A beautifully designed garden does more than just soften the exterior of your home – it creates a lovely spot to entertain or relax, for your kids and pets to play, and for the whole family to enjoy an indoor-outdoor lifestyle.
But if you’re designing your front and back yards from scratch, it can be challenging to know where to start. To help make the process easier, here are some practical tips on how to choose the right plants and layout, and what to consider when planning your outdoor spaces.
Entertain, relax and play. Discover what a well-designed garden has to offer. Click to watch.
Assess your climate and site
The first things to consider are your climate, the slope of your site and your soil type. Seek advice from a local garden centre about which plants will thrive in your backyard and offer the look and maintenance characteristics that suit you.
Consider who will use your garden
Do you have young children and need open space for them to play or to add a treehouse or trampoline? Will you want to dine outdoors and therefore need a flat area for a table and chairs? Do you have a young, playful pup and require extra-hardy plants? Answering these questions will help you plan the garden to suit your needs and steer you towards the right plants.
Think about upkeep
Consider how much garden maintenance you’re prepared to do. If you prefer to spend your weekends relaxing rather than tending to the garden, opt for elements such as synthetic grass and paving paired with low-maintenance plants and decorative screens, so your garden looks great (and is ready for guests) without a lot of upkeep.
If you only have a small lawn area, you may be able to use zero-maintenance synthetic grass. But it must be allowed by the developer and installed correctly with a crushed-rock base and white sand raked into it to help it stay in position. If in doubt, check with your developer.
When designing your garden asses, the space, consider how you’ll use it and think about how much upkeep you’re prepared to do Featured here: Montpellier Grand, Smiths Lane Estate, Clyde North.
Pick a theme
Committing to an overall style for your garden can help unify the space and will guide your plant and material selections. Design themes can be as simple as using consistent shapes or forms throughout your yard or as complex as creating a Japanese relaxation garden or a Palm Springs-inspired garden.
Work with the design of your home
Unsure how to pick a garden theme? Your home’s architecture is a great place to look for cues. Aim to complement the lines, colours and style of your facade with your landscaping so that your garden feels like a natural extension of your home.
Give your outdoor areas the same attention as your indoor ones
To get the most out of your garden, think of it as another room of your home. Just as a house has well-defined and carefully planned spaces, so should your outdoor area.
Ensure the space caters to all your outdoor activities; from shading above your entertaining area, and access to plumbing and electrics if you wish to put in an outdoor kitchen to paved areas where you can set up a comfortable outdoor sofa and armchairs.
Make your garden a seamless extension to your home by complementing the lines, colours, and style of your home’s exterior. Featured here: Montpellier Grand, Smiths Lane Estate, Clyde North.
Focus on plant scale and position
Getting the scale and pacing of your planting right will give your front and back gardens a pulled-together look.
Create a backdrop to your landscaping, and boost privacy, with trees, fencing or decorative screening. Ensure the colours and patterns harmonise with your home’s facade and the surrounding planting.
For an aesthetically pleasing look, put taller plants behind smaller ones to create layers.
From there, plan your lower-level planting; consider how smaller plants will be grouped and arranged, and how and where you will use groundcovers and hardscaping such as paving and decking.
When it comes to plant positioning, think long-term; there should be enough room between the plants to accommodate their mature size.
Don’t forget the details
Any well-designed garden will have a focal point or a series of focal points that are easily viewed from inside or from your outdoor living space. Not only does it give your eye somewhere to naturally fall, but it allows you to highlight a particular area of your yard. This could be anything from a water feature or a decorative planter to a feature tree.
A place for the kids to play? Thinking about what you want from your garden is one of the first steps to planning out the perfect outdoor living area. Featured here: Montpellier Grand, Smiths Lane Estate, Clyde North.
Create a warm welcome
Your front yard landscaping presents a great opportunity to add some wow factor to your home. And as this area is not used as frequently, it also means you can opt for more decorative landscaping that adds street appeal without much maintenance.
A layered planting scheme can be visually impactful and will give a soft, planned look to your front garden. Working with the levels of your site, create layers with rocks, retaining walls and raised garden beds; finally, soften them with ground cover.
Or consider planting a beautiful tree or decorative planter in the centre of your front yard, surrounded by plants that cascade down in height.
To reduce upkeep, opt for hardy, low-maintenance plants and add pebbles or mulch to planted areas to minimise weed growth, protect your soil and preserve moisture.
Highlight your garden’s features and add a series of focal points such as wall planters, feature trees, and water features. Featured here: Montpellier Grand, Smiths Lane Estate, Clyde North.
Plan your side boundaries
Landscaping your side boundaries can be a little tricky as you don't have much room or height in your planting to create a dense outlook.
For these spots, a decorative screen or fencing can be a better option for dressing up your vision and creating privacy from neighbours. To frame your home nicely, opt for taller plants next to the fence and lower ones at the edge of your garden beds.
And remember that side boundaries are close to your home, so avoid choosing trees for these spots as the roots can affect your foundations.
Need some landscaping ideas? Pop along to one of many display homes across Melbourne – find locations here.