90 garden ideas – best outdoor looks for 2021 – big or small budget

Best garden ideas: 90 ways to style your outdoor space for a roaring spring and summer. Inspire your big or small garden transformation.

Bright decking area with outdoor dining set
(Image credit: Future x Centaur Archive)

The best garden ideas will keep outdoor spaces big and small looking fabulous all year long, making whatever space you do have the number one destination for your household when spring and summer swing around. 

Whether you have a tiny green plot, a big and bland courtyard or a massive lawn to work with, we've got all the inspiration you need to help turn your garden into the perfect place for you. Whether that means a place to relax, a place to grow veg or a space where you and the kids (perhaps the dog too) can run a little wild and just have fun. From easy to maintain garden looks that will enhance your space – without costing the earth – to bigger landscaping projects that could even add value to your property, we've got you covered. Keep scrolling for all the garden inspiration you need to make your space bright, convivial and a joy to be in. 

1. Start small with container planting

Lovatt thatched cottage potting table

(Image credit: Future / Brent Darby)

Where would we be without container gardening? It works for absolutely every type of garden space under the sun for the simple reason that you can position your plant pots wherever best or possible for your space. Container gardening is brilliant, especially for renters who want to take their plants with them, as you have the chance to get creative with both the plant, and the pot, to make a really beautiful display. Mix it up with herbs and scented flowers. Hydrangeas look great in a container, while you can team upright florals alongside trailing plants like Creeping rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis Prostratus) or Ivy (Hedera) for more interest.

2. Grow herbs and blooms (even on a balcony)

Ikea balcony

(Image credit: Ikea)

Raised beds are roomy and perfect for vegetables that need it most. But should you be short on space, containers work a treat for many types of veggies, flowers and most especially, for herb gardens. So for those that enjoy putting their best chef hat on in the kitchen, having the freshest ingredients to hand is a must and it can be achieved with container planting! 

3. Display containers imaginatively

terracotta pots with plants on a ladder in a garden

(Image credit: Future/Leigh Clapp)

We love these nifty and beautiful garden ideas as they make a space feel so unique. If you're in a small garden setting then working vertically is a lifesaver – but this clever trick will work in bigger gardens, too. Container plants will not only jazz up step ladders (and hide any ugly walls), but having flowers displayed at different levels, brings a heightened level of interest and energy to even the tiniest of spaces. So get creative with how you arrange your containers because they are the most flexible planting option going!

4. Plant on wheels

Planted wheelbarrow

The wheelbarrow once used to ferry gravel from the boot of the car and across the railway line is now out to good use as decorative planter for mini hostas in the gravel garden


(Image credit: Joe Wainwright)

A gorgeous example of how to work with what you have, this is proof that you really can plant anywhere. Before taking old wheelbarrows or even barbecues to the skip, think about how to repurpose them as decorative plant containers. You may need to drill in drainage holes, but once that is sorted, fill them up with an array of foliage. Try Hosta, Caladiums, ornamental grass or you could even go for a wildflower mix for added colour and texture. Thrifty and fabulous.

5. Repeat planting and colours for impact

Lovatt thatched cottage hollyhock path

(Image credit: Future / Brent Darby)

For an eye popping display, repeat planting of wild flowers and the likes is the way to go as seen in the beautiful garden of a restored 17th-century country cottage. Choose tall growing perennials that are colourful (and hardy) for year-round interest. Foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea) are an all-time favourite for both modern and traditional or even cottage gardens settings, – bees love them too – while Rose mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos), Hollyhocks (Alcea), Valerian (Valeriana officinalis, Caprifoliaceae) and Globe Thistles (Echinops bannaticus) are great choices for bold summer colour and fragrance. 

6. Frame your outdoor dining area

Flower bed ideas to frame a dining area

(Image credit: Future + Ti Archive)

Gorgeous borders make for a beautiful display in all areas of the garden so consider making raised borders part of your garden design. Choose to plant yours up with a variety of greenery and bright flowers, and build it around an outdoor dining spot for a chic and decorative finish that will make your guests feel like the centre of attention.

7. Introduce the inside colour of the year, outdoors

Mixture of daffodils and gladioli in garden border

(Image credit: ibulb x Anne Verdoes)

If the perfect Pantone colour combo features inside your home, why not bring it out into your garden planting too? Chris Bonnett from GardeningExpress.co.uk says that 'Both shades will look wonderful in the garden. The grey is a perfect backdrop, and the yellow will create a real pop of colour ideally suited to UK gardens.'

Bonnett recommends using varieties such as Rose Campion, Silver Bush, Sear Holly and even some varieties of Lavender for their beautiful silver colour to replicate the grey part, alongside yellow blooms such as Tulips, Daffodils and as you can see above in this bright garden border, Gladioli.

8. Draw the eye to a focal point

container gardening

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp Photography)

Whether you've a gravel, stone, cobbled or other kind of garden path, you can make a feature of it with the simple addition of container plants. Line them up in sequence to define the area, and it's up to you whether you mix and match both flowers and pots, or go for a bit of statement repetition. 

9. Roll with one statement colour, everywhere

Pink flower bed ideas complement colour scheme

(Image credit: Future + Centaur Archives)

If you've quite a plain and large garden that you want to add interest to, without going overboard with hardscaping, let one bright colour – like the pink here, –resonate throughout for a beautiful colour hit. From the flower beds to the cherry blossom (which albeit will not always be in bloom) to the pink cushions in the outdoor seating area, it's coherent, simple and frankly quite the masterpiece.

