Design ideas for big and average-sized outdoor spaces
Large and average-sized gardens offer a fantastic opportunity for outdoor living. With 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 space for entertaining, a safe play area for children or a tranquil corner - there are plenty of possibilities with a large or medium-sized garden. 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 help inspire you to create your ideal outdoor room.
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Top tips for planning a large garden
Start with a plan
All garden design starts with a plan and it’s no different with larger spaces. Make a list of all the things you’re going to be using your garden for and work from there. With a bigger garden, there’s room for everything and so less need to be strict in your prioritisation – you can create different sections for all your different needs. With a medium-sized garden, you can often incorporate more than you think and with clever planning can avoid it becoming too cluttered or unstructured.
It may be that maintenance is more of a consideration for you than space. If that's the case, check that any landscaping and plants introduced to your garden are easy to care for as some require more effort and upkeep than others. 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.
Introduce garden zones
Zoning your outdoor space to create smaller areas is a gardening trick that works with all shapes and sizes. In the roomier garden, it offers the opportunity to feature different themes and looks, creating an element of discovery as you wander from zone to zone.
Create zones based on interests, such as encouraging wildlife, growing your own fruit and vegetables or quiet relaxation. And with plenty of room to work with it’s not about using all of it, all of the time - some zones could be purely seasonal. Separate zones in a variety of ways – hedging, walls, fences, arches or even exterior paint to colour coordinate different styles. And why not 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?
Stay sheltered outdoors
We can all be guilty of staying indoors when the weather’s bad. But an outbuilding, such as a summerhouse or garden cabin, not only offers shade on sunny days, it gives you the chance to enjoy your garden in the cold winter months. Our extensive selection of summerhouses and garden cabins come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and some are split into rooms so you can use it for storage as well as a living space. Opt for one with plenty of windows so you can look out into the garden and enjoy the view. And if you don’t fancy the building work, many offer an assembly service so there’s no need to reach for the tool box.
Combine hard and soft landscaping
A large garden has the room to feature both hard landscaping, such as paving and decking, and softer options like a lawn. Use both in the different garden zones. Decking works well with entertaining space, while turf or artificial grass suits sports and games with the kids. Add further character with distinctive looks at varying levels to keep the space interesting and unpredictable.
Paths add structure and shape to large gardens, neatly breaking up any large expanses of landscaping. Lay a path of stepping stones through a lawn for a cottage garden look, or contemporary-styled paving slabs surrounded by decorative gravel for something more modern. Encourage guests to follow the path and explore lesser known corners of the garden or find statement pieces. And work with garden arches to create a fun sense of ‘secret garden’ discovery.
Make space to get comfortable
When it comes to a larger garden, there are no limits on garden furniture. While smaller gardens look for space-saving options that fold away, stack or double up as storage, bigger gardens can accommodate all shapes, sizes and materials of patio furniture. Fill the space with larger dining sets – we offer extendable dining tables that can seat up to eight people – or a few smaller bistro ones to create more of an outdoor restaurant feel.
Why not use different types or styles in the different garden zones? The colourful metal Janeiro range in children’s sizes would suit a kids’ play area, while our comfy garden sofas would be great for coffee mornings on the deck. And with plenty of room, there’s no need to worry about storing them away come winter to save space. Pick up a furniture cover (we offer one for large tables) or opt for a range that’s weatherproof like the Adelaide.
Add occasional seating
When space is limited, every seat counts – not so in a large garden. Big spaces offer the chance to introduce more unusual or occasional seating. We love the Anya Metal Egg Armchair with its contemporary styling and the Cranbrook Swing Bench for a gentle and rhythmic rocking. And when summer's over, still take time to sit back and enjoy your garden with more permanent seating options such as benches. Our curved sandstone benches make a style statement and look great in contemporary gardens.
Supersize the barbecue
There’s nothing better than dining al fresco, and everybody loves a barbecue when the sun's shining. With large amounts of space to work with, consider a big gas barbecue or a masonry model. We offer gas barbecues with five burners and extendable trays to cook for up to 10 people (pictured), while our masonry ones make a permanent addition to your garden, providing a great looking feature that will last for years. Why not twin a masonry barbecue with a utensils wall, herb garden or a barbecue gazebo to make an outdoors kitchen?
Sample some stylish shade
Create shade and protection when the weather heats up with a gazebo. Unlike in a small garden or courtyard, larger gardens can more comfortably make space for these garden structures. We offer permanent and pop-up options and ones that measure up to 6 by 3 metres (m). Or select something more ornate and eye-catching like a canopy. Construct it yourself or we can do it for you with the self-assembly option.
Light up the entire space
In a large garden, it’s all too easy for areas to be under-lit in the dark. Avoid this with an outdoor lighting design that brings together a range of lighting options to keep your outdoor space safe. Attach wall lights to your property and any suitable outbuildings, and mains-powered post lights to illuminate paths. Stake lights are portable and so can be dotted around as needed. Prioritise functional lighting first and then layer on more decorative options, like lanterns and string lighting for a more fun element.
Make a mini-playground
Designate one of your garden zones for the little ones. With a bigger garden, there’s plenty of room for a structure like a playhouse and large play equipment like trampolines, climbing frames and swing sets. And in more medium-sized spaces, have fun with a sandpit (pictured), activity table or paddling pool.
Just add water
Water features can sometimes overwhelm smaller smalls, but with a large or average-sized garden, they can make a fantastic addition. Attract wildlife with a sizable pond, or enjoy something to listen to and watch with a fountain or waterfall. They can be traditional or modern in style and can even be integrated into your hard landscaping for real wow factor.
And don’t let the kids have all the fun with their paddling pool. Consider investing in a hot tub or spa for relaxing, socialising and swimming. We offer ones up to 20 feet (ft.) long – outdoor fun that benefits from plenty of space!
Create structure with trees and shrubs
With space to play with, there’s plenty of opportunity to pack your large garden with stunning plants. Start with the foundation, or spine, of your planting design – trees and shrubs. These add form and structure, height and interest, and can draw the eye to further away areas.
Before buying, decide what you want your trees for, is it their look, to provide shade or fruit, or even to stop your neighbours being able to see into your garden? Remember to factor in how big both the tree and the roots will grow - you don’t want 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.
Couple the trees with shrubs, planting larger ones with the trees at the back of beds and borders, and shorter ones in the middle and near the front. Larger gardens work well with ones that spread wildly, creating a blanket of colour when they bloom. We love Rhododendrons with their massed clusters of brightly coloured flowers and the fast-growing Hydrangea – ideal for autumn colour. For a more tropical feel, opt for Bamboo (Phyllostachys) – it’s easy to grow and offers evergreen interest.
Add colour accents with flowers
Don’t let your large garden become monotonous looking. Use numerous flowerbeds and planters to break up an expanse of landscaping, with bursts of colourful flowers adding striking seasonal accents. Vary the depth of beds and borders to keep things unexpected and eye-catching and introduce timber planters, troughs, sleepers and bigger types of pot in heavier materials like ceramic.
- Fuchsias – a summer-flowering shrub with drooping flowers in rich shades of scarlet, pink and purple
- Peonies (Paeonia) – a romantic favourite with large, sometimes double, flowers that bloom in late spring and early summer
- Hollyhocks (Alcea rosea) - a cottage garden staple with tall spires that attract bees and butterflies
- Cornflowers (Centaurea montana) – an easy-to-grow blue wildflower that flowers in summer