How to Design a Garden

How to Design a Garden

. 4 min read

In my opinion, the best gardens would be those that make people happy. Yes, great gardens look good, but at the same time, they should also make you feel good as well. The gardens that most people really admire are those that are easy to walk through, relaxing and aren’t all that hard to keep up with. The structures and paths in the garden need to be easy to navigate and you need to select the right plants that don’t bully each other. As a gardener, we tackle those type of issues on a daily basis and today, we are here to help you design a garden that is comfortable, enjoyable and amazing.

The Conditions

Before you start, you need to first assess the conditions. What type of light do you have in your yard? The type of lighting you have will help you determine the type of plants you should choose – while some plants love the sun, others enjoy the shade. If you have visions of roses and peonies dancing in your head, we understand having to choose plants that like the shady areas can be disappointing, but this doesn’t mean it’s not going to be pretty.

Start Small

If you’re a beginner, you should definitely start small. We’ve watched television shows that revealed outdoor makeovers that took place in merely two days, but what you didn’t see behind the scenes is that they had a crew of 50 people working on the project. When you are creating a landscape, you need to work with it and slowly develop that plan – enjoy the process, and don’t make it seem like a chore. In the beginning, start out with a small flowerbed and work your way up from there.

Stairways and Steps

Using outdoor stairways and steps can look amazing, but it is important to make sure they ascend gently. The steps you put in your garden shouldn’t be any higher than 6 inches. When you combine the depth of each step with the height, it should come out to 26 inches total. So, let’s say you’re going with steps that have a 6-inch rise. If this is the case, it will require a run of 14 inches. If you have over 10 steps in your garden, you may want to consider putting landings after every fifth step in order to ease progress. On the same note, whenever you have a stairway that changes directions, you should have a nice landing.

Wide Pathway

The pathways you create in your garden should be wide enough so that you can comfortably walk through them. No one wants to have to squeeze through a garden, regardless of where it is. The garden you create should be wide enough so that two people can walk side by side through it. Take note that if you have tall plants or structures along the walkway, the taller it gets, the wider you will need to make the path because tall plants can make the area feel as if it is more restricted.

Make Sure the Plants Have Room to Grow

Plants grow, that’s what they do, so you will obviously need to make sure the plants have plenty of room to grow. When you plant, you need to do so with the intent to relocate as the plants get older. Some people choose quick growing “filler” plants in order to cover up the temporary bareness, instead of planting too many plants. Some good fillers include tall verbena, golden tree mallow and butterfly bush.

More than Just a Bloom

Yes, flowers look beautiful in a garden, but some people want more than just flowers. You may want to consider going for plants that offer fruit, foliage and bark for form, color and texture that will last year long. The spring months may be great for flowers, but once those autumn months hit, you will want to turn to the fruiting branches of winterberries and beautiful turning leaves of hydrangeas. By stepping away from the blooms and opting for plants that are capable of offering a variety of ornamental assets, you will be able to extend the seasonal appeal of your garden.

Create a Relaxing Atmosphere

Plants aren’t just there to look pretty, they can help create a relaxing atmosphere for you. When you take the right plants and use them the right way, you could create an amazing comfort zone in your garden. Think about evergreens with broad-leaves and conifers – not only will they look amazing, they can also help protect the other plants in the garden from strong winds. A well placed shrub or tree can make a great shading spot to relax in during the summer months.

Edging the Flower Beds

With this technique, you’ll be creating a nice clean break between the garden area and the grass. Basically, what you need to do is take a shovel with a flat-edge and slice along the edge of your garden bed. If you have a bed that has straight lines, you can open up your mind to creativity and add some curves to it.


If your garden doesn’t have many plants in it, then adding mulch is even more important. Mulch always does a great job at creating a beautiful and tidy look. Along with that, it also helps stunt weeds and retains moisture. When you are spreading mulch in your garden, make sure you don’t make it any thicker than four inches and you should always leave a little bit of space around the base of the plants so that they can get their proper amount of water.


Designing your own garden is a whole lot of fun, which is why gardening is such a great hobby to get into. Regardless of what you’re doing, whether your garden needs to be completely replanted or you’re starting out fresh, make sure you take the above tips into consideration during your journey. In the end, remember to take it easy and treat this as a relaxing hobby, unless you are one of our registered professionals of course.


Part of the expertEasy team in Melbourne. Mark is a keen gardener, a DIY addict and a father of two beautiful girls. He is originally from Perth and is a true Eagles fan.

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