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5 Tips for Drawing a Killer Garden Plan, Even if You’re Not a Designer

5 Tips for Drawing a Killer Garden Plan, Even if You’re Not a Designer

Most homeowners are on the hunt for the “best app” to use to design their garden, instead of hand-drawing their own plan. 

The trouble is… you don’t know what you don’t know.

The truth is… apps are NOT the answer.

I know, I know. You’re not Picasso. You’re embarrassed by your own stick figures. You can’t visualize a garden out of a blank page.

But luckily, you’ve got me to guide you.

It’s time to ditch the “can’t do” attitude and useless apps. They’re holding you back from getting your dream garden.

By the end of this post, you’ll be able to draw your own killer garden plan that’s unique to YOUR garden and YOUR style.

Let’s get started!

Watch this video to learn how to draw a garden plan (or keep reading for the step-by-step instructions).

1- Get To Know Your Space

Before we hit the drawing board, we need to hit the garden! A garden plan drawing without a garden to put it in is… a drawing.

So, first, measure the area where your garden bed will be.

Make a note of:

  • The dimensions of your garden bed (length and depth).
    • What shape is your garden bed?
    • Is it symmetrical or asymmetrical?
  • Anything you shouldn’t block with plants (like windows, doorways, utility access). 
    • Measure the dimensions of each object.
    • Measure how high above your garden bed they are.

Once you have these details, you’ll be able to see potential problem areas before you even start drawing.

Sometimes, if there’s a low window or a utility area to deal with, it forces you to create an asymmetrical design. It’s better to know these things before you get started. They’re more difficult to correct after the fact.

Measurements of garden bed in plan and elevation view.
Here are measurements of a raised garden bed in both plan view (top left) and elevation view (bottom right). If I were to only see the plan view drawing, I wouldn’t have noticed that the windows are only 24″ from the soil level. Now that I know this, I can design in a way that won’t obstruct views from the window. Illustrations by Pretty Purple Door.

I know this measuring step feels kind of boring. But it’s absolutely essential to create an accurate garden plan. You will never see a professional designer skip this step… no matter how dull it may feel.

Just remember that if the design you create on paper doesn’t fit, blocks views or obstructs utilities, it fails.

“If your design works on paper it will work in real life.”

-Amy Fedele, PrettyPurpleDoor

Once you have your measurements, it will be very easy for you to plot out the garden space.

Bonus Tip: While you’re measuring, snap some photos of the garden bed. Make sure you take pictures from different angles. And, definitely take one from straight on (standing right in front of your garden bed area). More on this in the next section.

2- Pick a View

Now that you have your measurements, you’ll need to choose a view to draw from. There are a few different views to choose from. The key here is to choose the view that will make it easiest for you to visualize your garden space.

3 Drawings of Same Cape Cod Style House - in Plan View, Elevation View and Perspective
Garden plans can be drawn from above (plan view), from directly in front (elevation view, or 1 point perspective) and in 3D (2 point perspective view). Illustrations by PrettyPurpleDoor.
  • Is it easier to visualize your garden from above?
    This is called plan view. In plan view, you’ll view garden plants as a series of circles and other shapes. This is a view I typically use later in the process, when I’m choosing plants.
  • Is it easier to visualize your garden from directly in front of it?
    This is called elevation view. This is a flat, 2-dimensional (2D) view sometimes referred to as 1-point perspective. It allows you to see what your garden would look like while standing right in front of it.
  • Is it easier to visualize your garden with depth in the space?
    This is called perspective view. This is the most detailed view you can use as it’s a 3-dimensional (3D) view. This is sometimes referred to as 2-point perspective. Drawing what your garden will “actually” look like in 3D can sometimes be very confusing, especially if you’re a beginner.

For the purposes of this post, we’re going to use elevation view for our garden plan drawings. 

A 2D elevation drawing gives you the best of both worlds.

You’re able to visualize what the garden will “actually” look like, without the added complexity of drawing in three dimensions.  

3- Use the Right Tools

Before we get to drawing, let’s make sure that you have the right tools available to you. 

