Long garden ideas work best when they highlight the key features of your plot while also encouraging its use as both a social and relaxation space.
Every garden design has its challenges, and with long gardens, your biggest obstacle will be to utilise the whole area, without leaving any bare bits behind.
We’ve put together 16 long garden ideas to inspire you to plan, landscape and style your plot with confidence.
Long Garden Ideas: What to Consider
A long garden can be a slightly awkward shape, but that shouldn’t limit your creativity. “You just need to prioritise what you want from your garden to maximise the space available,” says Jack Sutcliffe, CEO and co-founder at Power Sheds.
There are a wide range of suitable methods that you can use to enhance the shape, size and aesthetic of your long garden, Sutcliffe goes on to explain. “Consider using plants, trees and hedges to create height, and circular flower beds, winding paths, or lawns with curved lines to add interest and bring diversity to the space.”
1. Plant Rows of Flower Beds
Flower beds are a bright and beautiful way to get your garden summer-ready. They also work well in long gardens, where space is plentiful, and every flourish adds extra vibrancy and can help zone areas.
Plant your flower beds in rows along your garden for a colourful standout display. Mix and match flowers of different shapes and shades as well for an almost kaleidoscopic effect.
2. Lay a Garden Path
A garden path can bring another level of intrigue to your spacious plot.
Depending on the garden’s size and how big you want the path to be, a classic option is to go with paving slabs. However, certain types of brick do add texture and patterning that could be very complementary to your overall garden design.
3. Zone Your Long Garden Ideas
“A long garden works best when broken up into different ‘zones’ depending on use, with different areas for grass, seating, and flower beds,” explains Sutcliffe.
“Introducing shapes and depth is ideal for reducing straight lines and eliminating the uniform feel of a long garden.”
As this garden demonstrates, length is no object to individual character, with each zone having its own distinctive characteristics — namely seating, lighting and planting.
4. Consider Your Grass to Paving Ratio
In a long garden, the ratio between paving and grass must be carefully balanced.
On the one hand, grass makes any garden appear more attractive and at one with nature, but it does require a lot of maintenance to stay neat and tidy.
On the other hand, a paved patio area may need less maintenance pro rata (pressure washing every now and again will suffice) but it can leave your garden looking stark and devoid of personality.
Whatever you decide, remember to keep your garden paving ideas close to the house.
5. Hang a Hammock
A hammock is a great way to add fun to your long garden. But the key is making it properly safe to use.
Hang your hammock across two sturdy trees, preferably fully mature, both of which are capable of bearing adult weight. Wrap a rope, tree strap or other suspension method around both trunks to secure, and do not use anchoring hardware like nails — otherwise you might damage the trees.
A number of hammocks now come with their own self-supporting frames, too, making them much easier to hitch into place.
6. Put Planting Beds Alongside Each Other
Planting beds provide structure and add another level of definition to long gardens. Including a few of them side by side will lend character and ambience as you walk around your plot.
Planters also help complement patio planting ideas and should be spaced evenly apart in a paved section of your long garden. You can use them to grow flowers, shrubs or even edible produce, providing the containers are big enough for roots to take hold.
7. Choose Appropriate Garden Screening
No long garden is complete without appropriate screening. This ensures privacy while enjoying the outdoor space and also helps shield any unsightly views beyond your garden’s boundaries.
You may also wish to consider garden screening ideas that offer an effective amount of shade, as well as privacy.
Combine fencing with hedges or tall plants to screen off your long garden as much or as little as you want.
8. Set Up an Outdoor Stove
One of the benefits of having a long garden is getting creative with how you use all that available space. A great way to add functionality and interest to your plot is by investing in an outdoor stove, so you can cook and entertain al fresco when the weather is warm.
It may even be the case that your garden is long enough to accommodate a full outdoor kitchen area.
Also, it's a good idea to build a shelter over your outdoor kitchen to avoid any element-related damage. Pizza stoves, BBQs and the like must be fully covered with the right-sized tarp when not in use, which should stop any water or debris from slipping underneath.
9. Include an Attractive Water Feature
Water features make a striking difference to any garden, lending a sense of serenity to your outdoor retreat. A long plot means you get to enjoy the soothing sound of flowing water, as well as the pleasant and relaxing ambience it creates, without being disturbed.
Carve out a dedicated space for your garden’s water feature, and add seating and plants to create a comfortable, welcoming environment in which you can feel nothing but tranquillity.
If your garden is long enough, you may even wish to add a natural swimming pool for a fully immersive yet restful escape.
10. Establish Your Own Quiet Zone
With such a spacious area, it is easy to feel overwhelmed in a long garden. That’s why you should make a point of creating your own quiet zone for personal relaxation.
Choose a secluded corner area of your plot and build it out with typical garden comforts, e.g. shelter, seating and maybe even a water feature for extra calmness.