10. Create an organic layout

Bright decking area with outdoor dining set

(Image credit: Future x Centaur Archive)

It's all about balance when you're choosing your favourite garden ideas as you want the space to be just as beautiful as it is functional. This garden is large, but puts all the space to good use with top notch garden landscaping techniques. By carrying the decking material through to the dining table and to the seating area at the back, and by breaking up the zones with big planting, the individual outdoor pockets feel as one.

11. Think about stargazing

Square top white pergola adds elegance to outdoor room with fireplace

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Entertainment is a must in a successful garden scheme and why not turn to what nature has to offer? Choose an open pergola structure in which to create a super cosy outdoor living room space, complete with a fireplace, underneath and make sure those seats are comfy as you will gladly be sat there for hours.

12. Bring the festival home

boho outdoor living area in a modern garden

(Image credit: Fiona Walker-Arnott © Future)

No Glasto? No problem. Add in a cosy modular outdoor sofa and surround it with festoon lighting, patterned soft furnishings, and a fire pit to ignite that same convivial spirit at home. 

13. Make a garden coffee table a show-stopper

Fire Pit in outdoor seating area by night

(Image credit: Moda Furnishings + Sandra Baker (@the_idle_hands))

Your outdoor lounging area is sure to be the spot where everyone flocks to in the garden. So, take yours from day to night in an instant with an in-table fire pit. They are all the rage and a surefire way to embrace long summer evenings outdoors.

14. Prioritise investment plants

autumn plants in a colourful border

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

Working with the seasons is a must in gardens, and if you plant autumn bulbs, Acres and the likes ahead of time, your garden will be flush with beautiful fall foliage. Think deep crimson colours, bronze and gold.

15. Plant with the seasons

winter plants

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

To ensure your garden looks lovely, even in cooler months, remember to plan a winter garden display, complete with flowering winter plants and trees like Chimonanthus Praecox. This is a deciduous shrub that blooms pendulous yellow flowers on bare branches in winter – gorgeous.

16. Viva la vida loca

Anne Verdoes shoots small beachy looking corner of a garden complete with a straw parasol

(Image credit: ibulb Anne Verdoes)

It's not that eclectic but it is fun, a straw top pergola transforms this little woodland area of a garden into a forest paradise. Add in fuscia, roses and more bright planting (plus, a very comfy chair) and you've created a very stylish, exclusive holiday spot.

17. Create a stunning view with a slope

Paved garden up terraces

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

Especially important in sloping gardens, planting up to create a beautiful backdrop will be worth it when you're able to look up and enjoy the view from your patio, or even from the back door in all seasons. Choose evergreen plants for year-round interest, while towering wildflowers are a must for the summer months. Although sloping gardens can be more pricey at the design stage, there are unique benefits to this structure and they make the perfect canvas for water features and even fountains. 

18. Design garden borders with plants at different heights

SoUrban Garden-218

This amazing outdoor space features a series of walkways that connect each area of the sloping garden using a hardwearing mix of stone timber

A little drama goes a long way when you're looking for garden ideas. Whether you've a small garden, lawn or no lawn, filling your garden borders with a variety of plants is the perfect way to add interest. The key is to fill all the gaps so that no bare soil is showing, – ground cover plants can help with any patches – and to have a mixture of large and small varieties. The specific plants you go for is, of course, down to personal preference, but you should take into account whether they will do well with the positioning in your outdoor space, and consider companion planting too. We love how the palm elevates this garden border, complementing the surrounding greenery.

19. Add trees that become focal points

Little Greene exterior paints

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Outdoor spaces and trees go hand in hand, and if none currently feature in your garden space, we would highly recommend them.

Should you be so lucky to home mature trees, these can be a great starting point for your garden design, adding natural height and structure to your garden layout. And other than being an attractive feature, trees also create wonderful habitats for birds and wildlife, act as filters for noise and air pollution and, of course, help to purify the air around you. 

If you've a small garden garden, it's the perfect opportunity to introduce small trees in containers. Apple trees, cherry trees and birches are classic garden additions and will take a while to establish so there's every reason to start tending to them in small, manageable pots asap. Maple trees bring gorgeous colour, especially in autumn, and along with Olive, Fig and Citrus trees, which aren't the largest when fully grown so can work well in small to medium sized gardens. 

20. Choose feathery grasses for modernity 

Manutti San outdoor lounger

(Image credit: Go Modern Furniture)

If you like a more luxury garden look then including ornamental grasses as part of a minimalist planting approach is the best way to achieve that. Include a daybed for extra points and be sure keep all your other outdoor furniture streamlined and fuss-free.

21. Start a kitchen garden in raised beds

raised beds in a kitchen garden

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

There's a whole host of fruit and veg that you can grow in your garden and having a kitchen garden is one of the most satisfying and wholesome pastimes about. More and more people in recent times have been rediscovering what it is to grow your own produce at home. There's endless beauty to working with nature, and you can do it no matter what size garden you have. What's more, you will feel oh so proud when you're having a cup of tea in your garden, only to see all your fruit and veg growing happy. Many even flower, like courgettes and broad beans, so you're guaranteed a gorgeous – and tasty – display. 

22. Create an organic garden

Planting in borders


(Image credit: Getty)

Organic gardening is the way forward for us all. And, it's a great garden idea that will not only benefit your health, but Mother Nature's too. Without using pesticides and by being resourceful in your garden space, you will enjoy a beautiful display of plants and most likely some great wildlife too.