Ditch the Apps

First, ditch the idea that an app or a drawing program is going to help you to visualize your garden plan. It’s way easier to do this by hand, especially if all you need is a simple drawing.

Here are some reasons that I generally don’t recommend using landscape design apps.

  • Apps are very limited, especially free versions. You’ll find yourself trying to design a space but won’t have the right plant shapes or sizes to you.
  • Apps can give you a false sense of reality. When you’re using an app, it’s easy to squish and squeeze to make your plants fit together. This isn’t what happens in real life. So, while you can squish an 8 foot rounded shrub into a 4 foot pyramidal shaped shrub in an app, this won’t translate to reality.
  • Apps are a time suck. As if drawing a garden plan isn’t challenging enough, you’re also adding the extra complexity of having to learn a new computer program. This can be a total time suck. Hours can go by and you’ll still be trying to find the “perfect plants” to place in your landscape. Which leads me to my next point…
  • The plants won’t be suited for your conditions. Especially when using a free version, you’ll have a very limited choice of plants. And, depending on where you live, the plants you’re choosing may not even grow in your geographical area. To top it off, they may be suited for conditions that you don’t have.
  • Apps only show a moment in time. Because of the nature of drawing a garden plan, any app that you use will only show your garden at one point in time. So, all of your shrubs will look like they are flowering in the photo. But, what do these plants look like in spring, summer, fall and winter? If you are choosing plants that bloom in different seasons (which you should be), you’re going to get a false sense of what your garden will actually look like from any design in an app.

Now that you know why you shouldn’t use an app, let’s talk about what you should be using instead.

Tracing Paper Over a Photo

Printed photo of house with tracing paper over top
Tracing paper over a photo is my preferred method for brainstorming garden bed layout ideas.

Using tracing paper over an actual photo of your space is a great way to get started drawing a killer garden plan. When drawing in elevation view, you’ll want to choose the photo you took in step 1 that’s a straight on view of your garden bed. This view will make it easiest to draw your plan.

So, print out the photo you snapped earlier. Then, use tracing paper over the photo to draw out different garden plans. I love using tracing paper because it gives you the freedom to explore many different ideas quickly. 

Here are some tracing paper options you can try:

  • Strathmore Tracing paper pad 50-count (Buy on Amazon). This is a nice, convenient way to purchase your tracing paper. It comes in a pad with sheets you can tear out.
  • Canson Tracing paper roll 12”x50yds (Buy on Amazon). My instructors have always encouraged me to purchase rolls of tracing paper that can be torn off quickly. Sometimes, using a pad can make you more conservative when using the tracing paper and a roll of paper can be more freeing for the creative process.

Draw out your shapes on the tracing paper over your photo. Then grab another piece of paper and try again. I’ve always found that this iterative process works best for coming up with new ideas. Sometimes, my best drawings are 5 or even 10 versions in. So, always keep drawing and trying to think of new ideas.

Bonus Tip: If you’re having trouble seeing your photo through the tracing paper, turning the photo into a “cartoon” or line drawing using a phone app can help. Or, print out your photo and darken the major lines of your photo with a sharpie so they are easier to see through the trace paper.

Tracing Paper Over Graph Paper

Tracing paper over a hand drawn garden plan on graph paper
If you don’t have a photo, using tracing paper over a garden bed plotted on graph paper is another way to sketch ideas.

If you don’t want to or can’t work from an actual photo, you can also draw out your space on graph paper using the measurements you took in step 1. I like to use one block on the graph paper for 1 foot of garden space. Or, whatever ratio works best for you.

Once you’re finished with your base sketch, it’s a good idea to “ink in” your pencil lines with a pen. It will help you to see the drawing more clearly through the tracing paper. It can also make your drawing feel more official. 

Make sure you don’t draw on this “finalized” copy from now on. Make photocopy of your official base plan and draw your garden plan ideas directly onto the copies. Or, put tracing paper over the finalized base plan to iterate your ideas quickly. 

Plant Form Cutouts

If you are totally not into drawing your garden plan by hand, don’t worry, I have another solution for you. Grab my free printable plant form guide and you can use my drawings.

