Landscaping ideas: 12 ways to transform your outdoor space

Use our favourite landscaping ideas to inspire your design and make sure your garden is rich in interest at every level

landscaping ideas: raised deck area with garden sofa set
(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

We’ve put together some of our best landscaping ideas below. Whatever the style of garden you prefer and whichever plants and foliage you already have or plan to add to the plot, these pictures will give you the inspiration you need.

You’ll find some of them are quick additions, while others might be bigger projects, but whether you’re after a speedy improvement or planning some DIY (or getting someone in) keep scrolling for top landscaping ideas. If you're on the lookout for even more ways to transform your space, you'll find plenty of choice in our garden designs ideas gallery. 

1. Add pattern underfoot

patterned floor tiles used on an outdoor patio

(Image credit: Walls and Floors)

Garden paving doesn’t have to be plain – and adding a patterned design is an easy way to transform a small back garden that doesn’t have grass, or zone off part of a bigger plot. Make sure any patterned tiles you choose are suitable for outdoor areas – porcelain designs are usually your best bet. They need to withstand frost, be durable enough for garden life and offer some level of slip resistance for added safety when wet. These Astral Star Pattern tiles are from Walls and Floors

2. Incorporate raised decking

raised decked area with a garden sofa set

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

It’s easy to create different levels with a decking design, and it’s a subtle way to make distinct zones for different garden activities. Here, there’s a step up from the lower deck to the raised relaxation space while the lower area steps down to garden level.

A deck doesn’t have to be multi-tiered if you don’t have space, of course. A single raised deck can create a flat and level dining area immediately outside the house of at the end of the garden. Do bear in mind that if your deck is more than 30cm above the ground it doesn’t fall under permitted development and you will need to apply for planning permission. This smart sofa set is from John Lewis.

3. Bring in curves

circular lawn with paving around the edge

(Image credit: Bradstone)

It’s easy to think in straight lines when it comes to garden landscaping, but introducing curves can soften the look, and while you might want to avoid it in super contemporary garden designs, curves can complement most other garden styles. 

There are plenty of opportunities to add curves: you could give your lawn a curving shape as seen in this garden, dig curved borders, or make a path meander rather than head straight ahead. Even the top of fences could be curved rather than horizontal. This Arenaria porcelain paving in Dark Grey is from Bradstone.

4. Dig a pond

pond featuring a solar powered water fountain

(Image credit: Blagdon )

A pond is a garden landscaping feature well worth introducing, if you can. It will help attract wildlife, and the sight of water and aquatic plants will add another dimension of pleasure to your outdoor space. If you have the room, you can dig out the pond and add a liner, or you can get pre-formed pond liners in a range of sizes if you prefer.

While still water is attractive, it’s hard to beat the sound of running water, so think about adding a pond fountain. This one was created using the Liberty 200 water pump by Blagdon, which is solar powered.

5. Build in a bench

built-in bench used for modern garden planters holding cacti

(Image credit: Habitat)

Garden seating can be built in as well as freestanding and, in fact, it’s a top option for smaller gardens as it’s more space efficient plus you don’t have to worry about storage over the winter. Don’t just save it for seating, though. A bench is the perfect place to show off plants. For maximum impact, make sure planters have proportions to fit the space – too many small pots could look chaotic. A hit of colour will make them more of a feature, too, as will choosing strong shapes like these garden planters from Habitat

6. Take polished concrete outside

Pale grey porcelain paving from Bradstone

(Image credit: Bradstone)

Think about making your garden landscaping as contemporary as the inside of your home. If you’re a fan of polished concrete, you can get the look in your garden with porcelain paving, which is both durable and easy to care for. It won’t fade either.

This is Manzano porcelain paving in grey, from Bradstone, which has a varied colour blend to replicate the appearance of sleek polished concrete, and has mosaic designs mixed in at random to add extra visual appeal.

7. Add a pergola

Garden pergola with integrated awning

(Image credit: Harrod Horticultural)

Pay attention to the verticals in your garden design. A pergola, such as this design from Harrod Horticultural, is a brilliant way to bring them in, and will make a deck or paved area feel like an outdoor room by framing it and drawing the eye upwards. You’ll need to site it on a flat level surface that’s paved or decked. Consider, too, a design with an awning that will create shade overhead, and think about whether you want to grow climbing plants up the side. Those with fragrance can add an extra dimension to your outdoor room.

8. Swap in modern fencing

slatted wooden garden fence

(Image credit: Homebase)

Horizontal slatted fence panels, such as this one from Homebase, have contemporary style that can give your garden a whole new feel. A design like this can introduce more daylight to your outside space as it’ll let the light through rather than blocking it. It can allow a cooling breeze in, too, which you’ll appreciate on hot summer days. Bear in mind, though, that although it will obscure you somewhat it won’t create complete privacy. If that’s what you need at the boundary, try using this style of fence as screening within the garden instead.

9. Lay artificial turf

Artificial lawn with seating area

(Image credit: Carpetright)

Artificial grass has its fans and its detractors, but we’re here to say that it’s a brilliant landscaping solution for small gardens – and bigger ones that get a lot of family and pet wear and tear. It’ll keep things green and soft underfoot, but won’t need mowing and if you haven’t got the space to store a mower that’s a huge plus point. It won’t turn to mud or get parched when the rain doesn’t fall either, and you won’t wear a track across it. This Morton artificial grass is from Carpetright

10. Consider textural finishes

Bistro set and parasol in front of a slate garden wall

(Image credit: Dunelm)

You don’t have to build a wall from stone to enjoy the beauty and tactility of the landscaping material in your garden. Cladding can be added to boring brick boundaries to give them fresh life, or used to help create a screening feature, as seen here.

Although it’s a thin layer, cladding will make the wall appear to be solid stone, and it can dress up low walls as well as full height versions. There are lots of different stone effects, too, so you can get a contemporary or more rustic look.

11. Add in a water feature

Upright water feature in a modern garden

(Image credit: Lime Lace)

You might not have the space to dig a pond (see above), but you can add a water feature to your garden landscaping in all but the tiniest of outdoor spaces. This cascading design from Lime Lace has LED lighting so it’ll be a feature by night as well as in the daytime, and it’s light weight, and comes as an easy-to-install kit. It has modern good looks, too, and will work in a contemporary garden design.

12. Bring back Victorian style

patterned Victorian style paving

(Image credit: Tile Mountain)

Lucky enough to live in a Victorian home? Many period properties have lost their original tiling along the way, but it’s worth bringing back the traditional paving to improve your front garden landscaping. 

These Victoria Red and Black Chequer Mosaic tiles from Tile Mountain are an authentic replica of the real thing, but they’re made from hard wearing porcelain that’ll look good for years to come.

More landscaping inspiration for your garden: