The Ultimate
Guide to garden
design ideas

A brand new garden can often be a foreboding expanse of empty land filled with a lot of potential but also a lot of work. Whether you pave it over, cover it with natural or artificial lawn, build over a portion of it with a pergola or deck, or decide to keep it wild and create a natural setting, you can find inspiration for every intention on the web.

A benefit to living in the information age is the huge amount of articles, blogs, videos, and images available on the internet to help you design your garden. But if you don’t know where to look, it can be a veritable quagmire to work your way through the endless possibilities of websites to get to the good stuff. To make it easier for you, here at Australian Outdoor Living we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to garden ideas, providing you with links to garden-specific guides, inspirational websites, resources, videos, images and blogs. We’ve concentrated on the most difficult areas of garden design:

Australian Garden Ideas

Australia has a unique climate that nurtures a thoroughly diverse range of flora and fauna. Whether in a drought-ridden or tropically humid area, Australian gardeners require just that little bit more knowledge to be sure the plants they put in their garden are suited to and will thrive in the local environment. These resources provide especially helpful information and advice about Australian garden designs:

How To

Landscaping The Bushfire

This document by the Country Fire Authority is a comprehensive guide to creating a garden suited to dry, bushfire-prone areas. In it, you’ll learn about bushfire behaviour, as well as how to plan and maintain a garden to minimise bushfire risks. It also includes a handy guide to selecting more fire-resilient plants.


Backyard and Garden Design Ideas.

Australia’s best-selling garden design magazine is filled with helpful articles to get you started on your Aussie garden. You’ll find inspiring, bold images and plenty of advice about nurturing your garden, covering the whole process from planning the design to furnishing your space. You’ll be waiting to receive the next copy, which is delivered to your door bi-monthly.


Australian Native Garden Ideas.

The images on this website boast stunning ways you can enhance your Australian garden using native elements. It’s a smorgasbord of home-grown inspiration, with plenty of Aussie-based ideas for gardens of all shapes and sizes. There’ll be more than a few ideas you’ll want to take away from it.


Australian Native Garden.

This board is an excellent source of images for specific Aussie garden designs, with a focus on native flora. Admire the boards and add them to your own Pinterest page. Or click on the images you find most inspiring to be directed to original websites, often filled with additional hints and tips.


Gardening Australia.

This ABC show has been around for 25 years so the presenters are experts on Australian garden designs. The website provides dozens of video snippets from the show on a range of Australian outdoor tips and info. Click on any year and month to find videos covering a variety of topics, from plant nutrition to permaculture.


Our Australian Gardens.

Find inspiration with surveys and photographs from some inspiring gardens around Australia. Mary, Eamonn and Kim are the brains behind this blog. They criss-cross the country in search of urban and rural outdoor sanctuaries designed and managed by gardening professionals and enthusiasts. A great source of inspiration.


Benefits of Planting Australian Native Plants Infographic.

If you’ve ever wondered why it may be worthwhile planting natives in your antipodean garden, this infographic will answer all your questions. It’s got some nifty stats and some interesting advice on how to ensure your indigenous plants will prosper in the soil.

Cheap Garden Designs

It can be relatively easy to design a garden on a budget, though cost cutting can often be counterproductive if you don’t know what you’re doing. Research online to give you a better idea of the things you can do yourself and those best left to the pros. Here are some good places to start:

How To

10 Cheap Ways to Landscape.

This article is a step-by-step guide to helping you landscape your yard at minimal cost. Encouraging, among other things, DIY projects and bargain hunting, it offers some great gardening hacks that will help you keep the costs down without sacrificing your beautiful garden.


Better Homes and Gardens has a few articles focusing on budget backyard ideas. Budget Landscaping and the ambitious (not to mention hugely helpful) 45 Money-Saving Landscape Tips are two of their best articles, but you’ll find a whole selection of handy tips and hints on their website.


32 Cheap and Easy Backyard Ideas That Are Borderline Genius.

Looking for some unique and imaginative garden designs? This article by Echo Brown has some great curated images designed to inspire you to jazz up your garden in cost-effective ways. We especially love the ideas of a stone foot wash and the DIY tiki torches.


Cheap Gardening Ideas.

Pinterest has done it again, with this board showcasing a number of ideas and DIY projects that you can recreate to decorate your garden without breaking the budget. Keep an eye out for the DIY camping grill, unusual garden beds, and the cute pot statues, among much more.


6 Common Household Items to Use in the Garden.

This nifty infographic details 6 ways you can save money by recycling your household items. We love it for its originality. After all, who would have thought you could use old newspaper as mulch? Click on the link to read this tip and more.

Small Yard Designs

Small yards can be difficult to work with, but if they are neglected, they can look especially pokey, abandoned and unsightly. A simple but elegant design can transform a petite backyard into an attractive garden you’ll want to spend time in. Here are some of our favourite resources for designing small backyards.

How To

How to Garden in a Small Space.

See how you can create the perfect garden in a small space in ten easy steps. This article takes into account measuring your space, creating a purposeful area, and choosing décor. But it also offers some nifty tricks we’ll definitely be using ourselves.


