Following on from my previous post, which if you missed you can find here.

As mentioned previously I used to be an interior designer before I moved into designing outdoor spaces, so I wanted to share with you a few more tips on how to approach your garden, using some interior styling tricks.


Many years ago, I attended an interior design course by Abigail Ahern who talked a lot about drawing the eye upward, to create more drama and greater feeling of space in interiors.

I talk about it a lot with my clients too, so many gardens lack visual interest at eye level. Everything is at ground level; patio, planting, and lawn with the only element of height being the fencing and possibly a shed, which is just too dull! Adding features like pergolas and planting at various heights will draw the eye upwards.

Broken Plan

There’s much talk about broken plan in interior design these days, using semi-barriers like kitchen islands rather than walls, to keep the spaciousness of an open-plan layout but with some delineation and separation.

If your garden is large enough think of it as rooms not just one space. Ideally someone traveling through your garden shouldn’t see what’s at the end. Upon entering your garden it should become a journey into the unknown, but with hints of what’s ahead. Surprisingly, this creates a feeling of space, making your garden appear larger not smaller as you draw someone’s eye forward through the space. What’s more lovely than turning a corner to find a seat by a water feature.


As with interiors, lighting is often an overlooked part of designing a garden, but it’s essential if you want to create a space you can use after dark. And just like indoors various types of lighting create different kinds of moods. Go for task lighting for pathways and eating areas, as well as softer relaxed festoon lighting for entertaining and softly up-light features like specimen trees. Also consider lanterns and candles which give off only low-levels of light but create a lovely cosy atmosphere.

LED Garden Lighting

However, make sure you aren’t using too much unnecessary lighting, have lights on different zoning circuits so you can switch of what isn’t required and remember to always turn them off when not in use. Also, amber and green coloured lights are the least disruptive to wildlife. I wrote a blog about lighting your garden which you can find here.


Planting should tie-in with the style you’ve already decided on, see my previous post here.

Are you a fan of classic clean lines, a boho mix, cottagey shabby chic, bold and colourful? Your style type should also be referenced in your planting design.

There’s a great book by Piet Oudolf and Henk Gerriysen called ‘Planting The Natural Garden’ which gives ideas on palettes of plants based on the style and feeling they create. Definitely a great reference guide, if you wish to design the planting yourself.. I’m very much a fan of the bold and bright myself.

And finally the Colour Wheel

The colour wheel is a useful tool in interior design which can also be applied to a planting scheme design to help develop a pleasing garden palette. However, in the case of this image taken in @cambo_gardens, some local school children designed the planting and let the whole paintbox explode!

One way to combine colours in the garden is to choose complementary colours. That means selecting plants in colours that are across from one another on the colour wheel. For example, red is across from green, orange is across from blue, and, as in this bright array, yellow is across from purple.

Colour Wheel