Find out how to make your large garden into a beautiful, practical space to enjoy all year round with this useful guide.
Having a large garden can either be a blessing or a curse. Perfectly manicured and laid out well, it can be an incredible asset. There are places to relax, for the kids to play, to entertain outside, to play games, to enjoy gardening. It is an incredible addition to the home. However, without proper planning, and once plants get overgrown and the garden clutter gets too much, it can be a real nightmare. It becomes a big space you get nothing from but you have to give a lot of effort to.
In this guide, we’re going to give you some handy tips to help you get your large garden how you want it to be. It can be hard to know where to start. But after this guide, we hope you feel inspired and motivated to get out there and cultivate the kind of garden you can really love:
Often, the first step to getting a blank canvas is to clear your garden. Large gardens that have not been tended to can hold a lot of secrets and a lot of hidden mess. So often it is a case of working your way through slowly and carefully. Once the garden is clear, you will know exactly what you’re working with.
Follow these steps to get your garden clear:
If you own an exceptionally large garden and it is overgrown it is worth checking the boundaries before you start clearing it. It is so easy to start accidentally chopping into next doors shrubs and bushes. Or even clearing what is actually their land easily when you aren’t sure of the boundaries.
You might be healthy and fit enough to clear the garden on your own. But it may be that you need help. With old trees and large bushes it is worth consulting a qualified tree surgeon for advice and help with getting them safe.
Working from the outside in works really well when you’re taking away vegetation. You are able to work plant by plant, shrub by shrub. Just be careful not to accidentally rip away established plants you may want to keep. Keep a lookout for existing plant beds and areas where there may be hidden gems underneath. In a large garden, it isn’t unheard of to find Victorian walled gardens, gorgeous little features and rare plants. Slowly edge your way in and cut things back before removing them completely.
You may have plant types hidden away that are invasive, like Japanese knotweed. If you find a plant you suspect is problematic, seek professional advice straight away. Japanese knotweed in particular has to be specially removed. You can’t just throw it in a skip.
You will want to get rid of large stones, rubble, plant pots and other debris that is littering the garden. Do look closely at the different items though as some could hold clues to your property. Bricks may indicate a previous building. Or they may relate to a nearby wall. In some cases you might find things like traditional large tiles. Once cleaned up these could be repurposed for garden features.
The clearing process is extremely hard work. But it is absolutely worth it and so satisfying when it is completed. The trick is not to wait too long between clearing it and then moving on to the next stages of making it over. If you wait too long, especially in the spring and summer months, you will quickly have more work to do as plants quickly grow back.
Once the clearing process is over, you will need to get to know your garden well before you can start to make changes. You cannot plan the garden out without understanding fully what you’re working with. For example: you wouldn’t want to start a masterpiece with paint without knowing first, what colours you have to work with, and what type of paints and paper you’re working with.
Weed spots may not be apparent when you clear a garden as everything is overgrown. However, once it is cleared, in as little as a few days it will become apparent which areas have weed problems. You will want to deal with those problems straight away because they won’t go away on their own. Ideally, you will get rid of the weeds without the use of chemicals which could damage your soil and they really aren’t good for the environment anyway. There are natural weed killers you could try such as vinegar which prevents the plant taking in moisture. But this can take a lot of effort and isn’t always effective if there’s rain rinsing away the spray before it has been absorbed. Electrical weed killing has been proven to be very effective and it doesn’t harm the garden or environment at all. Although it is still quite specialist. You can also smother weeds with landscape fabric. It all depends which weeds you have and where they are. Your local gardener should be able to advise you on the best method of weed control.
Your soil is going to be the key to anything you try and grow, including a lovely lawn. Knowing the PH balance will tell you what it needs more of to balance it out and make it into a fertile ground for growth. It may also have deficiencies you need to know about, so you can add nutrients to it.
