Garden Layouts to Suit Your Outdoor Space

Garden Layouts

Wouldn’t it be nice if all gardens were a nice regular, rectangular shape? It would be so easy to design the space and ensure that you had a pleasant vista from your garden building. Unfortunately, this often isn’t the case – gardens come in all shapes and sizes, from long and narrow to the downright awkward. Fortunately, however, with a little bit of know-how you can ensure that you get the most out of your garden, whatever its shape. Here are our tips to help you get it right.
Garden Layouts
Long and Narrow

Long, narrow gardens are often attached to Victorian terraces and it can be difficult to know how to utilise the space. However, this garden shape gives you a real opportunity to do different things with different areas.
There are a variety of methods that you can use to change the perception of your garden so that it feels wider, and therefore bigger, than it actually is. The most effective is to visually lead the eye from side to side by creating alternating, connected open spaces along the length of the garden.

Long and narrow garden number one sin

The worst layout for a long and narrow garden is a long strip of lawn and a central path. If you need to have a path then make sure it goes down one side of the garden and, preferably, that it’s staggered.

Where should you put your garden building?

Place your building in an open space right at the far end of the garden. The zig zag effect of the layout will give you a feeling of seclusion from the house.


Garden Layouts
Wide and Shallow

If you have the common wide and shallow garden shape, you need to make the space look like it has greater depth. Divide the garden into different areas, so that each side of the house has a different view. This will make each area look longer. You should also ensure that any lines run lengthways.

Wide and shallow garden number one sin

The worst layout for a wide, shallow garden is a large, rectangular lawn, with shrubbery against the back fence. This will make your garden look much shallower.

Where should you put your garden building?

Place your garden building along one side of the garden, facing across its width. This will prevent it from making the garden look shorter from the house and give it the longest possible vista.

Garden Layouts



The main issue with L-shaped gardens is that the slimmest part of the ‘L’ is frequently wasted space. The key to solving this problem is to merge this area with the rest of the garden by accentuating the ‘L’ shape using curved lines. Continue the curved lines into the rest of the garden to soften the often harsh edges of this layout.

L-shaped garden number one sin

Neglecting the slimmest part of your L-shaped garden will make the space feel dramatically smaller. It’s important to include it in your overall garden design.

Where should you put your garden building?

Place your garden building diagonally across the top corner of the garden, which is the furthest away from the slimmest part of the ‘L’. It should be facing diagonally across the garden towards the ‘L’s’ bend. This will give you the longest view of the garden and will cause your eye to be drawn around the bend, further increasing the sense of space.

Garden Layouts


This is probably one of the most unusual garden shapes and it can also be one of the most difficult to know what to do with. Tapering gardens are wider at one end than at the other, giving them a triangular shape. The best design uses strong diagonal lines to catch the eyes – create a triangular lawn by pulling the main border out into the middle of the garden, with the widest point at the narrowest end of the space.

Tapering garden number one sin

If you go with the natural shape of the garden and narrow the lawn towards the narrower end, it will create the illusion that the space is smaller.

Where should you put your garden building?

Place your garden building at the narrowest end of the garden, facing up towards the widest end. The resulting view will give the illusion of a normal, rectangular shaped space.

Planning Permission

If you’re installing a garden building, you need to make sure you adhere to planning permission rules. You will require planning permission if you intend to put your house in front of the main elevation of your property, live on designated land or own a listed building. Factors such as the height of your building and its distance from a boundary can also be influential. Found out if you would require planning permission here.

Have you got any more layout ideas for awkwardly shaped gardens? Let us know in the comments.



October 5, 2014

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