23. Pick low planting for a small courtyard to exaggerate space

small garden courtyard

(Image credit: Lights 4 Fun)

Using low planting in a courtyard garden is a great way to create the illusion of space when in need of small garden ideas. When there is a lot happening at ground level, especially with the addition of garden lighting like this Malvern outdoor lighting bundle from Lights4Fun, and accessories, it adds interest and more depth to what you thought was just a pretty standard courtyard.

24. Choose rambling climber plants to create privacy

Garden Trellis Co DSC_2625


Climbing plants will bring glory to every garden space. Climbers are enormously inviting to wildlife, and offer beautiful views and backdrops in the process. Trailing foliage and fragrant flowers adds interest to vertical surfaces, pergolas and to any space you have, plus, trailing plants are the ideal solution to unsightly garden walls, trellises or areas of your outdoor space which would be better off concealed. 

Some plants will need training and tying in to start them off on your structure,  – such as Jasmine (Jasminum trachelospermum), Honeysuckle (Lonicera) and Clematis (Clematis x jackmanii) but they will then intertwine themselves. While others like climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea petiolaris) and Ivy (Hedera) are self-clinging and will support themselves.

25. Plant indestructible succulents for low-maintenance but high-impact

Container gardening with succulents

(Image credit: @ Frances Lincoln)

We are big fans of plants that you can't kill, which is why succulents are a no-brainer for every type of garden space, even when container gardening. Whichever you choose, their cool colours, shapes and texture will bring a modern feel to your outdoor space, and you simply need to pot them up in coarse, gritty soil, in a pot that absolutely has to have drainage, set them up in a sunny spot and then you can let nature do the rest. 

26. Create a green wall – but frame it

succulent frame on a garden fence

Succulent panels are ideal for a sunny spot and are an easy DIY project. They are very low-maintenance plants, just mist the board from time to time

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

We love the added impact that the frame adds to this succulent display and introducing a green wall, also known as a living wall, is a surefire way to add interest to your garden. Visually, these garden ideas are beautiful and will draw the eye up, creating the illusion of a grander space, while they also help create a soothing and positive ambiance which we all want in a garden. Then, as little floor space is required for this feature, it also makes it the perfect addition to small gardens. 

We recommend that you opt for evergreen varieties to ensure a beautiful display, all year. Climbers are a great choice if you want your green wall to grow up directly from the ground, so Jasmin, Honeysuckle and the like are nice options.

For a natural finish try ferns such as Adiantum (maidenhair fern) and different varieties of Ivy (Hedera). While succulents, as seen in the above living wall, will create a stylish and tidy finish. Another bonus with succulents as mentioned, is that they are very hardy and can take all sorts of weather, which means you won't have any trouble maintaining your green wall all year round! 

27. Use cheap landscaping materials to maximum effect

deck with seat under a pergola

When choosing materials, rustic timber complement both contemporary and period houses. Decking is a good choice where there is wooden flooring inside. Blogger Dear Designer has created this wonderful shaded space with decking and a pergola

(Image credit: Carole King)

When it comes to garden landscaping, selecting sustainable hardwoods for your space is cheap and effective. Mix and match a few together, such as timber flooring with teak or a bamboo covering and see how this beautiful garden idea will create impact, without going over budget. 

28. Combine natural cover with modern interiors

rustic and contemporary outdoor living room

(Image credit: Getty Images)

For a genuine feeling of being in your living room, but outdoors, choose glass top coffee tables and rattan effect sofas to contrast the natural flooring and cover you have. Bringing cushions and lots of lighting into the mix makes this a fun hang out spot. Check out our guide to the best rattan garden furniture for some ideas. 

29. Turn a side return into a sheltered seating spot

garden patio idea

Find similar rattan furniture at Ikea

(Image credit: Ikea)

Indeed, garden inspiration can often lead to bigger home improvement ideas! So, did you know that you can make use of your side return in many ways? But if an extension isn't on your home improvement wish list, then transforming this space into a natural extension of your garden is a must. The added bonus, on top of the brilliant use of fairly dead space, is that it will feel really cosy and intimate. Add a roof, make a small garden coffee table the centrepiece, gather round your favourite chairs and just add foliage for your own piece of paradise.

30. Choose decking that will add texture and warmth

town garden in Stockwell by My Landscapes

(Image credit: My Landscapes)

Decking can make or break a garden look. Choose wisely and you will enhance your space, making it work both practically and aesthetically. We love the dark matte finish of this decking area as it adds natural warmth and depth to this already pretty stunning area of the garden.

31. Pick wood-effect composite for no-maintenance decking

Millboard Composite Decking Weathered Vintage Garden House Design

Millboard composite decking, Garden House Design

(Image credit: Garden House Design)

We love rustic and weathered finishes in decking which can complement both traditional and contemporary settings. Choosing high-quality, natural materials will ensure your patio area is built to last and will help create a more eco-friendly garden setting also. The decking here brings a relaxed structure to this outdoor dining area, while the natural colours, minimalist design and addition of surrounding plants, keep it modern and inviting. 

However – this decking is a lookalike composite. All of the benefits of the looks of the wood, without the upkeep. 

32. Zone different areas in your garden at design stage

Diagonal paving garden design


Defining ‘zones’ in your outdoor space is a clever way to create the illusion of different rooms in your garden. This can be achieved using plants, different landscaping materials and garden fencing. You can also use your garden furniture to create areas for lounging, cooking, eating or whatever else you require from your outdoor space. Find ideas for stylish outdoor living in our guide to the best garden furniture.

