What features do I need in my garden?

gardener with shears wondering what features to put in his garden

Planning a garden makeover? Here’s our guide to garden features that will help you make the most of your outdoor space.

Which garden features should you include in your garden design?  Of course every garden is different and you may already have some ideas for garden features that will enhance your your lifestyle and add value to your property.

  • Shed/Storage
  • Patios, parking spaces and seating areas
  • Paths
  • Lawns
  • Pergola/Shelter
  • Low maintenance planting
  • Lighting
  • Greenhouse or polytunnel
  • Water Feature
  • Play area
  • Hot tub

Sheds and garden storage

garden built by manor landscapes

Garden structures take many forms. This pretty little arbour was part of a show garden built by Manor Landscapes.

Just like your indoor rooms, gardens need storage space too. It needn’t be a huge shed, you can buy or create some pretty little storage solutions, some of which are multipurpose.  Think about benches with storage underneath them. Use hooks and brackets to hang tools, bikes and toys on the wall. Make the most of garden screening ideas to hide utilities such as wheelie bins and composting areas.

When choosing or building a shed, start by thinking about what it will be used for. Is it purely for storage or will it double up as a retreat, an outside bar or a potting shed? How much “stuff” needs to go inside it? Do you think you will need more storage space in the future or less?

Patios, parking spaces and seating areas

99% of our landscaping jobs in and around Guildford involve some kind of hard surfacing.  It might be a driveway, a parking space, a patio, a hardstanding for a hot tub or a lovely little seating area.

Think about what the area will mostly be used for. And, more importantly, how many people will be using the space.  My advice is always to build the biggest patio you can afford without compromising the overall design of the garden.  Once it’s in place, you’ll find that you use it far more than you ever anticipated.

Creating an outdoor dining area? Measure your table and chairs and then add a generous margin to allow for moving around the area or adding extra furniture.

Paving your driveway? Be wary of planning restrictions regarding permeability but try, if you can, to make space for visitors cars as well as your own.

Making space for your hot tub? Remember you’ll be padding to and from the house with wet feet and plan your hard landscaping accordingly.

Paths and walkways

garden path leading from patio to a summerhouse

Once you have positioned all of the features in your garden, you’ll need to think about travelling between them. And that means paths.

There are lots of material choices for paths. From a simple grass path to a timber boardwalk, stepping stones or a sturdy stone path.  You can choose curvy paths, straight paths, staggered paths, single materials or mixed materials. 

Be practical – if you’ll be walking in the same direction on a regular basis, a grass path will soon turn to mud. Where garden visitors have mobility challenges, make sure that the path is wide enough for a wheelchair, has no sharp turns and no difficult steps or slopes.  You may want to think about hand rails and resting places too.

Lawns and play spaces

I always like to see some kind of a lawn in a garden.  As in most design, space is as important than stuff (if not more so). And a lawn creates space and helps your eye to wander languidly around the garden which is rather relaxing for your brain.  Plus, space is wonderful if you have active pets or children.

Natural grass is not your only choice for a lawn.  There’s artificial grass of course, but also gravel gardens, low growing wildflowers, moss, clover and pollinator friendly sedum matting.

Discover more in this blog from my friends at Tapestry Design Studios.

Shelters and Pergolas

Don’t let the British weather be an excuse for not using your garden more often.  Let’s face it, you’ve probably paid extra to buy a home with a garden and it’s crazy to let that valuable asset go to waste.

So a pergola, a summerhouse, an arbour, a garden office or some sort of shelter is a good compromise.  You can be outside, enjoying the fresh air and the ambience but still be out of the hot sun or the drizzling rain.  Add lighting and heating and you’ll be able to use your shelter at any time of the day and any time of the year. You could even incorporate a cinema screen for truly memorable experiences.

My favourite kind of garden shelter is timber built and bespoke. That way you can make exactly what you need. Or why not go for one of the latest style of pergola with a louvred roof so that you can control how much exposure you have to the elements.

Low maintenance planting

modern driveway with brick pavers and low maintenance planting

Whether you love gardening or abhor it, living plants are what set the ambience in your outdoor space.  I always aim to create a framework of low maintenance trees, shrubs and perennials that will look good all year round. If you want to add more plants to the scheme you can. If you don’t – that’s OK too.

Even a small garden has room for at least one tree to provide shade and privacy.  Pleached trees are especially useful in a small space – they add height but don’t take up much room on the ground.  

No soil? Plant your tree in an enormous pot – the bigger the pot, the less frequently you’ll need to water it once the tree is established. NB It’s worth adding an irrigation system as insurance.

Choose disease resistant shrubs that don’t need lots of TLC and won’t grow to a monstrous size in a short time.  Position them carefully so that they have the right soil type and the right amount of sunshine for their needs. Think about foliage colour and texture as well as flowers, scent and autumn berries.

Water features

There’s something about a garden water feature that is both fascinating and relaxing.  It doesn’t have to be huge or spectacular to help wildlife. And the sound of moving water will compel you to explore your garden more often.

What’s on your garden wish list?

Already know what features you want to put in your garden but need help to get the work done? Manor Landscapes are experienced, trustworthy and highly skilled landscapers who can build your dream garden to a very high specification.

Need to know more? Call or email us today to arrange an informal chat.

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