideas due to their beautiful appearance and calming sounds.

If you've got the space, then recreating a waterfall display such as this is a breathtaking way to elevate a garden. Designed by award-winning expert Kazuyuki Ishihara, it uses plenty of moss and irises for an organic effect with a nod towards Japanese-style gardens. 

Of course, such a feature isn't achievable for smaller spaces, but even a simple water bowl can add a dose of serenity. Head over to our water feature ideas for inspiration, or if you love the Japanese look, our small Japanese garden ideas has got you covered.

29. Add plants to your paving

planted paving

Add visual interest to stone slabs

(Image credit: Alexa Ryan Mills Garden Design)

When we think of garden design ideas we often concentrate on the larger, more structural stuff. But it's important to factor in the smaller details too, as they can make all the difference to the look of a space. 

As Alexa Ryan-Mills of Alexa Ryan-Mills Garden Design says, one way to do so is to 'experiment with greening up paths with a mix of drought-tolerant sedums, thyme and other low-growing plants between pavers.' This adds tons of visual interest and, if you're using thyme, will offer a pleasant scent too. 

Get creative with it – you could try growing them around each slab, or add a simple strip across your patio ideas for a more contemporary look. 

30. Sink your seating space

sunken seating space

This garden is designed by Garden Design Guru

(Image credit: Barry Chambers/Garden Design Guru)

'If being exposed to wind or neighboring windows, why not dig down and make a sunken area?' says garden designer Barry Chambers of Garden Design Guru.

This welcoming spot blends a rustic, wooden corner bench with sandy-toned paving, whilst ornamental grasses help to screen the view of the house. It's a fabulous way to make an area feel more exclusive and sheltered from the elements – just add one of the best garden parasols for the perfect finishing touch.

31. Introduce a stylish pergola

decked area with a pergola and bench

A stylish dining pergola from Forest Garden is a great addition to garden design ideas

(Image credit: Forest Garden)

Modern pergola ideas are a fantastic option for any sized garden. Pre-sized panels can be fitted together in different layouts so you can customize your design. Alternatively, off-the-shelf modular products can quickly transform a space and help create a unified look for boundaries. 

The strong lines of a contemporary slatted design provide a stylish backdrop for plants, creating an extra planting opportunity and adding an architectural element that looks good all year round. Another plus is that if your garden is overlooked, a small pergola can be incorporated into your plans to add a feeling of privacy.

32. Choose exotics for small spaces

exotic style planting with cannas and tree ferns

Colorful flowers and bold foliage liven up a space

(Image credit: Future)

Densely-planted lush exotics create an exuberant planting style that detracts from small dimensions. Plants chosen for their interesting leaves dominate and add a gorgeously textured look, making them perfect for tropical garden ideas

Fill in borders with lustrous banana palms, spiky phormium and low-growing hardy ferns. A supersized tree fern always catches the eye.

Add drama with a touch of bold color too. With their vibrant hot red or orange blooms and luxe foliage, cannas make a stunning centerpiece for a border. 

33. Plan your planting for your garden ideas

Two deck chairs on a bricked seating area

Consider your options carefully when it comes to your flowers and foliage

(Image credit: Colin Poole)

If you're struggling with ideas on how to fit your planting around your seating space, try sketching out some designs first. Mark out your area and see where you could place your foliage.

This seating spot has beds that have been pre-planned and built-in when the bricked patio was being laid. Large statement pots with colorful planting, such as these hydrangeas, are an easy way to change up the look and feel of the space from one year to the next.

Want to build your own paved zone? Our step-by-step guide on how to lay a patio has all the expert tips you'll need. 

34. Choose statement furniture

low maintenance garden ideas of pots

Pair striking furniture designs with a jumble of interesting pots

(Image credit: Future)

Sometimes one standalone piece of furniture is all that's needed to give an instant lift to garden design ideas. Next to a group of container plants at varying heights this tranquil and stylish spot is perfect for whiling away the hours with a good book. 

You can find your perfect outdoor seating in our guide to the best garden furniture

35. Go for laid-back entertaining 

Outdoor tiki bar with colour pop seating

Use garden design ideas to create a tropical-island vibe

(Image credit: Simon Whitmore/Future)

Love using your garden as a space for entertaining friends and family? Try incorporating one of our favorite outdoor bar ideas to give your garden a focal point for parties.

