From sheds to sun loungers, we've plenty of ideas to update your garden
Large gardens offer a fantastic opportunity for outdoor living. With lots of space to play with, you really can achieve an exciting variety of different styles and create distinct areas all within your boundaries. So whether you fancy an area for entertaining, a safe play area for children or a tranquil space for reading or yoga - a large garden promises a multitude of possibilities. So many in fact that it can sometimes seem a little overwhelming to tame and manage.
That's why we're here to talk you through some of your options, and inspire you to create your ideal outdoor room.
Tools & materials required
Before you begin
What do you want to do?
Make a list of all the things you’re going to be using your garden for. With a larger garden, there’s less of a need to be brutal when it comes to prioritisation – you can create different sections for all your different needs. However, be sure to factor in how much maintenance you want to do, and make your choices accordingly. There’s no point in creating a beautiful garden full of flowers that need to be dug out and replaced every year if you haven’t got the time to do this.
What are your garden’s conditions?
Knowing how much light and shade your garden gets, whatever the season, is important when planning out your new garden – not only for planting, but also for design. So be sure to sit in your garden and pay attention to the changing light. If you’re considering installing decking, or some seating in particular areas, check that they get enough light at the times of day they’re most likely to be used. Or you may prefer to create a seating area for cooling off on hot days so find a more shady patch.
All gardens contain a series of micro-climates that are partly determined by the compass direction it faces – each direction offering different levels of light, warmth and moisture – and with larger gardens, one end could be slightly different to the other. And it’s not just sun that can impact your choices – soil is a key factor when choosing your planting areas. Check your soil's pH as well as identifying what type it is. Once all of these factors are better understood, you can make the best design choices for your garden with confidence.
When you’ve got the room, splitting your garden into smaller areas not only adds an element of discovery, it gives you the opportunity to have lots of different themes and looks within your space.
There are many ways to achieve separate sections - hedging, brick or stone walls or wooden arches will all help you mark out distinct and different zones, but so will your choice of landscaping. Allow glimpses from one area to the next with interesting features such as a moon gate (a wall with a round hole in it) or a panel of trellis. A screen of stone or concrete blocks with holes punched into it will soften breezes and let dappled light through. While arches covered in roses, climbers supported by panels of trellis, or even walls of semi-opaque glass bricks can all mark out the divisions in a garden – as well as providing screening from the wind and privacy from any overlooking buildings.
Structures and landscaping
We can all be guilty of refusing to go outside when the weather’s bad. But an out building such as a summerhouse not only offers shade on sunny days, it gives you the chance to enjoy your garden in the cold winter months. Or, for those looking for a bit of luxury, a hot tub could be just the ticket.
Summerhouses come in a wide range of sizes and shapes – including square, rectangular, round and hexagonal. Some are split into rooms, so that you can use for storage as well as a living space to sit, read, relax, or even entertain. Opt for one with plenty of windows so you can look out into the garden and enjoy the view. And if you’re looking for some extra family space, check out our range of playhouses - your children will be sure to make the most of one, whatever the weather.
Don’t want anything as substantial as a summerhouse? Arbours offer some shelter for those that want to sit outside, while gazebos provide comfortable shade should the temperatures soar. Soften the look of any structures with a climbing plant such as a rose or clematis creating a beautiful feature in your garden.
Depending on a number of factors, you may need planning permission and building regulations approval. Always check with your local council before you begin construction or installation. And once any permissions are secured, talk with your neighbours to let them know about what you’re planning – there may be implications for them that you may not have considered.
A large garden has the room to feature decking, paving and grass, so why not use different landscaping options in the different sections of your space? Add further character with distinctive looks at varying levels. We recommend sleepers as a great way to raise flower beds and vegetable patches.
Big gardens are built for socialising, but with the unpredictable British weather decking is a sensible solution. It dries a lot quicker than grass so your guests won't have to stand on damp or soggy surfaces and we stock a wide range of decking options from anti-slip to artificial grass to give you plenty of choice.
Adding a path of stepping stones neatly breaks up any large expanses of lawn, and you can also lay and surround them with pebbles, stones or decorative gravel to create more of a path. Paths add structure and shape to large gardens but, as a path should always lead somewhere, make sure you’re happy with what’s at the end of it.
Why not trace your path towards a dramatic water feature? They can be incredibly calming or inject some excitement into your outdoor space dependent on what you pick. For larger gardens, consider a sizable pond. Not only will it attract wildlife, but you could also keep your own fish. Opt for a symmetrical shape if in a formally-styled section of your garden, or a more organic shape in an area with softer borders. And with all water features, always ensure that children are closely supervised.
