landscaped gardenGarden makeover ideas based on requirements, commitment to garden care and limitations of the space such as too much shade or being overlooked. Choosing help wisely.

Transforming an outdoor space to suit individual tastes and requirements

Creating a garden to suit specific requirements and complement the look and feel of a property is a highly popular home improvement. In the wake of various garden and home makeover television programmes, magazine articles, and the growth of specialist landscape gardening specialists, more people are becoming inspired to make better use of their garden.

From simple and inexpensive alterations to major overhauls, there’s much scope regardless of garden size.

The decline of the ‘flat grass’ garden

The time honoured garden, often the type laid down in new build homes, is the bog standard lawn with maybe a little hard standing somewhere near the back wall of the house and a few borders around the perimeter of the garden.

Many find this somewhat limiting; for one thing, a lawn is out of action for large parts of the year when heavy rain and frost strikes, and it can be a rather uninspiring look compared to what’s possible with some imagination and design expertise.

Deciding on a change

Choosing from a wealth of options for a garden makeover can be narrowed down when deciding what is wanted from a garden and how much time will be devoted to its upkeep.


Is creating a genuine outdoor space to spend time in desired? If so, hard surfaces such as decking, patios and paths may be worth considering along with types of garden furniture.

Is low maintenance required due to lack of time (or even interest in spending time tending to the garden?). If so, ‘low maintenance’ plants and shrubs should be considered – and this makes an even stronger case for removing all or part of a lawn that requires mowing, seeding, watering and fertilizing, from time to time.

Are there any limitations? For example, is the garden in the shade much of the time, thus precluding certain types of plant from flourishing or preventing grass from getting enough sunlight? Is the garden overlooked? Is so, is it practical to improve privacy with taller plants, young trees or building a wall?


This will obviously determine how far a makeover can be taken. It’s important to direct funds where they’ll make the most difference. For example, if planning some hard standing or paving, then top quality stone is important. Once down it will be there for years, and compromising on quality is a false economy.

Finding an experienced, specialist supplier of popular stone types such as limestone paving, as opposed to the off-the-shelf route via DIY stores is key.

Levels and pathways

A popular and effective way to transform a garden is through the use of different levels and the use of paths to make more use of what may have been just a large lawn. A good garden designer can soon show you what alternatives are possible and, along with making for a space more adaptable and enjoyable to spend time in, make your garden look more interesting. This can be achieved by perhaps the use of curves in pathways, maybe a water feature if you’re prepared to maintain it, and careful positioning of certain plant types so the colours complement each other and the space in general when they bloom.


Carefully placed lighting can make a difference and make your garden usable in the evening during the warmer months. A wide choice of lights to accentuate water features, outdoor sculptures and certain plants or small trees is available, and a good designer can suggest where might be a good place to position them.

Choosing help wisely

There are a number of garden designers and landscape gardeners around, but choosing a suitable one needs careful attention. Recommendations from friends and people you trust is an ideal starting point, but if that’s not possible then online research and checking their websites – they’ll often have a web presence with photos of their work is the ideal way forward.