How to Use Printable - 4 Steps

Just print out a photo of your garden bed, then cut out the plant form shapes and move them around on the page. It’s a really fun way to experiment with different garden bed layouts.

Colored Pencils or Markers

Holding a marker to color in the final garden drawing sketch
Use colored pencils or markers to color in your drawing. I love the alcohol markers by Prismacolor. Illustration by Pretty Purple Door.

Lastly, you’ll want to have some colored pencils or markers available so you can add color to your drawing. Adding color to your drawings can really help you to visualize the space. 

Many landscape designers use alcohol markers by Prismacolor or Copic to color in their drawings. Some designers even use watercolor paints to color in their drawings. 

But, you don’t need to get that fancy. A simple set of colored pencils, markers or even crayons will be fine. I’d recommend using what you have on hand. But, if you’re looking to buy a new set or pencils or markers, here are some I’d recommend.

  • Prismacolor colored pencils, 36-count (Buy on Amazon)
  • Windsor & Newton promarkers, 12-count (Buy on Amazon). This is a nice simple set with many of the colors you’ll need for drawing landscapes.
  • Prismacolor markers, 24-count (Buy on Amazon). You can also buy these markers individually online or in a hobby store. Sometimes this can be a more cost-effective option to get the colors you really need for garden plants.
  • MeiLiang Watercolor paint set, 36-count (Buy on Amazon). I also have this watercolor set and I really like how vibrant the colors are.

4- Draw Simple Shapes & Forms

We are finally at the drawing step! I hope you’re as excited as I am to get started! The easiest way I’ve learned to draw plants is to keep it simple.

Hand Drawn Plant Forms
All plants can be reduced to a simple form, such as mounding, rounded, vase-shaped, horizontal, spikey, weeping, oval, pyramidal and more. Illustration by PrettyPurpleDoor.

Every plant has a basic form or shape. Some common shapes and forms are: 

  • Mounding
  • Rounded
  • Vase-Shaped
  • Horizontal or Spreading
  • Spikey
  • Weeping
  • Oval
  • Pyramidal (& more)

What’s great about using simple forms is that you don’t have to be a professional artist to draw them!

I like to draw very messy in the beginning. If I like the drawing, I’ll use another piece of tracing paper to refine my basic plant forms even further. I continue to do this until I’m happy with the final drawing.

3 Garden Drawing Sketches on tracing paper from messy to refined to detailed.
Phases of my garden drawings using tracing paper over a printed photo. Illustration by Pretty Purple Door.

Remember that it doesn’t matter how “fancy” your drawing looks. As long as it’s clear and easy to understand, you are on the right track.

Garden Bed Sketch over Graph Paper
Here’s another example, where I’ve sketched basic plant forms on tracing paper placed over my graph paper. Notice how I tried to use different plant forms to keep the design interesting? I started to add the names of plants I think would work in this design… but if you’re not sure what plants to use yet, that’s totally fine, too. I’ll show you how to do this in Step 5. Illustration by Pretty Purple Door.

Just in case you’re dreading this “sketching” part, I’ve put together a free printable plant form worksheet that you can use. I’ve drawn all the plant forms for you and provide you with a variety of different sizes to choose from. 

All you have to do is print out the plant forms and color them in to suit your needs. You can cut around each of the plant forms and rearrange them to see how they will look against the photo you took in step 1. How easy and fun is that?

Cut out plant form shapes scattered across the top of a printed house photo
Here, all of my plant forms are cut out and I’m ready to start having fun arranging the different plants along the foundation. Grab the free printable here.

Whether you’re drawing out your simple forms by hand or using the free download, here are some tips to make sure that you’re on the right track:

  • Even flowers can have a unique form and structure that adds interest to a design. Like alliums, for example.
  • Using a variety of plant forms creates interest. 
  • Repeat the same plant forms to create unity in your design. 
  • Focus on the basic forms that fit into your surroundings, rather than specific plants.
Garden Drawing with arrow pointing to allium flowers
Plant forms aren’t just for shrubs and perennials. Even flowers can have a unique form and structure, like these alliums in the drawing. Illustration by Pretty Purple Door.

