Create your dream garden with these simple steps

Bored with your garden? Looking for inspiration? Our experts outline seven easy ways to add colour and interest.


1. Review and plan

The first step to realising your dream is planning. A look at the garden while it’s still bare will show whether it needs a few tweaks or major changes—a tree to add height, fewer ho-hum shrubs or a new focal point, perhaps. 

2. Consider the curves

More ambitiously, think about adding curves to improve the (you’ve guessed it, rectangular) shape. Flowing borders, a path winding up the garden that offers a glimpse of what’s ahead, or a paved circle for seating make the dullest patch look special.

3. Frame your view

The view makes an impact too, so frame it if it’s lovely. But don’t try to block a bad one with leylandii, counsels award-winning garden designer Jinny Blom: “Fade it out with a gauzy shrub like Mount Etna broom instead.”

4. Beautify any eyesores

A shed can be customised to look like a garden pavilion and ugly fences covered with climbers or stained to absorb or reflect light. “Chalky pink will bounce sunshine into a dreary corner,” says Blom.

5. Be bold with borders 

When it comes to borders, be prepared to be ruthless. Plants that are struggling because they’re in the wrong place can be moved, but as for the rest, “If in doubt, grub it out,” says Blom. Spend a dark evening making a wish list of plants, ruling out any that won’t thrive in the conditions you can offer. If you’re unsure, there are lots of ready-made borders online and the RHS website gives unbeatable advice.

6. Grow fruit and veg

Fruit and veg can have a place in the smallest garden, so plant miniature fruit trees in containers or mix herbs and veg such as globe artichokes and chard with flowers.

7. Add water

Then all you need is water—a Japanese-style water bowl or wall fountain is enough—to add sound, movement and birdlife to the scene.

Draw the birds to your garden with this Vintage Bird Feeder, £19.99

If you are looking to hire a gardener read these top tips for avoiding cowboy gardeners.