Your garden could be a complete blank canvas with soil only. Or it could already have a lawn and trees and gardens and allsorts going on. What you need to find out is what is already there. What plants do you already have and where are they? What type of trees do you have? Is there an established lawn? What condition is it in? Is there already an area for growing vegetables? Knowing exactly what you already have will help you with your plans for the garden.
A large garden space brings many possibilities. You can do whatever you want, depending on your budget and requirements. Here are some ideas to help you consider different additions to your garden:
Growing your own could be the perfect project for your garden. If you have enough land you could even build a polytunnel. Or grow larger plants like fruit trees. Or if you want to keep it easy, you could just have a small raised bed, or even a lovely glass greenhouse. A trendy vertical garden could even be your thing. There are endless possibilities for growing your own fruit and vegetables. Especially in a large garden.
If your garden is big enough, you could make a playground for your children that is more established than a temporary swing or trampoline. A proper Wendy house, a slide, swings and obstacle course could easily be added to the garden if you have the budget for it. This could be a fantastic way to add a children’s zone to your garden.
Yoga spaces or meditation spaces are popular in peaceful settings, and they are wonderful additions to a large garden if you practice yoga regularly. You could set up a beautiful porcelain tiled area, or a decked area, perhaps some overhead protection from the weather, and even an attractive lock box full of yoga bands, cushions, blankets and incense. This would be the part of your garden to add lots of colour to.
Water features don’t have to be grand fountains. They can be sheets of glass with running water, globes with water covering them, or even ornamental streams. You might even want your own pond if you love wildlife. One thing is for sure, the sound of running water is a very serene feature of any garden.
When it comes to the garden, there’s one feature most people would love and that is a seating area/ entertainment area. Somewhere to get the barbecue going and enjoy any warm weather that comes along during the summer months. This could be a large decked area, an area with floor tiles, or an outdoor kitchen. There are no limitations. Try to think about how you want to use the space, and how you want it to look. If you are a foodie, an outdoor kitchen with a pizza oven, smoker and barbecue could be incredible. Or, if you are more of a drinks connoisseur then perhaps an outdoor bar could be perfect for you. And if you love to get cosey and stay up talking long into the night, then comfy seating with a chimney or fire pit might be your thing.
Some people don’t want a large lawn because it isn’t going to be used. Other people would love a large lush lawn to take care of. And that is exactly what you need to think about, taking care of your lawn. Think about the height of spring and summer where you need to mow it every week or two. It really needs to be worth it to you to work that hard on its maintenance. There is always a plastic lawn if you want zero maintenance. But obviously this is an a high cost and isn’t exactly eco-friendly if that is what you are going for.
Meadow flowers can look absolutely stunning and a meadow space could be your own little piece of cultivated wilderness. They can take a bit of work to create. But once they are established you will reap the benefits of butterflies and bees galore.
A hot tub is much more of an accessible accessory than it used to be. They don’t cost as much as they used to and they aren’t as much to install. They do require a decent amount of thinking and space though. So do think through the placing carefully. A sunken hot tub could be a really luxurious addition to your garden, and even to your decking/ entertainment space.
Summer houses are beautiful looking additions to a garden and can be useful for doing things like art, writing or even as an additional work space. A pastel painted summerhouse in the corner of the garden can look absolutely stunning and creates a practical visual feature.
An orangery or conservatory is a modern addition to the home that is likely to increase its value. It isn’t exactly a garden addition but it does lead to the garden so it can certainly count as a part of your large garden renovation. With the right design, it enhances the garden and makes you more able to enjoy your garden with easy access and visibility.
With large gardens, unless you have a lot of experience in design, it is worth consulting a garden design expert for help putting your plans into action. When there are lots of elements that need pulling together, it can become easy to make a cluttered, impractical space that requires a lot of maintenance. The right experts and companies can help you turn your large garden dreams into a reality, without the worry of ruining what is a wonderful blank space.
A large garden can be an amazing addition to any property as long as it is well planned out. Do seek expert advice and do take your time. The more thought that goes into your outdoor space, the more likely you are to get a stunning, practical garden you can enjoy for a long time to come.