Still Stuck? Try using the Blocking Method. Below is a short video for how this method works.

Here’s a quick overview of the blocking method. You can read more about it here.

5- Pick Your Plants Last

Have you noticed that throughout the entire process of drawing a killer garden plan, we haven’t even thought much about plants? 

So strange, isn’t it? 

But, choosing the right plants for your garden space, while it’s important, it’s usually one of the last steps. Design and planning always comes first. 

Although I’m drawing simple shapes and forms in my plans, I often have some idea of what plants I want to use in a given design. But, I don’t force plants into my designs, if that makes sense.

Even if you have no clue what plants to use, that’s ok. Once you’ve created a garden plan with plant forms that you like, you can then research plants that are a similar size and shape to what you drew. 

Websites like Garden.org allow you to research plants by all different characteristics that will suit your growing conditions and tastes.

Luckily, there are so many plant options available to us in every different shape and size. You’ll have plenty of plants to choose from, so don’t worry about choosing your plants until the end. Get the garden plan drawing worked out first!

Wrapping Up

Now that you’re privy to my top 5 tips for drawing a killer garden plan, you can skip the stress of staring anxiously at a blank page and actually enjoy the incredibly fun and creative process of designing your dream garden!

First, take measurements and get to know the space where you plan to put your garden. Look at the area from different angles and snap some photos of different views. 

Now, sit down with some printer/bond paper or graph paper and use tracing paper to come up with different ideas. I usually have some plants in mind during this process, but I don’t try to force anything. Just draw simple shapes like rounded, oval, pyramidal and spreading. Try to contrast the sizes and shapes of your plants to make it interesting. If drawing feels too difficult for you, grab my printable plant form worksheet so you can just cut out the plant shapes and move them around the page.

Once you have the basic shapes mapped out, you can then choose your plants. Make sure to research all of the plants you plan. Use a website with lots of filters and advanced searching like garden.org. Choose plants that will thrive in the conditions that you have vs. what you wish you had. And, try to choose a variety of long-blooming perennials or plants that create interest at different times of the year. 

If you’re looking for more assistance in designing your dream garden, be sure to check out my Design Your 4-Season Garden Course, where I’ll take you step-by-step through my own process for creating the 4-season garden plan of your dreams.

Shop my Amazon storefront for my essential gardening books & tool recommendations!

More Garden Design Posts You’ll Love

5 Steps Infographic to Draw a Garden Layout
Don’t forget to pin this post for later. Illustrations by Pretty Purple Door.
This Blocking Method Will Have You Drawing Pro Garden Plans in No Time

This Blocking Method Will Have You Drawing Pro Garden Plans in No Time

If you’re struggling with creating a cohesive landscape and arranging plants within a garden bed, you’re going to love this blocking method.

1- Create a Series of Blocks that Overlap Each Other

The first step in the blocking method is to draw out a series of rectangular blocks that overlap each other.

These rectangular shapes will form the composition of your design, so take your time. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ideas!

Thumbnail sketches of different blocking method formations

Draw a series of blocks that overlap. I like to create small thumbnails and experiment with different block formations. Illustration by PrettyPurpleDoor.

If you know where you’ll be planting your garden bed, make sure that none of your blocks will “block” your windows, doors, utilities or other views.

For example, if you had a low window on the right side of the garden bed, you’d want to add a rectangle that’s lower than the bottom of the window.

2- Fill Each Block with a Plant

Thumbnail sketches of plant forms inside blocks.

Fill each block with a single plant or a series of the same plant. I like to create multiple small sketches then choose my favorites to refine. Illustration by PrettyPurpleDoor.

Use one only one plant type or one form per block (like a row of catmint or a group of inkberry holly). For right now, just use basic plant shapes and repeat them in the blocks.

By having to repeat the same plant form and also choose different forms for each block, it’s going to force you to think about layering and repetition, which are two really important principles in garden design.

Here are some plant forms you can try.

Hand Drawn Plant Forms
All plants can be reduced to a simple form, such as mounding, rounded, vase, horizontal, spikey, weeping, oval, pyramidal and more. Illustration by PrettyPurpleDoor.