33. Build or DIY a pergola to create private zones

Alfresco festoon garden lights canopy by Lights4fun

(Image credit: Lights4fun)

Building a pergola to house a seating area is a great way to create the illusion of a bigger and brighter space. The eye is drawn up, and lots of light is welcomed in, yet your outdoor area will feel cosy and contained to boot. Perfect for dinner, or even just cocktail hour.

34. Pick a pale stone for your patio to max space and light

Argos patio set with umbrella

(Image credit: Argos)

The patio can often be the focus of a garden so always make sure you allocate enough space for one. Looking for space-stretching patio ideas? If you've a tiny garden, light stone will help create a spacious feel and will let you make best use of this area! 

Whether yours is to be the perfect spot for lounging, eating al fresco, entertaining, or all three, be creative to ensure your set up is stunning. Consider if you want yours under shelter or completely out in the open as both are inviting looks, it simply depends on your preferences.

35. Define your garden dining area with colours and planting

Ikea garden furniture

Outdoor dining space set up by Ikea

(Image credit: Ikea)

Much like the patio can be the focal point of a garden, the dining area is where it all happens. Whether you've a small bistro table set up for two, or a large family dining set for al fresco dinners a-go-go come summertime, be sure to make it stand out. Surrounding your table with planting can help zone the space, while added accessories – be them on or off the table – will add interest, colour and character. It goes without saying that garden lighten will make all the difference. Try layering lighting for more effect and for a brighter space all-together – especially ideal when you're eating. Use lanterns, scatter tea lights on the table – choose citronella ones if you aren't into mozzies – alongside solar-powered lighting above, even hanging from the trees, to create endless ambiance.

36. Arrange a garden seating area like you would a living room

Garden

(Image credit: IKEA)

A seating area makes every garden space sing, and it's an opportunity to create the ultimate spot for relaxation. From sun loungers, to day beds, even on a small balcony or patio, you'll be able to squeeze in a solo hammock or hanging seat, and it will make all the difference. How to get the best out of it? Arrange the furniture as if it were indoors – so chairs grouped around a garden coffee table, a sun lounger next to a side table... and so on. It will look better designed, be more inviting and so much more comfortable to use.

37. Add atmosphere with ground level lighting

Stone Globe Lights LEDs light up a seating area

(Image credit: Melissa Morton Garden Design, Stone Globe Lights)

There is no better garden inspiration than when complete with atmosphere. Create ambiance in a garden by choosing low-level lighting like these gorgeous spherical LED globe lights which add interest by day and also light up by night, proving they can be both stylish and functional in every type of outdoor setting.

38. Add warmth with a log burner

fire pit warms up neutral patio space

(Image credit: Charlton Island)

Perfect for when the sun. goes down – especially if you've marshmallows close by – a log burner in itself brings warmth, and in this garden patio setting, the terracotta hue perfectly complements the pots and pared-back colour scheme. This spot couldn't get anymore serene if it tried.

39. Use pallets to create a quick, cheap corner sofa

Lovatt thatched cottage pallet seating area

Pallet seating in restored the garden of a 17th-century country cottage.

(Image credit: Future / Brent Darby / Styling Pippa Blenkinsop)

A corner sofa can make the best use of space, especially if you have a big family, and it needn't be expensive if you DIY your own with wooden pallets like above for a charismatic, yet rustic finish. This is one of the best cheap garden ideas that boasts a cozy and stylish result with the simple addition of mix-matched cushions and throws. 

40. Colour-coordinate your seating area, with your home 

deck chairs bring a nautical style to a small space

(Image credit: Little Greene)

These deckchairs tick all the boxes. Nautical, in a cool way, and the reason that they look so good – despite the lack of sand and an inflatable beach ball – in this garden setting, is because the colours perfectly coordinate with the exterior house paint and window shutter colour.  

41. Jazz up a courtyard garden with a hanging chair

Hanging chair for garden ideas

(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

Hanging around in one of the best hanging chairs is the ultimate treat on any day. These work so well in courtyard gardens, helping to add a little modern character to minimal surroundings. Add your own style and a touch of comfort with accessories, cushions and more, whether you want to go all in with pattern, or keep it light and neutral as seen above in this hanging teardrop hanging chair from Cox & Cox, you can create the ultimate nook.

42. Create a boho vibe with patterns

Vanessa Arbuthnott fabrics

(Image credit: Vanessa Arbuthnott)

Not all beautiful garden ideas have to be labor-intensive or expensive. You can add softness, colour and design interest with printed cushions and a tablecloth. The colourful soft furnishings used in this garden idea are made with fabrics from Vanessa Arbuthnott.

43. Add a green roof to sheds and garden rooms

Green roof covers garden building

If you're one for keeping nature at the heart of your space, then adding greenery to your garden outbuildings is a brilliant place to start when designing a wildlife friendly garden. Originally introduced as a means of better insulating homes, and absorbing rainwater, green roofs are both beneficial and beautiful. Not only will it create a harmonious colour scheme, but it will also be really inviting to wildlife. It goes without saying that you will need to ensure the correct structural support of your building, as they can be considerably heavier than a simple roof. 

For a thick and lush green roof, that isn't extensively heavy, it's wise to choose, hardy, low maintenance plants that don't require copious amounts of soil. Opt for Alpines, succulents (Sempervirens) and evergreen shrubs and herbs like Ice Plant (Delosperma cooperi) or flowering Thyme (Thymus vulgaris).

