Yard Makeover: Design for a Rectangular Garden

A long, skinny backyard gets a stylish new landscape design.
Garden Landscape Design Sketch

Garden Landscape Design Sketch

Photo by: DK - Design Your Garden © 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Design Your Garden, 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

A young urban couple want to turn their thin, rectangular yard into a relaxing space where they can dine and entertain friends. The original site included a beautiful cherry tree halfway down the garden, with a paved area opposite. While the patio was disposable, the tree needed more consideration. Removing it would open up the view, but located where it was, it nicely divided part of the garden. There was also a shed, which was to be retained, at the end of the garden. Clearly visible from the house, it was too dominant in that position, and needed to be moved to a more suitable location.

Garden Format

Size: 80 feet x 30 feet (25 meters x 10 meters) 

Owners: Young couple, no children 

Aspect: South-facing 

View: Overlooked at back by tall houses

Wants and Needs

  • A place to wine, dine, and entertain friends 
  • Privacy from neighboring properties 
  • A shed to house lawnmower and other tools 
  • Somewhere to sunbathe, read, and relax 
  • A stylish, contemporary look 
  • Low maintenance, easy-to-care-for planting

Design Solution 

In the resulting design (see above sketch), a raised circular lawn is separated by brick steps from a grass walkway. The deck by the house mirrors the fluid shapes, and the cherry tree has been retained. In addition:

  • Brick steps link the path with the circular lawn; the same bricks are used for a mowing edge.  
  • An oval deck mirrors the swooping curves in the rest of the garden. It will have a wooden surface to give a warm look and feel soft under foot. 
  • The deck furniture comprises a round table and chairs in a modern style. 
  • The shed is now hidden beneath the cherry tree and masked by new planting is less obvious. 
  • The cherry tree marks the end of the lawn path, and offers a shady area beneath for ferns. 
  • A topiary bay tree clipped into a standard forms an elegant focal point in the lawn.

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