Other water feature choices include fountains and waterfalls, and these can be solar or mains powered. If you fancy a mains powered option, always get help from a qualified electrician with installation. They’ll need a residual current device (RCD) as well as waterproof junction box or switch connected to the mains supply. Ensure that your electrician positions these where they will be unlikely to get damaged.
When it comes to garden furniture, a larger garden can easily accommodate any of our stylish ranges. So there's no need to feel limited by the size of the items, the number of chairs or the type of material - be it wood, rattan effect or metal. Why not invest in different types or styles in the various sections of your space? You could feature the colourful metal Janeiro range near the children's play area and the Kington dining set (pictured) on the decking for entertaining. Or arrange them by usage - with a bistro set on the patio for coffee mornings and sofas and sun loungers set up for lazy afternoons. And when summer's over, still take time to enjoy your space with more permanent seating options such as benches.
In a large space, complement your garden furniture with coordinating accessories and even structures. If you enjoy hosting summer parties, consider a permanent outdoor bar. They double up as storage space in the winter months and will be sure to impress your guests. And ensure everyone's protected from the sun with our selection of straight and overhanging parasols.
Outdoor lights and heating
Stay safe when moving around your large garden at night with our outdoor lights designed to work in all of your space’s different areas. Adding post lights around pathways will make sure that you don’t miss a step – and some are solar powered so you won’t have to worry about batteries. Illuminate your decking with our range of decking lights that help highlight where steps or drops are. They lie flush to the surface so aren't a tripping hazard and are available in classic white or cool blue colour options. And if you want to move your lighting to suit your needs, opt for our portable stake lights.
You don’t have to let the party stop once the sun’s gone down and there’s a nip in the air. Choosing a heater or chimenea will ensure that you can stay out as long as you want.
There’s nothing better than dining al fresco, and everybody loves a BBQ when the sun's shining. With large amounts of space to work with, consider a masonry option. These can make a permanent addition to your garden, providing a great-looking feature that will last years. Using charcoal for their fuel, this type of BBQ create a real sense of an outdoors kitchen, especially when paired with a utensils wall or herb garden. And don’t forget to make sure that you’ve stocked up on all your BBQ accessories before you get the neighbours over for burgers.
Pots and planters
A great way to break up an expanse of paving or decking, pots and planters can be filled with herbs or flowers to add a bit of colour or scent to your garden. Working with such a large space, your garden can cope with the larger and heavier types of pot, such as ceramic, as well as the larger timber planters – so use liberally and creatively to create your desired look.
Add that final flourish of colour to your garden with our range of exterior paints, stains and varnishes. Suitable for metal, masonry and wood, you can use it on your structures, walls, gates, fencing and plenty more to create a coordinated colour palette for your outdoors room.
Once you’ve laid out the structure of your space, it’s time to focus on plants. Research what plants will work in your soil, and consider how much light and water they’ll get once planted.
Larger gardens can afford to have plants with a bit of wow factor – here are some suggestions for your space.
Trees and shrubs
For the larger garden, adding one or two trees can be a lovely way to add style, shade, provide fruit, or even stop your neighbours being able to see into your garden. Be sure to factor in how big both the tree and the roots will grow - you don’t want to have to remove a perfectly healthy tree just because it’s grown too big for the space. Tree roots are usually as wide as the tree is tall so don't plant too close to your house.
As well as being a stylish choice when it comes to edging your different sections, shrubs can also be used to add form and structure to the rest of your outdoor space. And watch out for wildlife - shrubs are likely to encourage insects and birds into your garden. Larger gardens can cope with those that spread wildly, creating a blanket of colour when they bloom – but do check the plant's label when buying to find those that will give you your ideal colour and scent.
Make an impact with your choice of flower. There are some that grow to impressive sizes, and if you choose perennials, you’ll get to enjoy them year after year. Flowers are a great way to highlight and add accents to your garden – plant them in borders, beds, planters and pots, and pick a few that will climb up and over walls, fencing or trellis for extra drama. And if you have the time, plant a few annuals or biennials for bright summer colour that you can update regularly.
Fruit and vegetables
A greenhouse is perfect for those with green fingers to grow and tend plants throughout the year. Available in a variety of sizes and shapes, they allow you to grow seedlings and cuttings as well as shelter the more tender of your plants during the winter months. And when the plants are ready to leave the controlled environment of the greenhouse, plant them in a vegetable patch - great fun for adults and children alike.