44. Attract even more wildlife with a water feature

The garden is always on view, so a flowing arrangement with a Japanese theme ensures it looks good all the time. Japanese-themed garden

A garden water feature is a swell idea and can work with both traditional and modern garden designs. If you are installing a water feature, or garden pond, remember that it will become a focal point and that you will need to make plans for this early on. If you are phasing your design – perhaps doing a patio first and moving on to other features as budget allows – then make sure you won't have to undo hard work to retrofit pipework. And, if yours is a small garden, just the trickle of a solar powered fountain in a large bowl will work a treat.

45. Add a blue lagoon-esque pond

natural swimming pool by Jo Thompson for the RHS flower show

(Image credit: Jo Thompson)

Any element of water in a garden design will make your space very special indeed, and you have a few different options, depending on how much space you have available. Whether you choose a pond or a natural pool, it's a lovely way to feel in touch with nature.

46. Or, add a wild swimming pool

elicar_garden_pool_deckchair


This is a family garden with a natural swimming pool, designed by specialist company Ensata. It cleverly includes a natural regeneration system which uses reeds and waterlilies to filter the water, while a mechanical system also helps keep the pool clean. Plus, it looks gorgeous and like a natural part of the landscape.

47. Use scented climbers to frame a walkway

climbing roses around an arch in a spring garden

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

There's nothing quite as pretty as a walkway in your own garden, especially when yours is covered in fragrant and beautiful climbers. Height is key to draw the eye upwards, so making an archway over a garden path, or even including a pergola, are brilliant options not just for large gardens, but also for small garden designs. Fastigiate shrubs and non-invasive climbers are the perfect combo. Rambling roses, Jasmine (Jasminum ✕ stephanense), Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinesis) or another species of Wisteria, and Clematis are also sound choices to add a touch of brilliance.

48. Fake foliage on a balcony

Ikea gardening hacks

(Image credit: Ikea)

If you want a good garden-esque space, but aren't actually green fingered at all or don't have so much outdoor space to work with, then this is a grand DIY garden idea for you. Build a green wall for your balcony, using fake flowers. This one has been made using a combination of artificial lilies, monstera leaves and Ikea's very handy faux plant wall panels. It will work in a small courtyard garden or even to dress the inside of a garden room too, because when you don't need to worry so much about light and water levels for your plants – your options are endless!

49. Give garden gates a new lease of life with paint the colour of blooms

Little Greene exterior paints


(Image credit: Little Greene)

Painting a garden gate in a bright and playful colour is a simple way to bring life into your outdoor space. Fresh, modern and cheap to do, using a bold colour is one of the easiest ways to nicely interrupt a pared back garden design that deserves a bit more oomph. 

50. Add colour to a deck to complement your planting

Garden with patio and watering can planters

(Image credit: Future)

Plants are gorgeous in their own right, but, why wouldn't you exaggerate their hidden colours with what's in your surroundings? Simply painting your garden deck in a similar hue can help your flowers' colouring stand out. Plants can help define zones too, especially if you go for a strong colour theme by area. So, if your dining space has dark-coloured decking and walls, deep purple plants with rich blue hues will look the part. While if your lounging space has say, a white wall behind it and light-coloured decking, this will make white and pastel coloured flowers look incredible. 

51. Or mimic a garden fence pattern in containers 

Maxine Brady transformed her small garden into a Moroccan-inspired haven

(Image credit: Fiona Walker-Arnott)

The similar lines of both the garden fencing and the containers (on wheels might we point out) brings continuity to this design and adds a bit of depth to what is quite a simple display. From the materials, to the planting itself, it's a feast for the eyes and ideal to bring even an awkward garden corner to life.

52. Paint garden walls to create an outdoor living room

Little Greene exterior paints

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Outdoor living spaces aren't just reserved to those in very warm climates. And you can create one easily, no matter what size garden you have. It should be inviting, stylish and super comfortable, of course, so that you can wile away the hours in front of your outdoor projector or with a magazine in hand. Use different colours on fencing or walls to create separate zones for your outdoor living room. White is a good backdrop for lounging areas that you want to feel bright and sunny, while deep greens are good for more of a zen space, perfect for yoga and the likes. Use rich shades, such as blue or eggplant, to create more atmosphere during long summer evenings, and brights like red, orange or yellow will add instant energy.

53. Colour block in brights to exaggerate space

colour blocking behind a garden dining area

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

Colour blocking works a treat indoors – but look for these for inspiration as they make great garden ideas, too. Use this technique to bring small garden spaces to life. What do we love about this look in particular? Note how the colour on the walls complements a few of the plant pots on the table. If you ask us, it's the perfect way to cheat more room into a small courtyard or garden dining area.

54. Or, enhance your decking area with light hues

white decking enhances space

(Image credit: Little Greene)

White wash decking is a surefire way to bring the feeling of a beach hut, to your own back garden. And, when teamed – as above – with painted white bamboo shelter, it can really make a small space sing. Speaking of singing, we're getting Mamma Mia! vibes from this garden look. Take this garden inspiration on in your own space and you won't even need to get on a plane, to feel like you're relaxing on a beautiful and remote Greek island. 

55. Add pattern to a small patio floor with paint

Garden transformed with paint


(Image credit: Emily Smith)

Getting arty in a small garden goes a long way, and the proof is in this stunning patio floor. The terrazzo print was simply created using masonry paint, and toothbrushes, but the effect is second to none. For what is such a simple painting hack, it adds instant colour, energy and interest, and is much more affordable than pulling up old patio tiles and replacing them. 

