The word design, while often misinterpreted, is best described as the molding of ideas and features into a reasonable and workable whole. A perfect example of a well designed small garden is “Overleaf” (Jon and Verna’s garden in the television series) which combines several basic principles of good design. Most gardens suffer from over-complication, as one should remember a good garden is simple and workable.
Simplicity brings with it a degree of constraint and this in turn imposes a sequence of planning that not only prevents confusion but gives the complete composition continuity. In basic terms, design is the creation of patterns and those patterns can be organized and planned in just the same way as you would tackle interior decoration inside the home.
One’s house is a reasonable starting point for any garden design as the building already has an architectural model which should be reflected in the paved areas, paths or patio that surround it. Here you can use a series of complex rectangles that project from the corners of the house or pick up the line of doors or windows. Crisp rectangular precast slabs, solid pieces of natural stone, or the pattern of brick paving, will all be perfect for reinforcing that connection between house and garden.
Different factors can come into play here too, a color outline inside the house can be retained out along an bordering wall, or plants can be grouped on either side of the glass of patio doors, disguising and softening the division between inside and out.
Disjointed materials like crazy paving tend to be visually disturbed and while they may be fine for an affable sitting area towards the bottom of the garden, moderated by grass and planting, they are often too flaring to adjoin the building.
Just increasing distance from the house brings informality. In the middle and more distant parts of the garden you can start to use strong flowing curves that not only lead the eye away from those almost inevitable rectangular boundaries but furnish a real feeling of movement which can in turn make a feeling of greater space.