Inspiring ideas

The elements within your chosen garden style are helpful for reinforcing its overall look. Here are some ideas to get you thinking


Containers are excellent for adding a dash of seasonal colour to areas close to your home. It's easy to ring the changes, keeping the garden looking fresh whatever the time of year. Use them for shrubs, bulbs or annuals or topiary. Many pots are also perfect for fruit and veg - a great low-maintenance alternative for grow-your-own beginners.

More on containers


With the addition of furniture, your garden can become an outdoor room, which, weather permitting, provides more welcome space. Choosing the right style is important - furniture can enhance the garden style you've chosen and blend with the surrounding scene, or become a focal point. There's a bewildering choice available to suit most pockets.

Maintaining garden furniture


They're not just for marking out your property's boundary. Use hedging as a backdrop for other plants or water features, as a focal point in its own right - think clipped box topiary in either quirky or classic shapes - or to divide areas of your garden and so create interest. Another bonus is their use as a wildlife habitat and nesting site for birds.

Selecting hedges

Mixed planting

Mixed borders are a chance to show off your flair in the garden and can look spectacular, especially through summer. They could be jam-packed with herbaceous perennials, colour co-ordinated in contrasting or complementary colours, or more restrained areas of a calming mix of greens. Experiment with different plant combinations and enjoy the results.

Bedding schemes

Paths and patios

All gardens need pathways to link different areas, but their purpose is not only practical. A path made of beautiful stone or other paving can be an essential part of the overall look, or a gorgeous feature in its own right. Shape is important too - clean, straight lines or meandering curves, the choice helps you create the mood.

Maintaining hard surfaces


Trees are the backbone of the garden, adding height and a permanent framework within which to create your outdoor space. Evergreen or deciduous, a mighty oak or a flowering cherry, there is one for every garden, however small or large. When well cared for, trees can also be grown in containers. Even if your garden is a tiny courtyard, a tree can enhance it.

Selecting trees for small gardens

Walls and boundaries

Stone, brick, glass, iron, concrete... your choice of materials for walls is almost endless, depending on preference and budget. Like hedging, walls need not only be used as property boundaries. Use them to delineate areas and as a stylish backdrop to plants. You can even grow plants 'within' the wall - vertical green walls are increasingly popular among designers.

Creating a green wall


Be it a cascading waterfall, a bubbling fountain or a glassy, still pond, the addition of a water feature to your garden adds an appealing focal point, creating lovely reflections and sounds. Water is also the single most important addition to a garden if you want to attract more wildlife. If space is limited, consider a bubbling millstone or trough filled with water and aquatic plants.

Watering tips

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.