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Awkward shaped garden design tips

Awkward Shape Garden
Awkward shape garden before the design

Having a garden that is an unusual or awkward shape can often feel like a nightmare to deal with.

Actually, though, an awkward shape garden is often a blessing because it enables you to come up with a design that is very unique, that you wouldn’t have been able to do in a regular rectangular shape garden.

So how do you transform an awkward shape garden?

First off, you need to have a design layout. All gardens should be designed (if you want really good results), but none more so than when there are tricky angles. It’s paramount you put your ideas on paper first, to make sure you everything works well and fits properly before you build it!

Design Tip 1 – Take the eyes away from the angles of the garden

Curves and circles are fabulous at doing just that, as your eyes naturally follow the shape of the curves. However, you can also use interlocking box shapes equally well.


In the plan examples above, you will see two designs for the same awkward shape garden. One using interlocking ovals and the other interlocking box shapes. Whilst both work and do the job well, the oval design is a bit more pleasing to the eye, as it is softer to look at and the curves create more interest than just straight lines.

There is no right and wrong time to use curves as opposed to straight lines, it does come down to personal taste. Most people do seem to prefer curved shapes though.

awkward garden design before and after
Before and After Awkward Garden Design

The most important thing is to always, always follow the lines of the house i.e. you put the lines at 90° to the house and not following the angle of the wall fence.

If you follow the fence angle, you end up accentuating the look of the angle rather than disguising it.

You will, of course, end up with some odd shapes, but don’t worry about these because you can easily disguise them with planting.

Design Tip 2 – Distract with height

Adding a tree, pergola, archway or something that draws your eyes up, will also help take them away from any awkward angles. In the garden plans above, we had both a pergola and an arch with a seating area built in.

Having strong focal points forces your attention on something else and away from the odd shape. And of course, planting helps disguise the angles too.

4 examples of awkward shaped garden planting
Angled wall becomes less noticeable with design and planting

Design Tip 3 – Use the leftover spaces creatively

The beauty of an awkward shape garden are the angled leftover bits that you end up with once you’ve got a very defined lawn shape in place. You will see in the first example garden plan that we made use of the space with a stepping stone path winding its way through the garden.

Again, this draws the eye to follow the path and, because you can’t quite see everything in one go, it makes the whole garden look larger and more interesting.

Want to learn more about design?

If you’d like to learn more about the steps involved to transform your garden, then make sure you attend one of Rachel’s FREE fast-track garden design web classes – Register here.

free garden design web class

What about designing awkward shaped sloping gardens?

All the tips above do still apply. My top recommendation when it comes to designing sloping gardens is to first plot out the design layout as if the slope isn’t there

Yes, I know ignoring the problem doesn’t usually work in life, but trust me, on this occasion, it’s the best option. If you give yourself too many ‘issues’ to sort out in one go, the mind is likely to freeze. So work out how you’d shape the garden and then look at the design to see how that works with your level changes and adjust accordingly.

There are more tips for designing a garden that slopes here.

Original Article

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