A garden bar will also encourage people to spread out from the seating area, ensuring your garden gatherings have a more open and friendly vibe. If you're good at DIY, creating a simple outdoor bar structure is an inexpensive way to recreate this look. Or, take a look at ready-made designs for your garden ideas.

36. Plant grasses for a textural look

Grasses planted along the edge of a patio

Grasses make a great addition to modern plots

(Image credit: Future)

Choosing one variety of plant and grouping them en masse gives an effortlessly stylish look. Remember that less is often more. 

Here, uniform planting of airy grasses adds a cool style to a garden that's right on trend. They add drama and understated elegance with their sculptural shapes in stunning shades of burnt gold, luminous silver and vibrant stripes. 

The trick to add wow-factor is planting different types of grass as the stars of the show rather than mixing them in with other plants as a filler. Plant them in pots that you can move around to suit the mood. Our guide on how to grow ornamental grasses has all you need to get started.

37. Set the right tone for your garden design ideas

A garden patio in a white colour scheme with table and chairs on a summers day

Go for a monochromatic scheme for your garden ideas

(Image credit: Colin Poole/Future)

Deciding on a color scheme that ties in your plants and your furniture can be tricky. But, opting for a monochrome palette for your garden design ideas means that you needn't worry about things matching. 

This all-white scheme is fresh and modern, and really soaks up the sunlight. Picking plants becomes easier too as there are plenty of white blooms available to choose from. What's more, a monochromatic look is totally on-trend this year, as featured in our garden trends guide.

38. Add interest at eye level 

Built in sunken seating with alliums in raised beds

Alliums add a playful feel to this border

(Image credit: Colin Poole/Future)

Having multiple levels for garden design ideas can add variety to the space. For instance, a raised patio dining area can also give you a better view of the rest of the garden. 

Raised beds are also a great way of bringing plants up from ground level – having them at eye height in a seating area means you feel more of a connection to the planting. Taller plants like alliums offer another extra level, too.

39. Keep it low-maintenance

two chairs on lawn with hydrangea

Bring indoor furniture outside on sunny days

(Image credit: James Merrell/Future)

You may not have the resources at the moment to spend time and money on landscaping ideas, but that doesn't mean you can't still have a beautiful garden. 

On fair-weather days you can bring indoor furniture outside and appreciate the existing charms of your plot. Just remember to bring things inside overnight because it's not worth the risk of furniture getting soaked in an unexpected downpour.

40. Reinvent a classic

paved patio area with a corner sofa

(Image credit: Topps Tiles)

Hard landscaping should last for years, so it makes sense to go with a timeless look as part of your garden design ideas. With so much choice available when it comes to materials, this is where things can get expensive. It's important to bear in mind your budget so things don't ravel out of control. 

Textured limestone pavers add the luxe look to your garden design but are one of the more pricey options. Nowadays, however, you can get the look at a fraction of the cost and without the hassle of maintaining the real thing. Limestone-effect tiles give the same wow-factor and slot seamlessly into a cool and contemporary look. 

Our modern paving ideas feature has lots more inspiration.

41. Include tropical planting

An outdoor seating area with a built in brick outdoor fire and jungle style planitng

Opt for a desert island look for your garden design ideas

(Image credit: Joanna Henderson/Future)

Design a jungle-style canopy by layering trees and taller plants such as ferns, with smaller-sized plants underneath to get that lush, overgrown vibe. Tree ferns are slow-growing and hardy, so are perfect for bringing an exotic feel to a tropical garden. 

Include some structural elements made from materials that feel as if they’ve always been there – large rocks, distressed woods, old brickwork, bamboo poles and brushwood screening all work well. And why not add to the look with a printed parasol? We love the fringing detail on this one above.

42. Style up your space with modular furniture

covered outdoor dining area with stylish garden dining set

(Image credit: Bridgman)

The modular furniture in this lounge style set-up is accessorized with small tables, cushions and vases to create a cohesive look that's coordinated right through to the stylish planter. 

