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Garden Ideas

With more people living in small city homes, nowadays, having your own garden or private outdoor area is often viewed as a luxury. However, when trying to get the most from your outdoor space, you may be unsure where to start – especially if you are limited for space and trying to design a layout that’s practical and looks good too.

Whether you want to enjoy the perfect family garden or create a little relaxing retreat, a few simple garden ideas and careful planning could improve your home by acting as an extension of your living space.

Small & Back Garden Ideas

No matter the size of your garden, there are lots of tricks you can use to make the most of the available space. Whether you have a small yard, a little balcony, or a large expanse of garden, you can create an area that is not only functional but also visually appealing.

However, what may work for a large garden may not be suitable for a small area. This is why landscapers and professional gardeners utilise a variety of tricks – including those below – to maximise space.

Ideas for Small Gardens

For little gardens, yards or balconies, there are some simple rules and small garden ideas you can follow to get the most out of your garden. This includes layout, furniture and the rule of three.

Raised Beds for GardensIn terms of layout, in a small garden, using space effectively can make it practical and create the illusion of more space. You could consider utilising vertical space to maximise your garden by installing shelves, choosing hanging plants, or creating a living wall with fresh herbs. Alternatively, narrow raised beds can allow you to plant flowers or a mini vegetable garden without taking up too much space.

For a garden to be practical, it needs furniture. For a small garden, it may be a good idea to think about scale to avoid furniture taking up too much room. For example, a built-in bench or a small bistro set could provide enough seating, without dominating the space.

Using the rule of three may also help to make your small garden feel more open. This means choosing groups of three, such as colours, raw materials and accessories, to create a garden that’s well designed and avoids it becoming cramped.

Ideas for Back Gardens

With a bigger garden, you may feel unsure about how to manage and plan a large space, but there are many back garden ideas that can provide help and inspiration. To get started, you could consider layout and function, flowers and plants, and focal points.

Small PolytunnelWith a large back garden, breaking up the area and thinking about layout can help you to get more out of the space. To begin, you could consider what you need from your garden. Do you require a space for children to play? Do you like hosting family gatherings? Or would you like to become more self-sufficient and grow your own vegetables? By dividing areas, you can create a garden that is multifunctional. This could include a grassed area for children, decking or a patio for relaxing and dining, or a polytunnel for fruit and vegetables.

Flowers can also be used as a way to separate a garden while adding to its overall look and feel. You could line pathways with raised flower beds, create features with climbers and arches, or add relaxing scents to a seating area with herbs.

Finally, creating a focal point can help to draw the eye up and across the space, providing an anchor in a big garden. You can do this in numerous ways, from adding a sculpture or a large tree, to using colour in your flower beds or seating area.

Make the Most of Your Outdoor Area

No matter the size of your garden, there are many ways to create a space that is functional and inviting. Consider using these small garden ideas for modest spaces, or back garden ideas if you have a large garden, to make the most of your outdoor area.

For more help, RHS can provide style and layout inspiration, or read our Self Sufficient Living guide and invest in a polytunnel to grow your own fruit and vegetables at home.

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Are you looking for a way to encourage your students to spend more time outside? Would you like them to be more excited about nature and incorporate this into lessons? Starting a school gardening project could help you to achieve these goals, while also providing fun for your pupils.

As a busy teacher, the idea of finding the hours to create and look after a garden may seem difficult, but these tips and school garden ideas could make the process easier and provide an opportunity for your pupils to learn and develop outdoors.

School Garden Ideas

With limited time and budgets, when it comes to creating a school garden, you may feel a little overwhelmed. However, many successful gardening projects in primary schools begin as a little patch or raised bed. This makes it more manageable and easier to maintain – plus, this smaller area is perfect for smaller hands!

When planning your garden, consider the following:

  1. Sunshine: providing fruits and vegetables with lots of sunlight encourages growth and limits disease.
  2. Facilities: it may be convenient to choose a plot near a water source and storage area.
  3. Focal point: a central location allows pupils to see the progress of their garden.
  4. Accessible: wide pathways and narrow raised beds make the garden accessible to all students.
  5. Involvement: from planning to harvesting, encouraging students to participate regularly and at every stage could help them to engage with the project.

Gardening for Schools

Starting a school garden requires planning, but research by the Growing Schools initiative has shown that gardening can benefit pupils in many ways, enhancing their education, development and wellbeing.

A school garden can encourage children to learn in a practical and fun way. It can also help to build communication and teamwork skills, boost levels of physical activity, and teach pupils about food, health and nutrition.

While gardening projects in primary schools are fantastic for extra-curricular activities, they can also be utilised as part of the curriculum and help to boost student engagement across a variety of subjects. For example, a garden can provide hands-on learning about life cycles and pollination, be incorporated into story writing, or used to plots graphs and charts.

Planting a School Garden

After learning about the benefits, you’re probably eager to get started. The good news is, after planning and preparing your school garden – you can learn more about that in our Self-Sufficient Guide – it’s time to start planting!

To get your students excited about gardening, it may be a good idea to plan fruits and vegetables that are quick to harvest. Depending on the season, this could include potatoes, cherry tomatoes, or strawberries. Herbs are also a great idea as they add a variety of scents to the garden as well as attracting bees and insects, providing more learning opportunities.

To help your pupils get the most out of the garden, plan ahead. This means picking fruits and vegetables that will be ready to harvest during term time. Our Fruit and Veg Yearly Planner has done all the hard work for you, showing you when to sow, plant and harvest a variety of produce. Top tip: a greenhouse or polytunnel could be helpful when sowing seeds. Our Educational Polytunnels are very popular - you can take a look at the schools which we have supplied using our interactive map.  

Help and Volunteers

The idea of finding time to grow and maintain your school’s garden may seem like a challenge, but there’s loads of resources that can help.

You could try sending out a letter to parents and guardians, telling them about your school garden ideas and its educational benefits. In addition, think about including a sign-up sheet for volunteer gardeners, or a request for donations of equipment and supplies.

There’s also a range of support for gardening projects in primary schools. For information about these, visit the RHS School Gardening Scheme, where you can find out about funding, lesson plans and read informative guides.

Starting a school garden can provide huge benefits for pupils, especially if gardening is included in the curriculum. Use this guide to help you get started and remember to get children involved in every process, from planning to harvesting, so they can reap the benefits.

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