If possible, repeat your plant forms within the block and try to use a variety of plant forms in your layout. This will add contrast to you design. Contrast, by the way, is another important garden design principle.

If you like these plant form sketches, you can also grab my free printable and use them to create your own garden plan.

3- Refine Your Design

Thumbnail Sketch with Refined Garden Drawing Below

Here you can see the selected sketch and how I refined the shapes and forms to make them more “plant-like.” I also add color at this stage to better visualize the design. Illustration by PrettyPurpleDoor.

After I’ve drawn a few different thumbnail versions, I pick my favorites and refine them.

This is where you can start to think about what plants you may want to use and how you can achieve a good balance.

If you still don’t know what plants to use, that’s ok!

After you come up with the layout you like, you can research plants that are in the particular size, shape and color you’ve drawn. One website I like for this is garden.org’s advanced plant search.

I almost always pick my plants last when I’m designing, too.

4- Add Color

Next, add color so you can better visualize your design. I like to experiment with a lot of different color combinations.

Searching inspiring gardens on Pinterest, Houzz, Instagram or even in magazines is a great way to get inspired with color.

Another handy trick is to look at the artwork on your walls or the colors of the clothes in your closet! It will help you to learn what colors you’re attracted to and what looks good together in your eye.

Two garden plan drawings in different color schemes

After you’ve developed a design using the blocking method, be sure to experiment with different color combinations to see what may inspire you. Illustration by Pretty Purple Door.

If you want to learn more about color, check out my article on creating your own color garden schemes.

Or, head over to this article if you want to learn more ways you can draw a killer garden plan by hand.

Garden Plan Blocking Method How-To Video

Watch this quick video of the blocking method in action.

I learned the Blocking Method from Lisa Nunamaker over at Paper Garden Workshop, so be sure to check out her website and thank her for introducing us to this fun and useful drawing technique! 

Wrapping Up

If you’re struggling with arranging plants in a garden bed you’re going to love this blocking method. First, create a series of blocks that overlap each other. This will form the composition of your design so take your time. Fill each block with a plant. Use one only one plant per block. If you can, repeat your plant within the block and try to use a variety of plant shapes/forms your layout to add contrast. Next, refine your design… think about what plants you may want to use and how you can achieve a good balance. Then, add color so you can visualize your design.

If you’re looking for more ways to draw your garden, head over to this post where I discuss my top 5 tips for drawing a killer garden plan.

Shop my Amazon storefront for my essential gardening books & tool recommendations!

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Narrow Garden Layouts + Design Tips to Make Them Work For You

Narrow Garden Layouts + Design Tips to Make Them Work For You

Designing a layout for a narrow garden can be a very tricky task to take on yourself. If you’re having trouble getting started, I’ve put together several different narrow garden layouts to choose from. I’ll also share with you why each layout works and how you can modify these layouts to fit your own unique needs.

While it sounds counterintuitive, dividing up a long, narrow garden will actually make your landscape look a lot BIGGER than it really is.

The best design tip I can give you when trying to conquer a narrow garden is to divide your space into smaller sections. I know that most home gardeners feel like this will make the space feel smaller, so they shy away from creating separate areas. But the truth is that most garden designers, when faced with a long narrow garden, will do exactly this.

Before you get started with your design layout, it’s important to think about what you actually need in your landscape. So, head over to my article, 7 tips to starting your landscaping from scratch. There’s lots of great information there about gathering inspiration photos, determining your garden style, understanding the conditions of your property and creating a wish list for what you need or want to incorporate into your garden. You can also check out my post filled with ideas specifically for designing your backyard landscape.

Once you have the basics covered, you’ll be able to use what you’ve learned to decide on a layout for your narrow garden. I’ll provide several unique narrow garden layouts that you can try:

  • A simple, kid-friendly narrow garden with a large lawn
  • An organic, curved design for an informal, narrow garden
  • The plant-lovers paradise layout for a narrow garden space – also “no lawn” friendly
  • A bold and unique design for wow factor in a narrow garden – also “no lawn” friendly

Depending on your needs, you can easily adjust these layouts to create a garden that’s uniquely you!

