Garden layout ideas: 12 stunning ways to arrange your plot

Can't decide where to put your seating, lawn, or pool? Our garden layout ideas are here to help

garden layout ideas: american style plot
(Image credit: Jon Lovette/Getty Images)

These garden layout ideas are bound to come in handy when it comes to arranging your plot. After all, whether you've got a brand new space to work with or are looking to update the one you already have, it's easy to feel unsure of where to put everything. 

You (hopefully) know the kind of things you want in your garden – a relaxing place to sit, perhaps a stretch of grass, maybe a veg patch or two... But if they're not positioned in their optimal places then it will affect how you use, and enjoy, the space. As it turns out, it's a bad idea to just plonk everything in and hope for the best. All sorts of things need to be considered to create a garden that not only looks great but also works on a more practical level.

To give you a hand getting started, we've brought together lots of garden layout ideas that you can use in your own plot. Simply keep scrolling to find out more.

1. Position a pool alongside your house

garden layout ideas: water surrounded by paving in modern plot

Good garden layout ideas will help you make the most of your pool

(Image credit: Matthew Williams/Future)

When it comes to landscaping ideas, a pool is certainly one of the more luxurious ones. But they don't need to be huge great things. Smaller, angular ones like this work beautifully in contemporary plots, especially if they're surrounded with pared-back paving in a muted grey.

When it comes to choosing where to place one, think about the areas of your plot that get the sun. This will make swimming, and sunbathing nearby, much more enjoyable – you don't want to be left shivering in the shade. 

Positioning it beneath windows of the house will also allow shimmering reflections to bounce off the water into the inside rooms, which has a pretty effect. What's more, having the house nearby is useful for when you want to grab a clean towel or cold drink.

2. Separate seating areas with a lawn

garden layout ideas: modern garden with stepping stone path across lawn

The garden layout ideas used in this plot are perfect for entertaining alfresco

(Image credit: Future)

It's always nice to have more than one option when it comes to choosing where to sit – they say variety is the spice of life after all. So, if you've got the space, pick two places for your garden furniture, at opposite ends of the plot. 

Here, a sleek stretch of raised paving provides a sun trap from which to admire the verdant lawn. At the bottom of the garden is another seating space, tucked behind a screen of foliage and beneath a stunning pergola. If you love to host garden parties or have a large family, it's a great way to provide a change of scene, or let people spread out in a relaxed way. 

And, to help you make the most of the length of your plot even more, pop a fire pit at the far end. That way, you'll still be tempted to venture down to the space even when the weather turns chillier.

3. Make the most of the evening sun

garden layout ideas: garden with seating area beneath large oak tree

Consider where the sun hits when thinking about your garden layout ideas

(Image credit: Jon Lovette/Getty Images)

When it comes to garden layout ideas, it's absolutely crucial to work out where the sunny and shady spots are throughout the day. This has many implications when it comes to arranging your space – not just for planting (right plant, right place and all that), but also for seating.

For instance, sipping a glass of something cold whilst basking in a patch of evening sun is an absolute delight. So, why not position a seating area to make the most of that gorgeous glow? A raised, circular deck and nearby outdoor sofa do just that in the stunning example above. 

Looking for more inspiration? Take a look at our outdoor seating ideas.

4. Use levels to break up the space

garden layout ideas: steps leading to lawn

This three-tiered garden is functional and stylish

(Image credit: Colin Poole/Future)

Tiered garden ideas are great for levelling out a tricky, sloping plot. But, they are also handy when it comes to zoning your space, so are good to consider when it comes to garden layout ideas.

Position an outdoor dining area on a lower level and it will feel more sheltered from the wind, plus it will seem more private, too. If this is close to the house, even better – that way you can nip in and out to grab extra drinks or more snacks.

A lawn makes a great feature for the middle tier in this garden – it'll thrive in the sun and, with the help of a few outdoor cushions and blankets, offers a soft place to lounge throughout summer.

Bulky garden buildings, whether that be sheds, summer houses, or offices, work well when they're tucked away at the end of plots. Plus, if you're working from your garden study, the commute down the garden path will create a welcome feeling of separation between the hustle and bustle of home life.

5. Surround your patio with a lawn for a luscious view

garden layout ideas: curved path leading to steps and seating area

Look out onto a stretch of green

(Image credit: Todd Ryburn Photography/Getty Images)

If you're looking to position your key entertaining spaces near the house, then try arching a lawn around them. The stretch of surrounding green will provide a soothing view from all angles.

Add plenty of flowerbeds nearby too, to soften the look. Don't forget to choose shade-loving plants for shadowy spots – hostas have been used around these statement steps above, for example.

A winding pathway that weaves around small trees adds to the laid-back vibe. Use the same materials as your patio for a cohesive feel. Remember, you can find lots more garden path ideas in our feature.

6. Use curves in your garden layout ideas

garden layout ideas: curved edging around beds leading to curved lawn

Use soothing, rounded features in your garden layout ideas

(Image credit: Colin Poole/Future)

Speaking of curves, we simply adore these white-washed flowerbeds. Positioned either side of a pathway, they gently draw the eye down the plot, whilst offering a subtle screen. 

The pleasing theme is mirrored throughout the design through the soft lines of lawn, path, and wooden edging. The overall result feels organic and soothing, whilst a pretty blue shed provides an attractive focal point.