Choose all-weather, powder-coated aluminium, and synthetic rattan in a cool stone-grey weave. Then, add colorful cushions and bold planting to your garden ideas to switch up the look. And, to keep it in tip-top condition, our guide on how to clean garden furniture has lots of advice.

43. Transform a terrace

roof terrace with sofa and cushions

Funky cushions and a potted olive tree bring a cozy vibe to this urban scene

(Image credit: Rei Moon/Future)

Small roof terraces or balcony garden ideas can also benefit from good garden design ideas.

Use the colors of your surroundings to help you create your color scheme. For example, here, grey stone has informed the shade of the decking and the furniture, creating a cool and muted palette. The patterned cushions add a flair of fun.

You may not have lots of space on your terrace for an array of plants, but one statement pot will really lift the view.

44. Accessorize a blank canvas

An outdoor sofa set with bright tropical accents

Mix up the look for your garden design ideas

(Image credit: Simon Whitmore)

If you're someone whose tastes change depending on trends, then you might want to opt for a furniture set that can act as a blank canvas. 

Something fairly plain and unobtrusive can be styled up with new accessories depending on what look you're trying to create. Adding a new color pop planter or bold cushion here and there can give it a whole new energy.

45. Use every nook for your garden ideas

bench on decking with lanterns and cushions

Check your plot for empty spaces and put them to good use

(Image credit: Dominic Blackmore/Future)

Have a look around your garden and see if there is any dead space that could be put to better use. Is there a patch of wall that's currently bare, and could fit one of the best garden benches? If so, you've got yourself a new cozy nook! 

Different seating areas are always handy. Whether it's for entertaining or just for your own use, it's nice to take in a different view, or separate dining areas from relaxation spaces. 

46. Try your hand at upcycling

upcycled seating for garden design ideas

Upcycled oil drums make eye-catching seats

(Image credit: Chris Everard/Future)

If you want to ensure your space is truly unique, then simple DIY and upcycling projects are the way to go. 

Sewing skills can be put to good use for seat cushions in pretty prints and of course a lick of outdoor paint in a well-chosen shade is simple to do. 

These recycled oil drums have been painted and turned into unique outdoor seating. We've got lots more tips on how to use salvage for garden upcycling ideas in our feature. 

47. Put in some steps

Steps leading up to a lawn area with sun loungers

Connect your garden design ideas with chic steps

(Image credit: Colin Poole)

Having a garden on different levels can be more visually appealing than having everything at one height. Steps can add another dimension to your layout, so think about putting in a raised section at one end of the garden. 

This is particularly good for sloped gardens, as you can create a series of levels rather than one continuous slope, which can be impractical for seating areas or as play spaces for kids.

Need more ways to make the most of your plot? Our sloping garden ideas feature has plenty.

48. Open up the space with mirrors

black fence with mirror above bench

Garden mirrors are a tried-and-tested trick for creating an illusion of space

(Image credit: Olly Gordon/Future)

Every outdoor space benefits from our garden mirror ideas. You'd be amazed how much it can open up even the smallest of areas. 

Positioning is key; you want it to reflect light from the sun to brighten the space but you don't want it shining in your face while you're trying to enjoy an alfresco lunch. And, be wary of too much light hitting your plants, in case this damages the leaves. 

49. Keep your garden design ideas sleek

Garden scene with clipped hedges and outdoor dining area

Look to the exterior of your home for design inspiration for your garden

(Image credit: Colin Poole/Future)

If your home's exterior is quite modern, it's a good idea to continue the contemporary look in your outside space for a sense of cohesion. 

Pristinely-clipped hedges are a useful way to zone a seating space from a lawn. Plus, they'll soften the look of hard landscaping or the rendered finish of an extension. Our lawn edging ideas have plenty more designs.

50. Introduce a country cottage feel

brick patio with seating and chairs

Use a mix of traditional materials for a classic look

(Image credit: Polly Eltes/Future)

Robust, traditional materials like timber, stone and brick lend themselves to a more rustic style garden. A pretty pastel outdoor sofa and chairs can set the scene and a climbing rose is classic cottage garden essential. Choose a fragrant climber and train it up a wall for quintessential country garden look. 

