As a full-service professional landscaping team, we often speak with clients who have a key set of priorities – perhaps they need a step-free, durable path from a driveway to a rear door or want a functional garden that they can use year-round with a low-maintenance patio or deck for entertaining and dining.

The integral aspect of any garden design or landscaping project is to combine beauty, colour and ambience with efficiency and practicality, creating dream garden spaces that deliver, perform and add value and style to your home.

Here the landscaping experts at Cotswold Paving and Landscaping share some top tips to offset functional features, soften hard edges, or create a hard-wearing garden that will look fantastic in every season without losing colour, atmosphere or usability.

How to Balance Long-Lasting Garden Features With Aesthetic Finishes

One of the primary reasons many homeowners hire a reliable, capable paving and landscaping team is that they need a professional with sufficient knowledge not just of how to structure, prepare and layout the functional parts of their garden but also how to make them look incredible.

Behind every design choice, garden designers look at both aspects to work out the client’s priorities and must-have deliverables:

  • Functional landscaping considers the main role of the garden, and how to make hard landscaping like patios, fences, block paving, walls and decks safe, durable and hazard-free – that could mean recommending lighting or using raised edges around water features.
  • Aesthetic garden design considers a different range of variables, such as the shape, structure and lines in the garden, the colours and textures that complement and contrast, and where the outdoor space draws the eye as a focal point.

The simplest approach for many garden projects is to use planting, shrubs, trees and locally sourced plants that flower at different intervals or sit at varied heights and shades. This makes the landscape more inspiring, visually appealing and colourful, or can be based around a uniform pallet of hues that augment the external appearance of the home.

We believe gardens should be equally functional and beautiful, and integrate aesthetic design into practical elements, concentrating on serviceable, low-maintenance landscapes. These use materials, plants and root systems that will grow independently, and offer quiet practicalities such as augmented drainage, increased shade or improved privacy.

Principles of Great Garden Design for Functional Projects

Depending on the size, aspect and general use of your garden, one of the straightforward options may be to designate zones, each with a defined purpose. For example, a family garden might be split into:

  • Play areas, using artificial turf or hard-wearing grass.
  • Dining areas with seating, shade and lighting.
  • Green zones for planting, vegetable gardens or kitchen gardens.
  • Walking zones, such as block paving, stone pathways or concrete driveways.

By segregating a garden in this way, you can incorporate the important features that make the zone functional – be that seating, a fire pit, treated timber fencing or a flagstone path – without turning over the full capacity of your garden to practical use.

The spaces in between your hard landscaping can be dedicated to soft landscaping, using evergreen plants to add structure, height and shape, delicate florals for scent, colour and texture, and seasonal plants that bloom in different months to ensure your garden has an ongoing pop of tone and colour even in the darkest, greyest weather.

Professional landscapers also use forward planning to envisage what a new garden design will look like, not just now or in a few months, but in the years to come. As plants mature, materials age or trees grow and settle, gardens come into their own. With periodic updates to ensure your garden continues to meet your expectations, you can design an outdoor space that will naturally enhance and evolve.

What to Prioritise When Choosing Hard-Wearing Design Elements for Your Garden

Our focus here is on longevity and developing garden spaces that look great year-round and feel welcoming and relaxing, as well as being practical and functional. There are numerous solutions we might suggest, depending on the size and theme of your garden and how you tend to use your space.

Pathways and paving can be sloped or stepped, with slopes ideal for families with wheelchair users, accessibility requirements, or smaller children who might find steep steps difficult to navigate. The right choice of stones or slabs can, of course, make a tremendous difference.

Professionally laid paving solutions used for paths, driveways, and patios should be durable enough to withstand harsh winters without requiring extensive maintenance – we complete preparatory works such as laying a stable sand substrate and fitting a weed-resistant mesh underneath the paving to meet this requirement.

A similar scenario applies to turf, where a green, lush, rich lawn can transform the appearance of your garden. Still, it should be laid with the correct techniques and selection of grasses to ensure your lawn is tough enough to be used daily by children or pets or will cope well with your soil conditions.

There are many amazing touches or design elements that can make even these most practical spaces feel contemporary, with selected planting and climbing flowers offsetting the rigid feel of concrete or cement, or well-placed containers adding softness and ambience to patios and decks.

Creating a Hard-Wearing Garden With Professional Paving and Landscaping Services

If you need help with how to approach the paving and landscaping for your property or want to install a new driveway without detracting from the atmosphere of your garden, please get in touch.

Cotswold Paving and Landscaping manages a huge array of landscaping projects. We can provide independent design expertise and recommendations for surface materials and styles that will work seamlessly, with exceptional quality workmanship across the board.

You are also welcome to browse our galleries showcasing paving solutions and landscaping projects to see how other clients have achieved functional gardens that are durable and long-lasting while adding character, value and style to their homes.