Medium-sized gardens have to be carefully thought through. Trying to add too much to a garden can negatively affect the overall look. We take you through this process and how best your garden can be designed around those needs.

How a garden stands the test of time is just as important as how the garden looks. Our 22 years’ experience will make this process effortless.

With any garden, it’s important to consider not only how it looks during the day but also how it looks at night. A well-designed lighting display can provide gentle illumination, enhancing the enjoyment of a summer’s evening or brightening up even the darkest of January nights.

Our 3D garden design process enables you to see the garden in virtual reality, and we draw up multiple designs so you aren’t left wondering whether there might be another design you like more.

THE EVENING ENTERTAINMENT GARDEN

When a garden design brief is to house a large dining area, a water feature, a large lawn area and lush planting in a modern style, the patio has to be designed close to the house so the main vista is the planting, allowing you to sit looking out onto the garden. Here, the water feature runs along the perimeter of the paving, acting as a frame and connecting the paving to the garden.

We added feature lights a few metres apart. We didn’t want to light large areas; instead, we picked out specific plants to light for a more subtle effect.

The type of paving is critical. The colour must be neutral so it doesn’t grab your attention, and it needs to sit within the garden instead of standing out. We chose a porcelain stone to keep maintenance to a minimum as it is more stain-resistant.

THE WHITE GARDEN

Level changes work well when they separate the main garden and the seating area. They also act as a perch for guests to relax on at big gatherings.

We had to make a feature of the lawn and we couldn’t rely on the planting being the main feature as the brief was to have a low-maintenance garden with as few plants as possible.

With the paving lower than the main garden, it was important to make the area feel bigger than it is, hence going for a bright stone that reflects light, making the space feel open and inviting. Plants within the patio were key to hiding the tall wall and making it feel less imposing.

THE FORMAL GARDEN

When you use the best quality stone available, you don’t have to do too much with the rest of the garden as the paving acts as a strong main feature.

This garden is in central London, where green space is very hard to come by, so opening the garden up and creating a wide-open space was an attractive option. Furthermore, its maintenance requirements are very low.

The garden is lower than the house, resulting in a great vista from the platform. In order to not block that vista, we used glass balustrades. The modern look of the glass complements the modern stone and contemporary layout.

THE TRANQUIL WALKWAY

Contemporary herbaceous gardens are inspirational with so much life and colour. The brief was to avoid having a border that was garish, which is why we placed the flowers sympathetically in between Ferns and Hostas. It shows that you don’t need a huge variety of plants and that repeating the planting throughout the garden can create a clean and inviting finish. The choice of flower colour was especially important here; we didn’t want the flowers to overpower the garden.

This garden is north-facing, meaning we had fewer plants to choose from. Nonetheless, it shows that even shady gardens can be colourful.

The balls planted on the corner of the pathway give the garden some much-needed structure, which with such a feathery style border, is definitely needed. 

THE FORMED GARDEN

This client wanted lots of blocks of green and a garden that is mostly evergreen. Using different layers of greens adds more interest. For example, using the darker tone of a yellow.

Yew hedge next to an Ilex creates that contrast. Aesthetically, this garden only needed a small seating area, allowing us to include more vegetation.

All gardens rely heavily on the surrounding landscape. Fortunately, we had a nice array of neighbouring plants to complement the design. Had this not been the case, we would have had to design the planting differently.

We installed a small, delicate water feature in the middle of the border. It’s a good example of how it’s nice to see features as you explore the garden instead of everything being seen from the house.

THE TERRACED GARDEN

We love the chance to work on rectilinear gardens. There are a lot of these gardens in London, especially around Wimbledon and Chelsea. They tend to be a hand-me-down from the Victorians and their preoccupation with structure. Crucially, hard landscaping elements help to frame the design and provide a more structured effect. Without this structure, the garden would feel bland and lacklustre.

In this garden design, after a lot of thought, we went for a 60:40 ratio of hard to soft landscaping elements. Were it otherwise, the large seating area would make the whole design seem top-heavy.

Fortunately, only a small seating area was required, which we placed at the back left and on the lower section. We used glass balustrading so as not to break the line of sight. The planting is simple as its role is to minimise the weight of hard landscaping.

THE COUNTRY GARDEN

Garden buildings can look absolutely fantastic if they are designed to complement the garden. Thanks to the functional features and complementary colours and textures, this space imparts a warm and homely feel to an inviting social area for spending time with friends and family.

The logs here aren’t actually intended for any practical use; they’re included because they add texture and visual interest. Similarly, the textural plants to their right were deliberately chosen to make the logs feel more solid by comparison.

There are a number of items within a small space: a fireplace, pathway, seating area and pergola. For continuity, the texture of each material was especially important, which is why we chose hardwood for the floor and pergola roof, natural stone for the fireplace and granite paving.