Our feature on cottage garden patio ideas has lots more inspiration on how to recreate the vibe.

51. Enjoy vacation vibes

Garden area with built in outdoor kitchen and seating and area with two recliners

Bring a holiday feel to your outdoor space with garden design ideas

(Image credit: Paul Whicheloe)

Not being able to jet off to other countries as easily has meant that there's been a growing appreciation for our outdoor spaces. 

So, why not create a relaxation area where you can recline with a book or simply lie there and soak up the sun? Outdoor heating, such as the best patio heaters or best fire pits, means that you can enjoy your garden well into the evening and in the cooler months too. 

52. Choose smart paving

outdoor kitchen ideas: duck-egg coloured kitchen with small tree on patio

Opt for light hues when it comes to your paving

(Image credit: Paul Raeside/Future)

If you're thinking of laying a paved area, you might want to consider choosing a light shade to open up the space. Paler colors reflect light, making an area seem more spacious without seeming empty. 

A good tip for your garden ideas is to check what color the paving turns to in the rain, as you may not like the look of it. If you live somewhere where weather can be unpredictable, this is definitely a factor to consider.

53. Make use of every corner

paved patio with built-in corner seating

Look at your spaces with a new perspective

(Image credit: Tile Giant)

Re-assess your garden and see if there's any potential in a neglected corner in terms of using the space differently. For instance, maybe you can add an extra area for outdoor living, relaxation, a yoga workout or your mindfulness moment – whatever it is that takes your fancy. 

Then, style it up to suit the mood. So, if you're after the feeling of a garden retreat, add plenty of comfortable cushions, festoon lighting and a fire pit or barbecue to turn the space into something special.

54. Add lighting for a magical effect

outdoor living area at night with festoon lights and a fire pit

Outdoor lighting is a must-have for romantic garden design ideas – this selection is from Lights4fun

(Image credit: Lights4Fun)

As the sun sets, garden lighting ideas can totally transform your outdoor space, changing the atmosphere at the flick of a switch. Not only will it allow you to enjoy being in your garden for longer, but you'll also benefit from views of your outdoor space from inside the house at night. 

Combine a range of lighting options, such as festoon and fairy lights, for maximum impact. Portable options, such as LED candles are also a great way to boost your garden lighting, creating a softer, more intimate ambience. 

What do you need to consider when designing a garden?

small rock garden ideas: seating area with foldable furniture

Think about how you want to use your outdoor space when planning your garden design ideas

(Image credit: terra24/Getty Images)

First and foremost, you need to consider how you want to use your space when designing a garden. Think about the activities you want to do outdoors – do you need space for eating, socializing, or playing with the kids? Or, maybe you've been checking out our guides on how to grow sweet peas or how to grow lavender and want to create your own flower-filled haven. 

Whatever the activities are, list them down as a starting point, then think about how each zone can be arranged across your plot. Take practical factors such as sunlight, shelter, and your all-important budget into account.

You'll also need to think of the style you want to create. Channel your personality by picking colors and textures that suit you, and think about focal points such as water features, sculptures, or small trees.

When it comes to planting, check the conditions of your plot first. If it doesn't get much sun, then our shade garden ideas will help you transform it into a welcoming oasis. If it's sunny and dry, then perhaps our small rock garden ideas are more fitting. And if you're not entirely sure, then our guide to soil types will give you a helping hand.

Another top tip for your garden design ideas is to consider the timings of your garden design project, especially if you're planning other building works. For instance, if you're starting a house extension project, this can be the perfect time to think about your garden design. This is especially the case if you're going to be removing side access to the rear garden. The last thing you want to do is build a sleek new extension and then have to cart machinery and landscaping materials through your house to complete the garden at a later date. Plan for the work to be completed at the same time, to minimize the inevitable upheaval.

Teresa Conway
Deputy Editor

Teresa has worked as an Editor on a number of gardening magazines for three years now. So she is lucky enough to see and write about gardening across all sizes, budgets and abilities. She recently moved into her first home and the garden is a real project! Currently she is relishing planning her own design and planting schemes. What she is most passionate about when it comes to gardening are the positive effects it has on our mental health to grow and care for plants, as well as being great for the environment too and help provide food and shelter for wildlife.