You could also choose to base your quiet zone around designs from other cultures, such as Japanese garden ideas. In which case, ponds and pergolas are a great combination and add plenty of zen to long gardens, providing you find the right amount of space for them.
11. Use Tall Plants to Add Definition
Lending height to a long garden will help ensure that its boundaries are clearly defined and achieve consistent depth. For instant results, tall planting is ideal — especially if you want to preserve your garden’s natural beauty.
Plant freely along garden borders for a neat row of tall, colourful flowers. Alternatively, a garden trellis can provide support and allow each plant to reach its tallest potential.
12. Create a Boundary With Lawn Edging
Lawn edging provides many benefits when designing or enhancing a long garden, such as providing a sharp, clean appearance to lawns and outdoor spaces, it can also make mowing your lawn much easier.
Nicola Clements, marketing and communications manager at Haddonstone, adds: “Stone lawn edging acts as a useful boundary between grassed areas and borders or pathways, which is especially helpful if you have a long garden with a lot of lawn to keep on top of!
“Long gardens can also benefit from lawn edging’s ability to effortlessly divide sections of your garden into interesting, individual spaces. This can prevent elongated gardens from looking too long and thin.”
13. Think About Lighting for Your Long Garden Ideas
Plan on spending a lot of time outside this summer? If so, your long garden will need to be well lit, so you can move around safely no matter what the time of day.
There are a range of different garden lighting ideas that suit an extended plot, such as directional spotlights and path lighting, both of which are great at illuminating wide areas.
Although, for a more convenient alternative, choose rechargeable, portable and weather-resistant floor lamps that can be used anywhere throughout your plot.
14. Landscape Over Multiple Levels
If your long plot also happens to be a sloping garden, then you should consider building across different elevations, which will not only make the space feel bigger but also add to its interest factor.
A raised patio or decked seating are both great social hubs to have in one area, while the opposite end can be earmarked for a hot tub or conversation pit.
Ensure that each section of your long garden is constructed on its own gradient, so you enjoy a fresh perspective from everywhere in the space.
15. Build a Summer House to Socialise and Relax In
A British garden staple, summer houses add extra space that can be used for both recreational and relaxation purposes. They work especially well at the end of a large plot, which is great if you want a private getaway area outside your home.
Build the summer house as far back as possible from the main property. This ensures a clear distinction between both spaces and shouldn't be an issue if your garden is very long.
Spare a thought for your summer house interior ideas as well, which must complement the overall garden design.
16. Install a Swimming Pool for Added Luxury
Long gardens are ideal for swimming pools because of how much spare land is needed to install them. Having a swimming pool means finding a balance between practicality and style — the last thing you want is your new pool to look like an eyesore.
A classic rectangle-shaped pool can accommodate plenty of swimmers during social gatherings and still be appealing within a long garden.
Just make sure you have it built near your garden’s boundary to avoid asymmetry in the lawn.
How Much Do Long Garden Ideas Cost?
“A long garden is not necessarily more expensive than any other garden shape; it all depends on how much space needs to be covered for landscaping projects," Sutcliffe explains.
“Depending on the project, most gardeners or landscapers will charge either per hour or per sq foot, so if your long garden is larger than average, you can expect to pay a little more than average to maintain it.”
Size is definitely a big factor in determining the affordability of your project. The average cost for levelling out a sloped garden is around £800 per 40m² plot, and you can expect to pay anywhere from £45-£75 for each m² of paving, as well as £10-£30 for the same amount of real grass and £30-£60 for the exact same dimensions of artificial turf,
When it comes to landscaping a long garden from scratch, it is advisable to budget roughly 10% of the property’s value, i.e. £30,000 for a £300,000 home. This should account for any typically expensive features, such as summer houses or swimming pools, although the latter may be more costly than you think depending on its dimensions.
How Do You Get the Best Out of Long Garden Designs and Layouts?
Introducing layers and levels is a must for maximising long garden layouts. Adding a raised, decked seating and social area to the end of the garden is ideal for making full use of the space and ensures the back of your garden doesn’t end up neglected.
Sutcliffe adds: “For a seating idea, consider opting for a corner sofa — this is perfect for breaking up a long garden and creating the feeling of a separate, private social space.
“If you don’t want the financial commitment of raised decking, introduce raised flower beds to bring varying depths to your garden.”
Rob Keal is the Content Editor at Homebuilding & Renovating. With a background in content marketing, he began his career back in 2016 as a freelancer, before honing his craft at various digital marketing agencies. Looking to specialise in DIY and homes, he joined the team in February 2022.
Renovation has been part of his life since he was nine years old, when his parents bought a medieval cottage and completely revived it, introducing him to kitchen remodels, loft conversions, landscape gardening, and much more besides along the way. A bedroom extension and patio refurbishment are among his next planned projects. He is also passionate about interior design and landscape gardening.
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