56. Enhance your space with garden lighting

Neptune Monaco 6 seater table

(Image credit: Neptune)

Well positioned lighting can completely transform your garden or patio area, adding the final touch to a seating or dining area, or highlighting beautiful planting spots and other areas of your outdoor space at night. There are endless garden lighting ideas to try for all types of gardens and outdoor spaces. Consider the kind of atmosphere you'd like to create and choose your outdoor lighting accordingly. Perhaps you like the relaxed, boho vibe that is easily achieved by hanging some festoon lights and accessorising with tea lights and lanterns?

You may want to opt for something elegant and permanent, such as a pendant or porch light. And if security is a concern, you may want to think about flood lights. Last but not least, the colouring and strength of your lights will contribute to the overall effect.  

57. Light up your trees with solar lights

solar garden lighting lights up a tree

(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

One of the most Midsummer Night's Dream-esque garden ideas going, plus, using solar lighting in your garden is a really eco-friendly and economical way to bring more light to your space come sundown. Fairy lights, like these solar powered fairy lights from Cox & Cox are so easy to style in all types of garden space, big and small. Discreet yet really effective, hang them loosely within your tree canopy, over a balcony railing or running through containers in a smaller spot and enjoy.

58. Add a living pod that is modern to boot

Garden House Design

(Image credit: Garden House Design)

If you're ready to take your outdoor living to the next level, and if you have the room, adding a living pod like this one is the next jump. With more structure, it's a surefire way to create an outside space that's perfect for relaxing and having a laugh in, with the whole family. Choosing a building that is beautiful and contemporary in structure is key for this look is to ensure that you create a refined finish, while you should make sure that it's weather resistant too so you have shelter when you need it, and to make it last for years to come.

59. Camouflage a greenhouse with greenery

Garden greenhouse

(Image credit: Ryland Peters & Small)

Greenhouses are not only great garden idea for growing and propagating a whole host of plants, but they are also the perfect solution to garden storage needs and can instantly add more appeal to your garden.

Yours doesn't need to be enormous, or made from glass. Many are often made with plastic sheeting, simply to help trap the heat of the sun inside. Whichever structure you choose, you have the potential to do lots of vegetable gardening and to grow new floral additions for your garden in quick time. And should you want to conceal a not-so-gorgeous plastic greenhouse, just up your planting game! 

A few of our faves to grow from the inside include tomatoes, peas, squash, mushrooms and more, but you really have no limits. While outside, take on a little invasive Ivy, Jasmine and the like to cover your greenhouse in style.

Should you be working with a tiny, or even courtyard garden, there are lots of clever and cute small greenhouses or even cold frames to incorporate into the outdoor space you do have, and for advice on greenhouse gardening be sure to visit our guide.

60. Add a garden room – but make it your own

garden with a summer house and a vegetable patch


(Image credit: Annabelle Grundy )

Garden rooms are more popular than ever right now as they offer a cool, and often more affordable, alternative to an extension. You may now be working from home full time and in need of a little separation from the house/kids during work hours (kids are noisy), while the added space could even double up as a yoga studio, home cinema or guest house (when we can invite relatives to stay once again!). The choice is yours, and there are plenty of different garden room ideas and styles around, modern or traditional, to fit in with your garden design. We are a big fan of this garden room come summer house which adds a contemporary touch to a small and simple garden design. 

61. Create a cool garden office

converted shipping container garden room


(Image credit: Container Conversion Design & Build)

If you are now working from home full time you might be looking for garden ideas to expand your indoor space. If this is the case, then a garden office may be on your list of priorities and adding an outbuilding can fit the bill. Use yours as an office, or maybe as a place to retreat to when your working day is done but what's great about these garden buildings is that they are functional and can add a really interesting structure to all types of gardens. 

62. DIY an outdoor cinema spot

Outdoor cinema

(Image credit: Cuprinol )

A great way to zone your garden space, and to make the most of your lawn, setting up your vert own outdoor movie theatre is a great addition to gardens big and small. All you really need is a sheet, or a white wall and an outdoor projector, but investing in soft furnishings, lighting and all the rest will really help set the ambiance.

63. Disguise your BBQ 

wooden, decked outdoor kitchen and dining area by ikea

(Image credit: Ikea)

If you have a great BBQs about then you may want to have it on show. But, if you want to be more discreet with your outdoor kitchen ideas then choose a barbie that is in-keeping with the rest of your garden's style. This cool outdoor kitchen setup features a BBQ on wheels by Ikea and the wood that conceals it helps keep the entire look, undisrupted. What a beauty, and yes, it's teamed with brilliant storage too.

64. Create a cook's paradise

outdoor kitchen set up with wooden floor and steel top surfaces by garden house design

(Image credit: Garden House Design)

If you love cooking and dining al fresco on every possible occasion and want to take it further than a BBQ, then why not create a fully equipped kitchen in your garden? A bespoke outdoor kitchen will allow your inner chef to come alive, letting you cook in different ways, plus it will have all preparation and plating-up space, as well as super-useful features like sinks, fridges and lighting that you need to impress your guests. Go for a slick yet simple design for a suave finish and you'll feel like your dream Michelin star restaurant has come to you! 

65. Start a garden party, with a garden bar

Honolulu garden bar by John Lewis

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

All modern garden ideas involved an outdoor bar, right? Because, what better way to feel like you're abroad (when you're on staycation) than by serving up a Piña colada or two on a warm day? There are so many cool and contemporary outdoor bar ideas to try out, including DIY, rustic garden bar options  to suit your setting perfectly.

