10 Ways to Create Dramatic Garden Design

Relaxing in a Thai styled living area, rural villa

Dramatic garden design in outdoor spaces can add instant charm to a home. Boring outdoor spaces can become an obstacle to enjoying the outdoors. Homeowners with smaller urban landscapes will need to think creatively to do more with less space. But, the good news is even small spaces can still be dramatic, inviting and loaded with charm.

Here are several budget-friendly ideas to make your outdoor spaces lush and beautiful with a little bit of time and money.

1. Use every inch of space

Turn an existing deck into a conversation area with intimate seating, a table and a rug. A shady spot will help encourage family and friends to stay and talk longer.

Consider lighting for evening dining and entertainment. Low voltage systems and there are many are inexpensive and easy to install by the homeowner. Most home centers will have installers available if this is beyond your skill level.

2. Double up on garden functions

Add planter boxes with built-in seating. This makes a great way to increase entertainment capacity in smaller yards.

Faun--26336Fountains or water features with seating are another opportunity for multi-function spaces in the garden. Even a small birdbath can provide a soothing sound and promote visits from the local birds.

3. Add layers to the garden 

Pathway-26306A serpentine path combined with a shade structure and soft greens can make a garden a soothing escape.

Shade becomes increasingly important during hot summer months. Plan on a shade area for picnics, entertaining, or a spot to retreat from the sun. This can create your own garden getaway.

Adding a sculpture or a piece of garden art is another way to add drama and local interest. If adding several pieces of art be certain to vary the size, of the art pieces, so they won’t compete with each other for primary attention.

4. Maximize or minimize garden views

If you are fortunate enough to have a neighbor with great landscaping; flowering gardens or rolling hillsides, make the most of these borrowed views. Don’t hide them. Add landscape elements to bring them together with your yard.

But, if the opposite is what you’ve got, like “shanty town” behind my house, it’s best to disguise the view. A good solution to this is adding a wood trellis combined with flowering plants or vines. Vines are incredibly fast growing and Garden art-26255can block out most annoying views in a season or two.

5. Highlight interesting objects

Containers and interesting plants can create garden interest, as can fountains and art. Granite boulders placed between small-scale ground covers is yet another way to highlight differentiate garden areas.

6. Use transitions to define spaces

Steps-26326Steps and terraced decks can be used to define garden areas. A simple walkway or serpentine path with stairs can create an aura of mystery. Use stairs and paths to set off public areas from private areas. Or, hide utility areas within the garden.

7. Choose colors that pop!

Colorful accents from flowers can provide garden POP. Choose flowers that bloom throughout each season. Talk to the local nursery botanist to explore which varieties are best to plant for each season in your area.Colors that pop 150

8. Repeat elements to create garden rhythm

Use plants and hardscape elements to create walkways and define spaces in the garden. There are many materials that you may want to choose. Bricks, pavers, cast stepping-stones, crushed granite, tile and crushed bark are just a few of the options available.

Use of objects such as furniture and containers can also help. Look for interesting objects at yard sales. Wheelbarrow, old galvanized milk cans or other antiques can frequently be acquired very cheaply.

9. Repurpose unused spaces Trellis-26260

Side yards and narrow walkways are frequently forgotten areas around the house. Repurpose them and gain extra space for planting, café seating or move other yard functions to those areas and open up the front and back yards.

10. Strengthen the connection between indoors and outdoors

Look for opportunities to connect the inside and outside spaces. A family room or library that opens up to a patio is an opportunity to connect both and create a larger perceived area. Connect them together by suing the same color palette, fabrics or materials.

Think creatively and make every garden space dramatic and inviting.

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