Understanding Shapes and Spaces In Garden Design

Starting with the basic shapes on the ground is the best way to design your backyard plot. For small backyards, a simple shape is recommended, while larger plots benefit from variations. The final appearance of your garden depends on how you fill in the spaces between the shapes.

Using Shapes

When choosing a design with squares, rectangles, or circles, consider nearby buildings, their shapes, and locations. Experiment with different layouts to see what works best for your living space and how the garden will be used and seen. Building a circle or oval is more complex and expensive than creating a shape with straight sides.

Right-Angled Shapes

Dividing a backyard garden into separate zones, enhancing the aesthetic value, and drawing inspiration from long and short perspectives can be achieved with right-angled shapes. An axis that runs straight down the centre of the garden will make it appear longer, while a diagonal line will make it more eye-catching. Blocks running across the plot will shorten the garden and draw the eye towards the sides, making it appear wider overall.

right-angle-backyard 2
right-angle-backyard 3

Circular Shapes

When it comes to circular shapes, they can be a great way to create unity and aesthetically pleasing effects in your garden design. However, it’s important to keep in mind that combining circles can sometimes lead to awkward and pointed junctions, which can make planting and designating difficult. To ensure balance in your design, it’s recommended to follow geometric principles, such as drawing your path into the middle of the circle. If it’s set away from the center, it can result in an unbalanced look. Additionally, ovals are defined by their long axis and should be considered in terms of orientation and direction.


Mixing Shapes

When mixing shapes in a backyard design, it can create an interesting and visually appealing effect. However, it can also create challenges when curved and rectangular shapes meet or when different materials come into contact.

To avoid these problems, it’s important to keep the design simple and experiment with scale and proportions to determine the number of opposing forms that can fit into the layout. Plant design can also be used to help blend the shapes together and blur the joint between them, creating a cohesive and unified look.

multi level backyard
Mixed Shape backyard design
mixed shape backyard design

Using Spaces

A densely planted backyard, where the height of the plants fills the width of the area, creates a cozy and enclosed feeling. In contrast, airy planting throughout the garden borders gives the illusion of an open and spacious area. With careful planning, spaces can also be used to disguise the size or shape of a garden. For example, a jungle-inspired design can soften the edges of a small garden, giving the impression of more space, while a clearly defined border in a small garden can make it appear even smaller.

Conversely, large open spaces can be seamlessly integrated into the lush surrounding landscape of a country garden, making the plot appear even more expansive. When working with existing elements, such as plants and structures, it is important to consider them and work in conjunction with them to create the best possible environment.