66. Opt for simplicity with natural materials

Rosemoor Reclaimed Sofa and armchair by Jo Alexander

(Image credit: Jo Alexander )

You may be a minimalist, or you may prefer simple garden ideas as you haven't got much time on your hards, either way, there are plenty of small additions and changes that you can make to your outdoor space to create your desired garden look. Choosing neutral fabric colours and natural materials in Scandi-like garden furniture is effective to create a zen area. And to finish off your space with ease, try scattering wildflower seeds in surrounding spots for colourful and elaborate growth that's not overbearing and that doesn't ask for a lot of effort, or maintenance.

67. Choose a white colour scheme in a courtyard garden

cottage garden

(Image credit: Jody Stewart)

Opting for a light colour scheme in a small garden space can help brighten up the room you do have, making it seem more airy and inviting. We love the harmonious colour scheme of this vintage-style courtyard setting. The painted white table, chairs and white wash walls all come together in a very subtle yet beautiful way, and this works perfectly in what is a pretty tiny garden space.

68. Or go for bright, bold garden furniture

Nectar Bistro Set from Dobbies

(Image credit: Dobbies)

Bright is often the best garden furniture and it can make all the difference to a boring outdoor space. The simple addition of a small but bold-coloured bistro set with low seating can add even more personality to small, but modern patio. And if you have more space to play with – and a big family in tow – you'll find grand coloured corner seating sets and more to cater for all your style needs, no problem. 

69. Dress your garden furniture like you would indoors

Dunelm garden furniture

(Image credit: Dunelm )

Whether it's dining, lounging, or both that you've envisaged for your garden space, the right furniture will be functional and enhance a space a space no end, making it welcoming and inviting for all who will use it. Choose comfort and quality to ensure that your pieces stay in good condition throughout the seasons.

Most important? Add weather-resistant accessories to make your garden furniture more inviting – from cushions and throws to outdoor rugs.

70. You could even add an outdoor rug

outdoor living area

(Image credit: Maisons du monde)

Bring a bit of your lounge (physically) outside, by adding an outdoor rug to your garden seating area. We love the vibrant pattern of this one from Maisons du Monde. It's jazzy and cosy at the same time, making it a great centrepiece for this space, and the perfect spot to lounge in at lunch, or after a long day working from home. 

71. Add drama with billowing curtains

garden curtains create an outdoor living set up

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

Adding curtains to your outdoor patio area is a great idea to bring a sense of the indoors, to your outside space. They will move softly in the wind, – caution if you have a BBQ around please – to add atmosphere and energy aplenty. Plus, if you choose a light colour, the eye will be drawn up further, creating the illusion of space. 

72. Combine garden decor with privacy

Fairy light curtain creates a garden screen for privacy

(Image credit: Wayfair)

It's surprising how you can create a private zone without building an actual fort around your entire garden. A fairy light curtain is one of the simplest garden ideas to add an element of fun as well a some subtle privacy to your space.

73. Pick a theme – and head for the Med

John Lewis & Partners Basket Rope Garden Lounging Armchairs, Set of 2, Terracotta

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

It's clear why Mediterranean garden ideas are all the rage and choosing this style is a  lovely way to make you feel like you're in the South of France, on the Spanish coast or even further afield which, let's face it, is the escapism we all need. Choosing brights when it comes to garden furniture is key for this garden design idea, while you should favour plants that are renowned for their fragrance and colour also. Citrus, Fig and even Olive trees are ideal large plants, while herbs like Lavender, Rosemary and Eucalyptus work well in containers or as border plants to create a natural and relaxed ambiance around a patio area. 

74. Or, for the Caribbean 

stone statue centre piece carribean garden

At the garden’s heart, surrounded by ponytail grass Stipa tenuissima, is a classical statue nicknamed Pandora, which the couple bought 25 years ago from Writtle Road Nursery in Chelmsford

There's nothing more playful then opting for a Caribbean theme in a garden. Choose this tropical garden design idea and lush foliage teamed with bright, dramatic flowers will completely ignite your space. Tall palm trees, and large shrubs such as Fatsia japonica will add shape and drama, while ferns create texture and are perfect additions to shade gardens also. Match your planting with sleek and contemporary seating, or even rattan garden furniture and you will have created a veritable oasis. 

75. Bring home Moroccan vibes

gorgeous garden party setting ideas

(Image credit: Chris Court (Photography) & Ingrid Weir (Styling) for Ikea)

Moroccan decor is pretty timeless, and there's nothing more perfect for a garden party setting than colourful lanterns, and intricate designs on everything – from furniture, to tableware and accessories. Bring the heat to your outside dining settings with mismatched furnishings, layers of detail (it's all about the detail) and let yourself day dream of exploring vibrant souks, while you're in your own back garden. 

76. Choose a Spanish-inspired garden style

Spanish-inspired garden dining area

(Image credit: Cuprinol UK)

A Spanish-esque outdoor setting will provide perfect garden inspiration at any time of year. This simple table and bench is actually perfect for intimate family gatherings, while the adorning bright soft furnishings will make you feel like you're in Barcelona, even on a grey day. The key, like we've mentioned with Med-inspired garden ideas, is bright and bold colours, patterns and texture. The exotic planting and greenery add energy to the area, creating the happiest of holiday garden vibes.

