If you love the look and feel of an English garden, you’re not alone. The combo of neatly trimmed hedges, intimate little paths, and lush flower beds can make a space look and feel like a hidden little nook of luxury. If you’re looking for fresh landscaping ideas for your space, it’s worth taking a page or two from this iconic style to make your yard into the English garden of your dreams.

Aim for plenty of variety

variety english gardens

Tall plants, short plants, pink flowers, white flowers—all of these things can be placed next to one another in an English garden. Of course, you’ll have to make some adjustments to ensure that all of your plants have access to sunlight and aren’t too crowded, but in general, it’s best not to overthink a garden like this one and instead to opt for a free-flowing plan.

Meandering paths are a lovely touch

english garden paths

At first glance, a garden path might seem like too much work. But actually, it couldn’t be simpler to source and lay the right one for your garden—and the payoff is big. Not only will you give yourself an easy route in and out of the space, but you’ll also be afforded the luxury of watering your plants without having to step into tall grasses or get your shoes muddy. It’s a win-win!

Add a gate

english garden gate

There are few things more magical in an English garden than a simple gateway. They’re easy enough to purchase and install, and the visual impact is huge. Don’t have a wall into which to install your new structure? You can also buy stand-alone designs that can be surrounded by simple bushes and vines.


 Red Brick Path, Foliage Daniel Shea Contemporary Garden Design Norfolk, UK

Add pathways to connect garden rooms and provide a place to walk. Typical English pathways are constructed of brick or stone pavers. For a more eco-friendly solution, use spaced flagstones, crushed gravel, mulch, or other permeable surface that allows water to percolate into the soil rather than running off. Instead of a traditional straight-line pathway, create meandering paths for a sense of intrigue.

Water Features

Reflection Pool, Herbaceous Border Garden Design Calimesa, CA

Ponds, streams, waterfalls, rills, fountains, or birdbaths add reflections and the soothing sound of moving water. Grand multi-tiered fountains made of stone or concrete are a hallmark of traditional English landscapes. Smaller spaces can be adorned with a tabletop fountain, birdbath or water bowl.

Layered Mixed Borders

Purple Alliums, White California Poppies Garden Design Calimesa, CA

Create layered plantings with trees for height, shrubs as structural and background elements, and perennials with interesting foliage and flowers that contribute color throughout the growing season. Intersperse annuals to fill in gaps and for quick color through summer and into fall. Use dwarf varieties for small spaces.

Evergreen Shrubs

Garden Design Calimesa, CA

Add evergreen shrubs for structure, year-round color, and background interest. These can include broadleaf evergreens such as boxwood and holly that can be sheared into formal shapes, or conifers such as yew and juniper. For smaller spaces, use dwarf varieties. To reduce maintenance, include varieties such as ‘Green Gem’ boxwood and Sky Box® Japanese Holly that need little or no pruning.

Embrace high-contrast combos

english garden design ideas contrast

While citrus-hued daylilies are already pretty splashy on their own, buck conventional wisdom by pairing them with alliums in equally assertive but seemingly contradictory shades of purple—to brilliant result. Color is particularly important where you don’t have structure.


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