A big garden provides us with an opportunity to make a real design statement but often with great size comes great responsibility. In many ways, even though you have more space to play with, designing a large garden can be more complicated than a small city plot.
Of course, smaller spaces require design ingenuity and creativity too, don't get us wrong, but in a larger plot it can be tricky to pull a cohesive theme together and you definitely need a bigger chunk of budget and time (both in terms of the initial works and any ongoing maintenance).
However, a large garden definitely provides us with many opportunities in terms of design solutions, and more space means you can incorporate more of what you love into the scheme.
From our point of view, with limited space, you might be restricted to just a 2 or 4-seater outdoor table set but with a bigger garden, you could up that to 8+ and zone the patio to feature a cooking/BBQ area, outdoor dining and outdoor sofa seating.
Our philosophy when designing a large suburban or country plot is to tailor the design to the property and wider landscape. Work with the style of your home and borrow from beyond your boundaries.
Style, functionality, privacy, etc are all critical components but so too are things like maintenance. You want a space that’s an escape, is a joy to spend time doing what you love but is also manageable. Some like to spend their time tending to their garden, others don’t, so the design should reflect that.
A large garden has the plot size to combine hardscaping (structures and patios) with landscaping (borders and lawns). You can create different zones, multiple patios, pathways, steps, buildings, focal points, planting schemes, water features, etc, and, maybe most importantly, design a garden that takes you on a journey (both visually and literally).
How to start your large garden design
With any size garden, proper planning from the start is paramount to ensure no costly and time-consuming mistakes are made. In our earlier top 5 garden design solutions for a small city plot article, we stated that:
Many of us like just to roll our sleeves up and get stuck in but things get missed. Mistakes (potentially costly if hardscaping or buying the wrong type of outdoor furniture) get made. It’s like building furniture without instructions… So, put your plan down on paper, research for design inspiration online/in magazines and shop around for the best deals on materials, labour, etc.
The same applies to a large garden, maybe more so, as the costs incurred are higher. The bigger the garden, the more of everything you’ll need, be it plants, fencing, turf or stone pavers for the patio.
Planning the space on paper or in a garden design app will allow you to get a better sense of the overall scheme and pull together a more cohesive design. It will also ensure a smoother process and with a detailed design, you can more accurately set a budget, cost the job, shop around and schedule works.
With large gardens, the cost of a full design can easily run into the tens of thousands, by creating a clear plan, you can phase that schedule over time and spread both the cost, workload and disruption.
Our top 5 large country garden design solutions
There are a whole host of country garden design styles you can apply to your space, from the delightful mix of wild planting in a cottage-style garden to the more formal topiary and parterre stylings that we identify with English country gardens.
These styles (or elements from) have lasted because they work so well with our country and suburban plots. Even in our modern new build homes, you move in with the garden nothing more than a blank canvas.
A combination of the traditional linear layout with modern planting is a popular choice with many garden designers when creating a larger plot. This is illustrated perfectly in the customer photo of our Mia Set (below). The contrast in style and scale is a great way to create a garden that fits with a modern country property but is also functional, easy to maintain and beautiful to look at.
In this article, we want to take a closer look at some of our favourite large garden design solutions that are perfect if you’re stuck for ideas. We’ve also utilised photos from our customers throughout to illustrate what we’re talking about and provide a little inspiration.
The Lazy Susan Team have got our heads together and compiled our top 5 and we hope they’ll inspire you to find your country style, and maybe, just maybe, our outdoor furniture will fit in there too.
1. Add a garden building
If you have a large plot, then in our opinion it needs a garden building. It could be as simple as a timber pergola as shown above with our Jasmine Garden Benches and Rose Bistro Set in Antique Bronze or a sophisticated gazebo-style summer room as shown below with our Catherine 6-seater Set in Slate.
A garden building can serve a number of functions from an office and craft room to just a sheltered spot out of the sun and rain. They’re a great investment, make for a fantastic focal point, don’t require planning permission and will ensure that you can maximise the use of your outside space.
Even a simple awning or patio cover (such as the pergola frame with canvas shown in the customer photo of our Gloria 8-seater Outdoor Table above) is a great way to ensure that you can continue to cook, dine and relax outside no matter what the great British summertime throws at you. Add lighting and a heat source and you can extend that building's use into spring and autumn.
2. Borrow from beyond your borders
Larger country (and many suburban gardens) are less overlooked than their urban counterparts, so if you’re lucky to have unobstructed views, borrow from them and ensure they’re an integral part of your garden's design scheme (as the lucky customer above has done with our Amelia 6-seater Set in Antique Bronze).
Any good garden design should take you on a journey, and if that journey culminates with a fantastic view of the mountains, countryside or coastline beyond, then embrace it.
It can even go further in that you can borrow style cues from the landscape beyond, coastal gardens such as the one above with our Alice Outdoor Table Set in Slate could incorporate a nautical theme, and country gardens a rustic cottage-style charm.
You can construct patio areas specifically to soak up those views as the customer has done with our Frances Set (above). Plant native species of plants and trees at the edges of your plot to blur the lines and make the space feel even bigger by borrowing from the landscape beyond.
3. Create a journey
For the team here at Lazy Susan, a good garden takes you on a journey, it draws you from inside to out, it blurs the lines between the two, it becomes more than just a garden and is utilised as an outdoor living space like the photo of our Rosie 8-seater Set (below).
The advantage of a larger plot is that journey can be more complex, incorporate multiple focal points, and be designed to incorporate several visual "pauses" where the eye can rest.
Some of the most effective large country garden design solutions feature snaking pathways that lead to different zones or hidden patios away from the main house that are perfect for a little quiet me time.
Garden layout has such a significant impact on the way you use your outdoor space, and the pathway(s) is critical to that. A good one should provide a journey that has bags of character and a few surprises like the customer garden above that features a beautiful summer room and seating area with our Mia Outdoor Table Set in White.
4. Add a water feature
A water feature is a perfect way to bring a little serenity to your large country plot. They bring that soothing sound of running water into your garden and they are a great way of creating contrast and softening the hard lines of the (necessary) hard architectural elements in your plot.
By incorporating them into your overall design scheme, you can create another interesting focal point and a part of the journey that’s the perfect spot for a little calm such as the customer photo of our Frances Outdoor Table (above) with its raised decking, modern pools, walkways and bridges.
Even a small water feature such as the patio waterfall above next to our Mia 4-Seater Garden Table can add dramatic interest and a little ambience while you enjoy a bite to eat or a few drinks.
5. Create a central focal point
In both this article and our small city garden post, we’ve repeated the importance of both the journey and having a strong focal point or points.
In a larger country plot, the temptation is to often push everything to the edges and have a large lawn, which for us is not always the best solution. It can actually make the space feel smaller as the eye is drawn straight to the edges.
By placing interesting design elements centrally, and linking different parts of the garden with pathways, you not only create a more usable space but the eye is taken on that interesting journey with stop-off points (those aforementioned pauses) in which you can take in the space (such as the raised patio finished with our Mia Table in Slate above).
When you have a large country plot you have the space to add contrast, introduce different zones for different moods or activities, and to add that all-important drama to get your vast plot looking and feeling tip-top (as shown above with the almost secret garden feel of the patio with our Alice Table).
If you’ve got any photos of your large country plot with our outdoor furniture in it, then we’d love to see them for our Do Some Good charity campaign. Maybe your garden will be featured in our next article? Just tag us @LazySusanFurniture on Instagram or Facebook or email them to us at [email protected].