The Dos and Don'ts of Garden Design: Common Mistakes to Avoid

Garden design is both an art and a science, and creating a beautiful and functional outdoor space can be a challenging task. While there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to garden design, there are certain dos and don'ts that can help you create a stunning and inviting outdoor space. In this article, we'll explore some common mistakes to avoid when designing your garden.

A backyard garden patio is shown with a beautiful landscape design. The patio is made of wood and features a seating area with a wooden table and chairs.

Dos of Garden Design

Do Consider the Size and Scale of Your Garden

When designing your garden, it's important to consider the size and scale of your outdoor space. Larger gardens can accommodate more plants and hardscape features, while smaller gardens may require more strategic planning to make the most of the available space.

By considering the size and scale of your garden, you can create a design that is both visually appealing and functional.

Do Think About Functionality

Your garden should not only be beautiful but also functional. Consider how you will use your garden and plan accordingly. For example, if you plan on entertaining, you may want to incorporate seating areas and dining spaces.

Do Pay attention to light and shade

When choosing plants for your garden. Different plants have different light requirements, so it's important to choose plants that will thrive in the light conditions in your garden. By considering light and shade, you can create a garden that is both healthy and visually appealing.

Do Consider the Seasons

Your garden should look beautiful all year round, not just in the summer. Consider the seasons when choosing plants and hardscape features for your garden. By incorporating plants and features that provide interest and colour throughout the seasons, you can create a garden that looks beautiful no matter the time of year.

Do Add Personal Touches

Your garden should reflect your personality and style. Consider incorporating personal touches such as art, sculptures, or garden ornaments to add interest and personality to your outdoor space.

Do create a Focal Point

A focal point is a central element or feature in your garden that draws the eye and creates a sense of interest and excitement. This can be achieved through the use of a statue, a fountain, or a particularly striking plant or tree.

A paved patio with a small sitting area is shown, featuring two chairs and a small table. The chairs are made of metal with cushions, and the table is made of wood with a glass top. The patio is surrounded by a neatly trimmed hedge, and potted plants are visible in the background.

Don'ts of Garden Design

Don't Overcrowd Your Garden

While it's tempting to fill your garden with as many plants and hardscape features as possible, overcrowding can lead to a cluttered and chaotic outdoor space. Instead, choose a few key plants and features to highlight and allow them to shine.

Don't Ignore Maintenance

Gardens require regular maintenance to stay healthy and beautiful. Before designing your garden, consider how much time and effort you are willing to put into maintaining it. If you don't have the time or inclination for regular maintenance, choose low-maintenance plants and features.

Don't Forget About Drainage

Proper drainage is essential for a healthy garden. Make sure that your garden is designed to allow water to drain away from plants and features to avoid waterlogging and other issues.

Don't Use Invasive Plants

Invasive plants can quickly take over your garden and crowd out other plants. Before introducing new plants to your garden, research them to make sure they are not invasive in your area.

Don't Forget About the Future

When designing your garden, it's important to think about the future. Plants and features may grow and change over time, so consider how your garden will look in the years to come.

small pond surrounded by sand, stones, flowers and plants.


By keeping these dos and don'ts of garden design in mind, you can avoid common mistakes and create a beautiful and functional outdoor space that reflects your personality and style.

We offer comprehensive garden design courses that cover all aspects of garden design, from the basics of plant selection to the principles of garden layout and construction. Our experienced instructors are industry professionals who will teach you the skills and techniques you need to succeed as a garden designer.

Enrol in our garden design courses today and start creating your own stunning and functional outdoor space. With the right knowledge and skills, you can avoid common mistakes and create a garden that is both beautiful and functional.

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Written by: Fiona Byrne

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