Designing for Large Gardens

It is many people’s dream to own a large garden. These gardens can indeed enhance a property and provide a very pleasant environment to while away the hours outdoors, either leisurely lounging on a sun-terrace or slumbering in a shady retreat. Alternatively you may prefer actively gardening your extensive plot, getting your hands dirty keeping everything looking lovely. Whatever sounds most appealing, the important thing with large gardens is not to let the dream turn into a nightmare

Plan Ahead

The right planning at an early stage is essential to avoid making costly mistakes. Large gardens invariably mean larger quantities, whether stone for the terrace, gravel for the paths, plants for the borders, or indeed time for maintenance. The production of an overall plan of the garden can seem like an initial stage (and cost) that can be side-stepped, but ultimately this plan will pay for itself many times over.

It allows for all areas to be designed as a unified composition. Low maintenance ideas can be incorporated as required. Designs can then be accurately costed and if the overall total is too much for current finances, then work can always be phased over the short to longer term.

Creating Contrasting Areas

When designing larger gardens another consideration is contrasting scales of different areas. Whilst it may be tempting to present the entire plot to the viewer in one go, it is often much better to shield areas from the eye and to create enticing glimpses through to encourage exploration. Areas nearer to the house should take cues from the architecture, and often proportions found in the façade can be repeated in the geometry of the garden. Care should be taken to align elements logically with views from windows & doors.

Designing for Large Gardens
Designing for Large Gardens

Vistas can be created that tie one area to another and create a backbone running through the design.

Designing for Large Gardens
Designing for Large Gardens

Areas not immediately visible from the house can be given over to more seasonal activities, be it a pool garden for the summer, or a winter garden for walking through on cold & frosty mornings.

A pattern of box hedging dusted with snow
Designing for Large Gardens

Don’t be afraid of the centre!

Avoid pushing all planting and structures towards the edges of your plot. Many people think that this makes the space feel larger, but it can often just lead the eye straight towards the boundaries. It is much more desirable to place structures centrally or use hedging and planting borders to divide the space in a softer way and provide interesting elements for the eye to rest on.

Designing for Large Gardens
Designing for Large Gardens