77. Pick the low maintenance looks of a Zen Japanese garden

small garden trees: Acer Palmatum

(Image credit: Thompson & Morgan)

High detail yet minimal and refined, we're talking about zen garden design. A group of Acers is a beautiful garden idea to add stunning impact, while a solo Japanese Maple Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood' can be such a distinctive feature in its own right. If a Japanese style garden is what you're trying to achieve, you'll want to include large rocks, freshly raked gravel (very satisfying to achieve), bonsai and ornate detailing.

78. Make your garden design child-friendly

If you've got very young children, it's worth considering garden ideas for little ones, choosing hard landscaping, surfaces, plants and play structures to create a space that not only suits your family now, but will be future-proofed, too. 

79. Go to town on your front garden, too

path winding through the front garden of a victorian home to the door

(Image credit: Andreas von Einsiedel)

A front garden is not to be forgotten, especially as if you have the luxury of having one. Ensure yours introduces your home as it deserves. Depending on how much space you have, you could line the path to your front door with shrubs and more evergreens, in a formal or relaxed fashion. Be sure to edge your lawn to keep it tidy, and not only will it make you smile when you come home, but it will add instant kerb appeal to your property too.

80. Play with all the senses

Solus Decor Water Bowl Scupper

(Image credit: Solus Decor)

You're going for fragrance, colour and if you're growing herbs and more, taste and touch will be there too. Think of all the ways to enhance your garden ideas and experience by thinking of the five senses and remember how sound is vital in creating a relaxed atmosphere. Not everyone has a babbling brook next to their patio, but a Zen-inspired water feature will also work very well. Best of all, you needn't have tons of space to create this look.

81. Make fencing a design feature 

painted fence

(Image credit: Sadolin)

Fencing has the obvious practical functions of creating boundaries and privacy, but there's no reason it shouldn't look great, too. We love the colour blocking on this fence which adds heaps of modern character and a great seating nook too.

82. Invest in timeless garden accessories

Violet Grey Directoire centrepiece urn, £1400; Confit pots (set of 3), £275

(Image credit: Violet Grey )

Timeless doesn't mean dated, and garden pots that look like antique sculptures, and that you'll want to pass down the generations, are the ones you should keep in your outdoor space. The Directoire Centrepiece Urn by Violet Grey definitely falls into the best category here – and has a price tag to match. 

83. Be bespoke

world-inspired garden with a japanese-style garden gate by Zeterre Landscape Architecture

(Image credit: Zeterre Landscape Architecture)

Think of your garden as a reflection of you and if you like to be a little extravagant – allow it – sometimes you just need to go bespoke. Embrace it and go all out like with this beautiful Japanese-style garden gate by Zeterre Landscape Architecture.

84. Make it a trio for impact

Beaufort wood and fabric armchairs by McKinnon and Harris

(Image credit: McKinnon and Harris)

If you want to create a little corner of The Hamptons then go for touchable, high-quality upholstery in your seating. Line up your chairs perfectly to let those refined frames have even more impact.

85. Take your container garden to the wall

green wall ideas

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Planting vertically offers plenty of opportunity to get creative and to add the finishing touches to a coherent garden design scheme. To create a modern look, think of creating a green wall with uniform containers and choose plants that contrast each other in size, shape and texture. This green wall looks elegant in structure and still contemporary thanks to the energetic choice of greenery.

86. Add natural luxury with high-impact plants

Wisteria tree adds drama to garden pergola

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Choosing plants that add a touch of drama is a surefire way to create modern and luxurious surroundings. Of course, the choice of plants is always subjective: what looks like 'luxurious' garden ideas to you may not to someone else. As a general rule, however, we advise to choose plants that pack a real visual punch: think wisteria, or a magnolia tree.

87. Focus on your outbuilding's deck

Wildflower Summer House by Lights4fun

French doors open out onto the veranda – the perfect spot for a coffee break in all weathers, thanks to the building’s 1.5m overhang above. For similar garden chairs, try the Bloomingville Butterfly chair at Amara

(Image credit: Lights4fun)

Whether you've a small summer house or a super modern garden room with a couple of areas to it, make the most of its exterior by setting up a lush lounging spot. This is a fine garden design idea that speaks to us both on a visual and practical level as you will create a natural extension of both your outbuilding, and your home.

88. Push salmon pink into a cottage planting scheme

bistro dining set in a small garden

The small pink bistro garden set is positioned among the fragrant flowers

(Image credit: Suzie Gibbons)

Period or cottage garden settings needn't be off limits for modern colours. Make even just a corner of your cottage style outdoor space a little more eclectic with a burst of salmon pink, via a bistro set.

89. Follow a loose formal planting scheme

Formal dark coloured planting garden ideas

(Image credit: Alicia Savage Garden Design)

You can nod to formal planting without creating harsh rectangles in your garden. Choose soft circular shapes and repeat colours to achieve impact as Alicia Savage does so well in this Bristol garden. 

90. Create a bulb planting station

Bulb planting station on a balcony

(Image credit: Alicia Savage Garden Design)

For both the avid gardener and complete novice, create a makeshift area to pot up bulbs, herbs and the like using coloured round tables at standing height for a cute and practical spot.

Keep dreaming big with your garden ideas 🙌

Camille Dubuis-Welch
Camille Dubuis-Welch

Camille is Digital Editor at Realhomes.com and joined the team in January 2020. As an interior design aficionado, when she’s not developing evergreen content and furiously researching keywords, she is most definitely finding new ways to spruce up her rented space, usually involving a houseplant or two. She loves the challenge that comes with making a room look stylish and feel homely, and her ultimate goal is to renovate the house of dreams, somewhere marvellously sunny with a wild and lavish garden, of course.

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