Landscaping Network.

Landscaping Network is an authority on all things garden design. But when it comes to small gardens, it has an entire section devoted to small backyard design ideas, filtering the best articles from across the web to provide actionable tips and invaluable advice. You’ll want to bookmark this page!


50 Small Urban Garden Design Ideas and Pictures.

Be inspired to spice up your small yard with the 50 ideas showcased here. Shelterness supplies just about every small garden idea imaginable, so you’re bound to find something to suit your picture of a perfect petite terrace or patio.

House and Home.

House and Home provides the perfect go-to gallery for stylized small backyard designs. Browse through their 26 themed images, from oriental to glam gardens, to find inspiration for your own unique small garden space. While you’re at it, explore the rest of the website for additional gardening advice. It’s a veritable treasure trove!


Small Garden Design Ideas.

We’ve chosen our favourite board by The Micro Gardener. It’s got a range of modern garden design ideas, from the increasingly popular vertical garden to innovative tiered or raised garden beds. Browsing through the pins is like exploring a Secret Garden; magical and inspiring.


Small Spaces, Big Ideas.

This story from Gardening Australia shows how a garden designer accentuated the details of his small garden with just a few simple ideas. It proves that the power of creativity can overcome any obstacle – and is bound to give you some inspiration for your own space.


How to Get More Enjoyment from a Small Yard.

Landscaping Network does it again with this helpful infographic showing you how to beautify your small garden in six easy ways. As a bonus, it includes 5 handy tips for tricking the eye into seeing more space than there really is.

DIY Vertical Garden.

Lack ground space? Find out how to build a vertical garden. This post by Bridgman takes you through a step-by-step process from stocking up on supplies to appreciating a job well done. It makes building a vertical garden seem so simple you’ll want to get in on the action!

Front Yard Designs

Front gardens. We little realize how important they are. They are the first thing our guests and neighbours see, and they provide the only impression most passersby will get of our property. Because of this, we naturally want our front gardens to impress. That’s why we’ve made an extra effort to bring together some of the best front garden ideas on the web for your benefit.

How To

Planning Your Front-Yard Landscape.

This article provides the ultimate guide to landscaping your front yard from start to finish. It considers the essential elements of front yard landscaping, from the garden bed and plant choices to hardscaping structures such as paths, and of course important décor considerations.


The Edible Front Yard.

Buy this book to learn how you can turn your front garden into a beautiful yet practical patch of land. Why stick just with aesthetics when your garden could provide you plenty of tucker too? This book includes design tips, plant info, DIY plans, and plenty more tips and tricks to create a yummy and lovely front garden.


28 Beautiful Small Front Yard Garden Design Ideas.

For simply irresistible front yard garden ideas, you need look no further than this Style Motivation article. It presents a delicious gallery of 28 garden designs in all manner of themes and styles to suit the home as well as the homeowner.

15 Modern Front Yard Landscaping Ideas.

If the 28 ideas above aren’t enough, Home Design Lover has curated 15 more front garden ideas for the contemporary home. We love these large images; they inspire a variety of front yard ideas for just about every type of modern home!


Front Yard Landscaping Ideas.

This board by Baldi Gardens, Inc. meets all your front garden landscaping needs. It considers the bigger picture as well as the minute details that could really make that front yard come alive. With a focus on garden bordering and walkways, it will help inspire you when planning your front yard design.


Better Homes and Gardens: How to design your front yard (Part one).

Watch how a landscaper transforms a front yard. Presenter and landscaper Jason Hodges introduces some tips and tricks that will help you landscape a front garden with plenty of curb appeal, yet without breaking the bank. It’s just a short clip, but you’ll be glad you watched it.

Garden Designs for Pets

We love our pets. But we also love our gardens and the two don’t always go together. Whether your pet is a dog barrelling through your garden beds, a cat scaring away the birds, or even backyard poultry, having the right garden for your pet is essential. If you create a garden with your pet in mind, you can make a fantastic space that is mutually beneficial, providing piece of mind to both you and your pet. There is a lot of information out there about pet care; here are our favourite resources relating to pet-friendly gardens.

How To

How to landscape a dog-friendly garden.

To create a ‘dogscape’ you need to think like a dog. That’s just the tip of the iceberg on handy advice in this article by Sharon Cohoon. You’ll learn about gentle hardscaping for padded paws, border control to protect your garden beds, pet-friendly plants, and more.



This design and lifestyle website devotes a page to pet advice, including making a pet-friendly garden. It features a comprehensive How To section of home advice for all manner of pets, from chooks to rabbits and even bees! While you’re on their site, nip over to the gardening page for invaluable gardening tips.

The Daily Puppy.

Built with an easy-to-navigate newspaper format, this website provides plenty of interesting articles about pet-related backyard care. It takes into consideration everything from the best backyard pools for dogs to which plants could be poisonous for your pooch. It’s a great resource whether you’re thinking of getting a puppy or wanting to make over your yard.


20 Tips for Gardening with Dogs.

Pups are curious things, loving to explore your garden with their noses, tongues and paws. But that’s not always a great thing – both for the pet’s health or your garden’s. This article covers plenty of advice both on how to train your dog as well as creating a garden with the pooch’s needs in mind.

