Design ideas and inspiration for square gardens

For many of us, our square houses come with square gardens. Most of the time, we end up with borders round the edges, lawn in the middle and a view of our back fence. Which is fine, if that’s what you like! But if you want to turn your square garden into something more visually interesting, there are a few designer’s tricks you can play with.

For more pictures (for copyright reasons I can’t include them here) and inspiration, please visit my Pinterest Board.

Use curves and circles

Using curves, circles and organic shapes can soften your garden and add a sense of movement and flow. Think about the shape of lawns, paths, flowerbeds or patios. Could these be curved or circular rather then square, rectangular or straight? Remember to keep things simple – big, sweeping curves or shapes tend to work better.

using curves in the garden
using curves in the garden can create a sense of movement and flow
curves in the garden
using curves in the garden distracts from square borders

Be creative with squares and angles

Alternatively, could you break up the area into smaller spaces? A design using overlapping squares or rectangles can be very effective – remember to consider the golden ratio when looking at the size of your squares.

Think about diagonals

Rather than having a square lawn set within a square garden, could you offset the lawn or beds at an angle? A diagonal path can create interest and movement. Diagonal lines distract the eye from the squareness of the garden.

using diagonals in the garden
Diagonals in the garden distract from the squareness of the plot

Add focal points:

The problem with a square garden is we end up staring at our back fence. By introducing focal points, such as a pond, a gazebo, a tree, the eye is drawn to different parts of the garden.

using focal points
using focal points

Add height and levels:

You may be able to break up the squareness of your garden by adding different levels: raised beds, steps – or a hedge or line of trees will add interest.

Think about your boundary:

Many of us have solid, wooden fences as boundaries. Adding climbers will soften your borders and give you something beautiful to look at. Alternatively, paint can make a huge difference. A paler colour will make the fence look further away, whereas a brighter colour will bring it closer. You will need to consider how you’ll repaint the fence (which will need doing every few years) if you have climbers as well, so consider plants which can be cut back either annually or occasionally, such as Group 3 clematis.

Dark or bright colours make the fence seem closer
Pale colours give a sense of space

For more ideas on designing for a small, square garden these websites are helpful:

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