Garden Design Tips – Curves

Garden Design Tips – Curves:

Many gardens resemble the one below, a lawn, a fence and a narrow border round the edge. OK, it’s functional,  but it is a little uninspiring don’t you think?


Not the most eyecatching border

Garden designers talk a lot about creating different rooms outside, that way you can move to different areas and these rooms have different styles. The whole garden is more interesting to walk through, but this can be quite difficult to achieve in a small space. 

What if there is simply not enough space for a ‘room’.

The other way to think about the use of rooms is that they prevent you seeing the whole garden all at once. This creates a wish to move to a different area of the garden to see what else is going on and you can achieve this with a well placed curve!

narrow garden line drawing

Take this garden, there is undoubtedly not much to look at, it is a narrow ‘runway’ to the shed. Adding a curve to the lawn helps disguise the narrowness, but only if you also add height.

narrow garden - feather planting
Download this design – it’s in our shop. ‘Towers of Feathers’

Now when standing on the patio and looking down the garden, you will see through the planting and the trellis. You can’t see both edges of the garden at the same time – the overall effect is to make it feel wider. The planting is tall but not dense, so there are glimpses of what lies beyond, without the planting feeling claustrophobic.

But you can get curves wrong….

The ‘bend’ should look like it is going round the corner, so you need to have a tall enough barrier to stop you seeing what’s behind the corner straight away. Or you need to have something interesting to look at where the bend has taken you.

Take this garden for example, here the owner has created a sweeping curve on the lawn, which is good, but where does it go?

There is also a small rectangular patio in the bottom corner which looks totally out of place. The sweeping line of the lawn does catch your eye and it follows the line around the garden, but it stops short. Even with planting added in the borders, the curve seems to have been chopped off.


The curve has to look like it takes you to something, don’t just create a bend for the sake of it or it will look odd.

So we’ve made a few amendments to this garden to create a better overall look…and a curve that looks like it is supposed to be there!

‘Black & Cream’ – you can download this design for your garden

When to bend and when not to bend!

Curves aren’t good if your garden is surrounded by strong geometric shapes (buildings and fences!). 

Your garden must ‘fit in’ with it’s surroundings, especially in a small garden, (see Garden Design for Beginners) and this attempt at a natural free flowing curvy lawn just looks odd.

In a small urban garden such as this, it is better to ditch the curves, create a more geometric design but with planting that moves and sways in the wind to create a more interesting and enjoyable garden.

We’ve more great design tips for you too….

How to Design my Garden if…..:

Also : Garden Design for Beginners – help and useful advice on how to get going. How to solve everyday garden problems (most design books never tell you)