7 Extreme Dog and Cat DIY Projects for Your Backyard.

After some more wacky backyard ideas for your pet? This article provides some awesome inspiration. We love the idea of a bone-shaped pool so your dog can cool off in the summer, while a fence porthole takes the prize for most kooky, yet original idea!


Ideas for raising backyard chickens.

Looking for the perfect but also presentable chicken coop for your backyard poultry? Your backyard doesn’t have to be taken up with an unsightly wire-festooned chook coop anymore, as these wonderful coop ideas will prove. There are also links to advice for raising chickens. Check out this board.


Plans for Building Your Awesome Backyard Coop.

This detailed infographic lays out clear instruction so you can build your own backyard coop. It’s got everything covered, from measurement to the tools you need, plus the amount of time and money you can expect to spend on the project. A nifty infographic if ever there was one.

Backyard Wedding Designs

Backyard weddings can compete with the very best of wedding plans. Whether you choose to go casual or dress up your yard for the occasion, backyard weddings allow you to be creative while getting a bit more bang for your buck. Today, it’s relatively easy to organize the backyard wedding to remember with the amount of information and ideas you can gather from the internet.

It’s no secret that women can be avid wedding planners. They love to swap, share and collect wedding ideas; they create scrapbooks, compile lists, visit exhibitions and wedding events, and photograph everything and anything that inspires them. Here are some of our favourite articles and websites from our very own scrapbook.

How To

10 Tips for a Fabulous Backyard Wedding and 10 Things to Consider When Planning A Backyard Wedding.

Both these articles give fantastic overviews of the essential things you need to consider when planning your backyard wedding. The first, by the Budget Savvy Bride, focuses on DIY improvements and utilising natural décor, while I Do Designs gives important advice on those things you wouldn’t necessarily think about, from rubbish managment to insurance plans.


Wedding Chicks and Rustic Wedding Chic

These are two important websites any bride to be should be aware of. Both websites have pages devoted to ideas, themes and designs for garden weddings. Their photos are to die for, while the ideas themselves are truly inspirational. It gets us excited just scrolling through the pages!


25 Beautiful and Romantic Garden Wedding Ideas.

Style Motivation brings you gratifyingly big, clear images to inspire your outdoor wedding. These backyard and garden wedding ideas are breath-taking, and will make you reconsider that pokey indoors reception once you see how beautiful an outdoors event can be!


Wedding Garden and Backyard Garden.

Bride-to-be should have a Pinterest board! It’s a must to collect all manner of inspiring ideas, tips and advice to help you prepare for your big day. For a truly delightful gallery of rustic backyard wedding images, look no further than this board by White Satin Wedding Show. They’ve got over 250 pins of the most delightful wedding ideas.


Décor Ideas for Backyard Weddings.

Events designer Tara Wilson explains the key elements of a backyard wedding, with some handy hints concerning mood lighting, furniture, and other décor. Have you ever thought of bringing your indoor furniture out? This is just one of many tips you’ll take away from her video.


Green Wedding Shoes.

This blog compiles images of real backyard weddings from couples who have picked a kooky or elegant theme and run with it. It’s a great resource to help you see how someone has visualised a theme and pulled it off – plus you might find something so inspiring you’ll want to steal the idea for yourself!

Online Tools to Help You Design Your Backyard

Arguably one of the best things about the advent of the internet for gardening has been the treasure trove of inspirational ideas, guides and tools to help you design the best garden for your home.

Online garden design tools can save you a lot of time and money. Much like preparing your football team for a game, if you don’t have a plan before you begin your new outdoor garden project, you’ll be launching yourself into the deep end without any appropriate preparation or know-how. The likely end scenario will see you creating and dismantling your project – or worse, uprooting your whole garden – many times over before you know you’ve got it right. Online garden design tools eliminate the fuss, the expense and the frustration while also giving you added inspiration. Here are some of the best:

Gardening 101: How to Draw a Garden Plan.

Some of the simplest garden design tools are your pen and paper. This article on Gardenista guides you to getting started, with important advice on keeping to scale in measurements and using tracing paper to sketch your final design.

My Garden.

With My Garden, you can draw and plan your garden with a fun layout using their simple online application. Unlike other design tools, this one has an original hand-drawn look to it that makes the whole process extra fun. When you’re done, you can print out a shopping list and installation guidelines.

Yates Virtual Garden.

This interactive garden design tool allows you to add and move garden elements to your design. It covers everything you might think of, from flower pots to trees and pavers to garden furniture. As a bonus you can print out your final design.


With Better Homes and Garden’s online planning tool you can design anything from a small container garden to your whole backyard using over 150 trees, shrubs and flowers, and structures like fences, decks and ponds. It allows you to create a design unique to your home and will help you visualise how it will look in real life.

And finally

So there you have it. The best resources from around the web for the top garden design themes you may be struggling with. Well, struggle no more. We finish this blog by providing some of the websites that we think encompass quality resources guaranteed to meet any of your garden design queries or needs. We hope they give you the same ideas and inspiration they have given us over the years.

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