7. Create a seamless flow between indoors and out

garden layout ideas: modern tiered decking

Integrate an outdoor living space for your garden layout ideas

(Image credit: Jemma Watts/Future)

Outdoor living is all the rage this year. More and more of us are using our gardens as extensions of our homes for eating, cooking, and lounging.

So if you've been swooning over our outdoor kitchen ideas and are thinking of taking the plunge, consider placing it near your back doors (bonus points if they slide right open). That way, you'll create a seamless flow between indoors and out – perfect for the summer months. If you're looking to hook your outdoor systems up to the gas and water mains, this can make the job easier, too.

Of course, if you're planning an alfresco kitchen, you'll want a chic place to sit and eat nearby. Using a split level decking design like the one above creates a subtle divide between the zones.

8. Embrace symmetry for an orderly feel

garden layout ideas: hedges and pathway

Manicured lawns and well-tended topiary offer a timeless look

(Image credit: Helen Cathcart/Future)

Symmetrical designs will always be visually pleasing and are a timeless choice for more formal garden layout ideas. Pair with statement topiary, architectural flowers (white agapanthus is an elegant choice), and well-tended lawns for a stunning display. 

Plenty of neatly clipped evergreen hedges will help to section a plot into different 'rooms' and up the level of privacy, too. Add a bordered pathway right down the middle to take in the view – and if you really want to turn heads, a sculpture makes a striking centre point.

9. Border your plot with wildflowers

garden layout ideas: wild planting around lawn

Surround your garden layout ideas with wilder landscaping

(Image credit: Polly Eltes/Future)

Having a more natural patch in your plot is a great way to support local wildlife – simply scatter handfuls of wildflower seed and let the grass grow. The result will be a colorful, low maintenance haven for pollinators. 

However, if you want to keep the areas closer to the house looking more orderly, then consider using this approach around the borders of your garden. It'll soften the boundaries of a fence or wall, and provide a pretty backdrop for your more formal features.

Want to recreate the look? Check out our tips on how to plant a wildflower meadow.

10. Add a boost of green with a small lawn

garden layout ideas: swimming pool in front of small lawn

Break up hard landscaping with soft grass

(Image credit: Sollina Images/Getty Images)

There's no doubt that a sleek pool and light paving feels chic, but don't forget to offset your harder landscaping with plenty of greenery. This will prevent the scene from looking too sterile, and instead, create a softer, more natural vibe.

All it takes is a lush square of turf nearby to achieve the look, but an abundance of ferns and tropical planting will up the holiday vibe further. And if you're not keen on the idea of mowing, consider opting for artificial grass – nowadays it looks just as good as the real thing, plus it won't get muddy when wet.

11. Create a secluded spot to sit

garden layout ideas: seating spot with bistro set

Create a tranquil hideaway with a pretty bistro set and plenty of plants

(Image credit: Howard Walker/Future)

Fancy a private spot in your plot for reading a good book or just enjoying some peace and quiet? Then be sure to factor this in when thinking about your garden layout ideas.

One of the best bistro sets makes the perfect choice for a small pocket of paving amongst your flowerbeds. Surround with plenty of greenery for a sheltered feel.

12. Make your greenhouse a focal point

garden layout ideas: greenhouse in veg patch with obelisks

Love to grow your own crops? Use your greenhouse as a focal point for your garden layout ideas

(Image credit: Annaick Guitteny/Future)

If you're the proud owner of a greenhouse then you'll know how important they can be to a plot. And with so many gorgeous designs now available, it makes good sense to give them pride of place.

So, position yours centrally, with plenty of pathways around to allow for easy access when you're out tending your beds. And if you're after a classic, country garden style, take inspiration from the design above and edge your beds with a low clipped hedge – it defines the space beautifully.

How do I plan my garden layout?

garden layout ideas: hedges on lawn

Add interest to a vast lawn with topiary features

(Image credit: Polly Eltes/Future)

When planning your garden layout ideas, start by thinking about the sorts of things you want to include in your dream plot. This can include plants and garden color schemes, but also think about areas for specific activities – a grow-your-own patch, a kid's play area, or a comfy space to sit, for instance. Jot them all down. As Garden Designer Jack Wallington suggests for the RHS, mood boards can also be a useful visual tool. Cut out images from gardening magazines that make you feel inspired.

It's also useful to create a scaled drawing of your garden when planning new garden layout ideas. Measuring tape in hand, head outside and work out the length and width of the plot plus any other significant structures, advises Jack. Then, sketch it out using squared paper, making each square symbolise a certain length of space.

At this point, it's also a good idea to note down the conditions of your plot. As the team at Homebase suggests, check where north is, and where the sun travels across your garden. This will be handy when you come to think about positioning plants, or where you'd like to sit throughout the day. They also suggest to test your soil, which will determine the kind of plants you can grow and where. Take a look at our guide to soil types to find out more.

Then, take your wish list and start thinking about where things would fit well. Play around with possibilities, marking them onto your plan. When it comes to plants, be sure to draw them to scale of their fully-grown size using circles, as suggests Garden Designer Jack Wallington. This will help you get a result that doesn't feel cramped.

Don't let a small plot deter you. Instead, maximise your space as much as possible, as Homebase also suggests. We've got plenty of tips on how to do so in our small garden layout ideas feature.

Holly Crossley
Acting Deputy Editor

The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion.