The structural design of a garden is just as important as the plants and can mean the difference between an ‘ordinary’ garden and an outstanding one. Including surprising and imaginative elements is a sure-fire way to add personality to your outdoor space. Whether you already have architectural details such as steps, walls or a gate to work with, or you fancy adding in some yourself, here are some fantastic ideas to make your garden stand out from the crowd.
Do what lots of architects are doing these days and dig down. There’s nothing nicer than stepping into a space that’s completely surrounded by flowers, fragrance and foliage.
Make the retaining wall around the space wide enough and you’ll also create an area for sitting and entertaining. You can easily copy this idea next time you need to retain a slope or level change. Or if you’re building a new patio, think about digging a well-drained sunken garden to chill-out in.
Create an Entrance
Part of the pleasure of a garden is the entrance into the space, so why not add a gate to your garden that gives a hint of what lies beyond?
This wrought-iron design frames a great view, while being a strong architectural feature in itself.
You can often find wrought-iron gates in local auctions and scrapyards. Build your wall to fit your gate, refurbish it in a contemporary colour and make this feature come alive.
Take a Step Up
We’ve already mentioned how a sunken garden can make a statement, but how about a garden that moves up?
Here, elegant structural steps made from pale limestone are edged with very low box hedges to create a striking architectural detail, with the hard and soft materials seeming to ‘melt’ together.
Add a Feature Wall
A traditional wall, such as this one, is the perfect foil for a very modern garden, softening the planting design and adding timeless appeal.
If you’re a competent DIYer, you could sign up to a stone-walling course and build one yourself. Remember to use locally sourced stone for an authentic look and sustainable finish.
Think in the Round
Many of us are interested in growing our own produce, but a kitchen garden doesn’t have to be a boring, featureless space.
This garden triumphs with a strong geometric layout of angles and curves to create an interesting pattern of easily accessible beds. Try adding other structural features, such as bamboo wigwams for climbing vegetables and even some finials at the corners to guide your watering hose.