THE SUNKEN SEATING AREA

This is another medium-sized garden design that prioritises hard landscaping to provide a space to entertain. The type of decking is especially important. Composite decking would have felt too pre-fab and softwood would have been slippery with a short life span, which left hardwood with its unique life span and great look.

The angular geometry directs the gaze to the numerous corners as focal points. However, the gaze doesn’t stay there long. The styling is intentionally sparse to encourage movement around the space.

A floating bench like this one should be considered for any moderately sized seating area as it not only saves space but also makes the garden look bigger due to its delicacy.

THE LUSH EDWARDIAN GARDEN

With its profusion of beautiful colour and life, this medium-sized garden looks absolutely amazing, but it also looks like it needs a lot of upkeep. So, you might be surprised to learn that many of the plants actually take care of themselves.

The brief was to create a cottage-like garden contained within a frame. A box hedge is great for creating structure and hiding the lower stems of the plants behind it.

The right selection of lush evergreens, grasses and perennials can provide year-round visual interest without you so much as lifting a finger. And a smart watering system can take care of the rest of the work, which leaves the garden to be simply enjoyed.

THE DECKED GARDEN

The use of wood in a medium-sized garden design creates a wonderful contrast to the harshness of the city. We think wood is also a softer, more soothing option than stone paving and blockwork. Not only does it look more alive, with its natural fibres and grain, but it also feels different to walk on, which adds a different dimension.

As shown here, wood can be dark in colour. But this only makes the greens look more alive. And you can offset the darkness with bright styling choices of your own.
Our brief was to keep planting to a minimum and create a garden that didn’t feel like it was in the heart of London. When you use such a natural product, you really don’t need to use as many plants.

THE MODERN AREA

You’ve heard of bringing the outdoors in, right? Well, here, we brought the indoors out. This modern garden design prioritises hard landscaping with the impression of rooms in a house. We attained this look using a piece of modern art that draws people into the space.

Our planting choices are deliberately feathery, as well as subtly coloured, so as not to detract from the design. We like to help pick the furniture, and in this design, we chose a wicker seat that added to the homely look.

Raised walls provide perch seating for when there are more guests. They are a great way to provide lots of seating without needing a large table and lots of chairs.

THE JAPANESE GARDEN DESIGN

A medium-sized garden can be a great blank canvas to work with. We were asked to design a beautiful Japanese garden with plenty for the eye to take in. The garden’s main vista is offset to overwhelm you with the striking circular feature. This serves to concentrate the gaze. It’s a way the garden controls where you look, therefore controlling that visual journey.

Stepping stones take you from left to right, creating that triangulation that is the basis for many designs.

Needless to say, Japanese-style gardens like this tend to involve more maintenance than other styles. The gravel garden alone could get messy without a Zen monk to rake it. We made sure the client invested in a leaf blower to quickly take care of any fallen debris.

THE GRASS GARDEN

When you’ve already got plenty of room, there’s no need for the illusion of space. Instead, we recommend avoiding clutter.

In this garden design, to keep things simple and elegant, we went for a wonderful white slatted dividing fence. The slats draw your attention as they look sleek, creating a feature of the perimeter. With their stylish appearance, there’s no need to hide them, so less planting is required than would be needed with a fence.

A large mirrored water feature reflects light. In a garden as bold as this, an even bolder feature is needed. Raised borders wrap themselves around the decking, and a coping stone provides ample seating for up to 20 guests without needlessly taking up precious space with chairs.

The feathery planting choices are both modern and minimalist, complementing the uncluttered colour scheme. The more structured a garden, the more feathery the plants should be.

THE ORIENTAL GARDEN

In London, gardens can be in the most unique places. This garden in the middle of Richmond was a walkway to the house and the client’s only garden, meaning we had to make the most of the space. A lawn was a must to soften the approach to the house.

We used paving not only as a pathway but also to create a feature of the lawn. In a small space, the sound of water can not only drown the surrounding traffic but also makes the space feel more relaxed, making for a great welcome home. 

We planted hedges on both sides to provide privacy from neighbours. No garden would be complete without some delicate planting, which is why a grass-like plant gently cascades over the water feature.

THE SMALL COUNTRY GARDEN

Here’s another of our designs that visually opens up a long, narrow garden. The paving stones are called eye breakers. They prevent the eye from taking in the garden at a glance, which would ultimately make it seem smaller.

We wanted to encourage the eye to travel laterally rather than up and down the garden. The paving stones turn what would be a relatively simplistic pathway into something more modern.

When space is at a minimum, grasses can stop the garden from feeling too narrow as it’s possible to see through grasses, whereas shrubs would block that line of sight. We used gravel for two reasons: to keep costs down and to create a softer feel.