The selection of a theme is essential to provide unity when arriving at your garden design ideas.

Creating a theme for your garden is easier if you have an interest in the theme you are developing. This can be as simple as a colour or a shape, or as complex as optimising the biodiversity within the garden. Your theme can also be the style of garden you wish to have. Once a theme has been selected the design must stay true to that theme. In larger gardens the different activity spaces may reflect a different style, but they should all remain related to the one theme. You should not attempt to change styles in a smaller garden.

Tip: If you are having difficulty picking a theme for your garden there is a simple technique to help you: Write ten things/themes you really don’t want the garden to be, then write ten things/themes you want the garden to be. Circle the top three things that you definitely want the garden to be. Taking these three things as a starting point, write one hundred words on each, describing for yourself how it will all look when it is finished, what colours will you use, what will be screened from view, where will your seating areas be – how will it feel to be in the space when it is completed? This will make it easier for you to visualise the finished garden and will allow you to choose which of the three you really want.

There are many garden design styles to choose from. Style is determined largely by personal preference. Consideration of the needs and wants of the end user – That’s you! – should be taken into account when selecting the theme and style of the design.  The style is also determined in part by place, climate and local architecture.

Some garden styles, which I have dealt with here, are as follows:

  • Formal Style Garden – Usually geometrically balanced and proportionate 
  • Informal Garden – Based on the ideals of nature
  • Modern Garden- Simplicity of line and a sculptural quality
  • Oriental Gardens – based on ancient and complex thought processes
  • Country Garden – Functional and attractive
  • Colonial Garden – Homely, neat and tidy.
  • Mediterranean Garden – For lounging in the sun