Narrow Garden Layout with Large Lawn Area

Narrow garden design layout with large lawn

This is a very simple and straightforward design for a long and narrow backyard. I think that most home owners will really enjoy the simplicity of this layout. There’s a reason why this is a popular option: it solves all the problems of a narrow garden design and can be adapted to accommodate a lot of different items from your garden wish list.

First, a patio/dining area can be placed right outside of the home. It’s always a great idea to have a deck or patio near the house so that you can dine outdoors and cook on the grill. It makes carrying dishes in and out a lot easier.

What I like most about this option is that it provides a large lawn space, which is great for kids. So, if you have young children or a dog that likes to use the lawn space, you may consider trying out this option.

Finally, at the far end of this narrow garden, I’ve designed a “relaxing space” that’s secluded from the patio and the lawn. This space is separated from the lawn using evergreen hedging that will make it feel cozier. There’s also a little garden path that you can travel down before you enter the relaxation area.

Some ideas for a relaxation area are:

  • fountain or water feature
  • hammocks for napping and enjoying the sun
  • fire pit / campfire area
  • outdoor living room with sectional couches and lots of pillows
  • a space to read, draw or pursue your hobbies
  • an orchard of fruit trees
  • a gazebo or pergola with a bar and a big screen tv to watch the game
  • this is also a great location for a garden shed, if you don’t have a need for a second space

And, if you’re a visual person like I am, here’s a hand illustration I made to incorporate some of the ideas mentioned for this layout.

Hand illustrated narrow garden design layout with large lawn
Hand illustrated narrow garden design layout with large lawn and two relaxing areas for outdoor entertaining. Illustration by Pretty Purple Door.

You will notice that in this layout I’ve divided the narrow space into 3 smaller areas that are easier shapes to handle. You could always make the patio larger, the lawn smaller, etc. Personally, I think I would create garden borders around the lawn area so I’d have room to plant some more flowers and shrubs!

Asymmetrical Narrow Garden Layout with Curves

Narrow garden design layout with large lawn

This narrow garden layout is for those of you who dislike boxy designs and want a more organic look to your garden design. Honestly, it’s not much different from the first design. The main difference is the asymmetrical layout.

The patio/dining area is still right at the front of the garden near the home. Except, it’s offset a little bit. A meandering path starts right at the back of the home and will walk you all the way to the very back area of the garden. Along the way there are lots of planting areas to make it a gorgeous, secluded stroll. This would be a great design for a cottage style garden.

And, if you’re looking for some ideas for planting up the garden areas, check out this YouTube video where I explain how I designed a similar pathway garden in my own backyard!

Subscribe to my YouTube channel for more gardening videos!

To the right of the pathway, there’s a large lawn area for the kiddos and doggies. I’ve included a lawn area in this design as well because, well, it’s the most practical use of the space for most families. But, if you’re trying to get rid of the lawn or hate cutting the grass, keep reading because the next two options can easily be “no lawn” solutions for you.

At the end of this long and narrow garden, I’ve included an area for a vegetable garden and a small shed. But, remember all of the ideas above that you could swap out for this area. And, if you like the idea of including a vegetable garden in your design, make sure that you place it in an area that gets LOTS of sun. Your veggies will need AT LEAST 6 hours of sun per day in the location you choose.

Could this be the garden design for you?

Hand illustrated narrow garden design layout with large lawn
Hand illustrated narrow garden design layout with two trees, a large curved lawn area and room for a round patio, vegetable garden and a shed. Illustration by Pretty Purple Door.

Narrow Garden Layout with Lots of Room for Plants

Narrow garden design layout with long pathway

I think this is my favorite long, narrow garden design because there’s tons of space to plant. It truly is a plant-lovers dream… probably why I love it so much!

The space begins with a lawn and then a hedge row separates the lawn from a beautiful garden area. This could be a cut flower garden, a woodland garden, an orchard, a vegetable garden or even a play space for the kids… anything you want really.

What Blooms with What?

