My garden layout is currently very straightforward – a square-ish lawn of about 90 square metres surrounded by borders with a path straight up the middle. This is fine as far as it goes, but doesn’t help disguise the fact that the garden is fairly modest in size, nor does it help me find places to plant the results of my twin obessions of propagation and bargain hunting. With all that in mind, I am toying seriously with the idea to radically change the layout.


The straight path has the effect of forshortening the garden, making it seems even smaller than it already is. So, the new design should incorporate a path, but not a straight one. I have another annoyance to deal with, the access to the side alley does not have a good path from the garden which results in heavily worn grass at the entrance to the garden. The path will come from there and curve sinuously through the garden until reaching the arch through to the working area at the back. For most of its length the path will be surrounded on both sides with borders. A curved path will make the garden feel bigger, as well as turning the path into a destination in its own right, not just a means of conveyance to the bike shed or the veg plot. In the back of my mind I am a little afraid that will become annoying, taking anything other than a direct route, but am hoping that the more circuitous route will encourage taking in more of the garden as one perambulates.

To add to this effect, I have half an idea to incorporate a pergola style arch along the length of at least some of new path length. I could have climbing roses, clematis or other climbing plants adding some vertical interest in the centre of the garden which would have the effect of partly concealing other parts of the garden, to be revealed as progress is made along the path, again contributing to the effect of making the garden appear more voluminous than it truly is.

We have a decent sized patio with some seating, but no seating area in the garden itself, among the plants. I don’t want a huge table, just a small bistro style table and a couple of chairs to allow Mrs P and I to partake of a cuppa or a cheeky G&T of a summer evening, surrounded by flowers and buzzy bees. I am aiming for that to be somewhat enclosed by planting so it feels like a separate ‘room’ in the garden.

Despite having paid good money just a few years ago to have the lawn laid, I now think I’d prefer to have more planting space, so a good portion of it will come up. I plan to greatly expand the planting area available on the sunnier side of the garden, doubling or maybe even trebling the border space on the left of the path. In fact it is such an expanse, I think I will need to provide some access points or paths so I can get to the back of the border space. I may add a bench to provide some respite from the pottering. Some of what is now lawn on the right side of the new path will also come up, partly to create more planting space and interest along the path, but also to remove awkward acute angles from the lawn which are a devil to mow.

For the next few years I will need to accommodate the climbing frame, and no doubt we will never be rid of the washing line, so those will live on the remains of the lawn on the shadier right side of the garden.

That’s the plan as it stands right now, I have to give it some more thought before breaking ground. I will check the line of the path using hosepipes – I’ll get some sense of the optimum curve from the upstairs bedroom windows. If I do go with this layout or something like it, I will have to start thinking through the accompanying planting plans for the new border real estate. More on this later!

I should say now that (if not already abundantly clear!) this is all the ramblings of a rank amateur with a bit of reading behind me. Perhaps you have taken on a similar transformation, or maybe you do this for a living. Let me know in the comments if you have any thoughts or words of advice to share!

I’ll be back in the spring with an update on the final plan and the start of the necessary works.