How to choose a garden style – 12 beautiful garden design ideas

How to pick the right garden style for your garden. Choose from the top 12 garden design ideas to find the one that’s right for your garden.

Establishing a garden style is the first step in creating a garden design.

And it’s also a good starting point if you want to give your garden a lift. It helps you narrow down choices in garden furniture, plants and ornaments. You’re much more likely to find things you’ll really enjoy.

You may already have a garden style without really being aware of it. If so, putting it into words will help you decide which direction you want to go with new planting and furniture. It can help make sure that a big investment, such as a shed or greenhouse, looks how you want it to look.

So here are 12 garden styles to inspire you.

I’ll go into more detail about each one further down this post.

  1. Cottage garden style
  2. Traditional garden style
  3. Formal garden style
  4. English Country Garden
  5. Reflecting the architecture of your house
  6. Outdoor room, also known as urban garden style
  7. Contemporary/modern garden style
  8. Mediterranean or ‘dry’ garden style
  9. Coastal garden
  10. Exotic or ‘tropical jungle’ garden
  11. Wildlife garden
  12. Japanese garden

Cottage garden style

Cottage garden is an easy, pretty, relaxed style. It’s all about  the plants and flowers that grow well in your area. It’s colourful and it’s great for small gardens.

Cottage garden style

This cottage garden belongs to Sue Oriel who grows flowers to sell in the rest of her garden. Her company, Country Lane Flowers takes orders and also sells from a roadside stall in Kent, ME13 9QR.

The key elements of cottage garden style is lots of flowers, often mixed with grow-your-own veg and a fruit tree. Add in somewhere to sit, read or work. Garden furniture in a cottage garden doesn’t need to match. And there isn’t a particular style of chair, table or bench. It’s just whatever you’ve managed to acquire.

As cottage gardens are often small, they have no lawn, just paths, a courtyard and lots of flowers. But it’s a style that refuses to obey rules. So you can have lots of what you love in your garden.

There’s more about cottage garden style and how to achieve it here.

Traditional gardens

Traditional and formal gardens aren’t quite the same, but they’re both structured. Even if they are small or middle-sized, they’re usually divided into ‘garden rooms’ with hedges, walls or trellis, each with its own style or function. The practical parts of the garden – for example, veg growing – will be separate from flower growing.

Traditional gardens will have a lawn, a herbaceous border or borders. They are filled with perennials and annuals, with plants planted in three, fives and sevens, or in swathes. Colour schemes and plant combinations are often quite carefully planned.

They’ll also have trees, shrubs, paths, terraces, a focal point – such as sculpture or a sundial – plus sheds or a greenhouse. I particularly liked the traditional garden at the Bath Priory Hotel when I visited in the autumn.

The Middlesized Garden

I would describe the Middlesized Garden as a ‘traditional garden’ because it has a formal parterre near the house, an open lawn at the back and a separate veg growing area out of sight of the house.

You could argue that ‘traditional garden’ isn’t a garden style, because it overlaps with ‘formal garden’ and ‘English country garden.’


The post How to choose a garden style – 12 beautiful garden design ideas appeared first on The Middle-Sized Garden.

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5 thoughts on “How to choose a garden style – 12 beautiful garden design ideas

  • February 11, 2021 at 8:27 pm

    Hi Dave,
    Wanted to follow you back but for some reason the system isn’t letting me. Your website is awesome and we just love gardening! Will figure out to follow soon! Best wishes goinroadtrippin

  • February 12, 2021 at 1:02 am

    Interesting post. I bought a house 4 years ago, and immediately started changing the garden – it just made no sense, the way it was. But it is taking forever to get where I want to be – a lot of trial and error is happening here! It is mainly cottage garden style, to go with the house, and because it is my favourite style. Hopefully I’ll get there sometime soon. 🙂


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