Never know what to plant together? Find out with this FREE Plant Pairing Guide and become a pro at combining plants for the best garden design possible!

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This design incorporates a lot of green space for planting ! The center area is divided by a hedge row on either side and a small path guides you into a patio area near the back of the yard. It’s so dreamy (I love this one).

Don’t get too caught up in what I’m calling lawn or patio. These areas can easily be swapped so the patio is near the home and the lawn is in the back. Or, pick something else that fits your needs better!

To eliminate the lawn from this design, I would swap the lawn for a patio right by the house (near the bottom of the design). Then, in the far back area of the garden create a “relaxation area” using the ideas I provided above. Personally, I think I would add a campfire area in the back.

Hand illustrated narrow garden design layout with long pathway
Hand illustrated narrow garden design layout opens to a large lawn, narrowing to a long pathway with large garden areas on either side. The back of the garden has a large patio space surrounded by gardens with room for dining and relaxing. Illustration by Pretty Purple Door.

Narrow Garden Layout with a Center Focal Point

Narrow garden design layout with fountain in center

This design is not for the faint of heart. It’s a pretty bold and unique design for those of you who really want to create a feature in your backyard. Does it speak to you?

This design starts out with a straight pathway anchored by gardens on the left and right as you enter the space. These garden areas would be a great place for a cutting garden or an herb garden since they are so near to the house.

Then, the garden area is separated by a hedge and enters into a small, curved lawn area. This is the smallest lawn design in the bunch so it’s great for those of you that don’t want to completely eliminate your grass but do want to reduce the size of the lawn and the maintenance associated with it.

Next, we will enter the bold, focal area of this garden that features a circular pathway that surrounds an impressive focal point. In this design I’m calling this a water feature, as I can see a grand, bubbling fountain in the space. Along the circular walkway I’ve included some benches for seating… Because who wouldn’t want to sit near this focal point and enjoy the space?

Hand illustrated narrow garden design layout with fountain in center
Hand illustrated narrow garden design layout with fountain or other large focal point in the center of the landscape. Stroll down a brick pathway flanked by lawns and end at a large entertaining space near the back of the garden. Illustration by Pretty Purple Door.

But, don’t get too caught up on the fountain focal point, because the center area can really be any focal point you want. It can be rows of topiary or trimmed hedges. It can be a beautiful reclaimed brick patio. It can be a gorgeous statue or garden bed.

Quick Tip: If you want some ideas for the center area of this design, head over this article about focal points to learn more.

Finally, the circle continues with another pathway that leads to a hedged patio area in the back of the garden. This would make a beautiful space for a quiet lunch, a place to read or even catch up on work. Although it’s more common to have the patio right off your home, I actually love having a patio area in a far back corner of the garden.

Narrow garden design tips
Amy in her home garden. A river rock walkway leads to a reclaimed brick patio in a shady corner.

In my own home garden, I have a small circular patio right tucked into a shady corner, complete with a meandering rock walkway and an arbor to create a secluded entry. It’s my favorite space!

Eliminating the lawn in this design is easy as can be. Instead of lawn, you can extend your garden. Or, use the lawn area for a patio or seating area. The lawn could also be swapped for a vegetable garden, a blueberry patch or a children’s swing set. This would be a really simple design to transform into a no lawn option.

Wrapping Up

In this post, we discussed several different narrow garden layouts that you can try at home. I hope that these layouts have given you the confidence to tackle your long and narrow garden space. Remember: the trick is to break up your space up into smaller sections that don’t have such an awkward shape. Then, assign a purpose for each of the spaces. If you want to create your own design, head over to this article for more ideas: Backyard Landscape Design, Step-By-Step

If you have a long, narrow garden, you may also want to check out my post about tall, narrow trees that you can use in your garden. And, if you’ve decided on one of these layouts and are wondering what to do next, here are some articles that will help you out.

You may also be interested in taking my free gardening training. It’s a free, 45 minute video training where I’ll reveal three of my secrets so you can overcome your biggest gardening challenges! I also have several online garden design courses that you will love, too!

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Narrow garden design layouts
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