Chris James of Graduate Landscapes explains how garden design is fundamental, introducing form, structure, elegance and aesthetic appeal to your outside space. Design elements allow the garden to flow and work together in harmony. In this article he takes a look at seven key garden design elements…


Paths and Patios

Garden landscaping is the ideal way to craft out zones determining the overall layout of the garden. Paths lead the way, whilst also leading the eye on a visual journey.

Meandering winding paths in a garden design add intrigue, disappearing off in to the horizon evoking a desire to explore further.

Patios and decking are another landscaping element, bringing the outside into your home.

Wood and composite decking emit warmth and natural beauty, a perfect place to spend those lazy summers evenings enjoying the delights of the garden.


Planting is the crowning touch of a garden. There are many ways you can achieve the perfect garden design, height and structure is foremost. Start planting with tall, large trees reducing down to smaller shrubs, perennials then bedding plants, this creates unity and composition.

Another design tip is to plant in masses, but with just one plant type. Although we love a wide array of plants, this can still be achieved through using plants of similar shape and form in different garden zones.


The garden lawn forms the interaction between garden and home with a history dating back centuries.

It is the one design element with a multitude of functions, from being a large open expanse of green carpet, manicured and neat, to being enjoyed for sporting activities or a resting spot to relax and lounge enjoying sun rays on a hot summers day.

A garden design in Cobham, Surrey, by Graduate Landscapes, incorporating a swimming pool, decking, paving and planting area

Water features and pools

Water features add sound, texture, and movement to landscaping designs. There are many different types, some jetting water in the air majestically emitting drama and theatre.

Waterfalls cascading elegantly over rockeries resonate a zen vibe bringing the sound of nature to your garden. Natural organic swimming pools in much the same way are designed to resemble water in the wild.

These beautiful organic pools with crisp crystal clear water blend seamlessly in to any garden landscape.


Lighting design can create atmosphere, accentuate shape and form and even add an element of drama. Uplighting plants like palms create magnificent shadows, water features allow movement and refraction of light whilst lighting is multifunctional too.

Seating and dining

Creating Garden rooms can make your landscape appear larger and allows gardeners to play with different colours and styles without causing chaos.

Zones are separated by natural walls, like hedges, trees, shrubs, vines, or fences ready for the interior to be adorned with an abundance of plants and flowers. Benches or natural wicker seats provide a resting spot to sit and enjoy the lush surroundings.


A garden should be a leisurely discovery for your eye to enjoy, which can be accomplished through focal points. Focal points can be large plants, structures, or ornaments and their function is to capture the eye’s attention and then rest to enjoy the surrounding plants.

Large and ornamental plants can be nestled in to beautiful ceramic clay pots which are artistic masterpieces in their own right.

Graduate Landscapes Ltd can be contacted on 01428 724080
Or visit their website at

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