unusual garden ideas

15 Unusual Garden Ideas for your Garden to Talk About

Gardens are more than just green spaces; they are opportunities for creativity, self-expression, and a touch of whimsy. At Cultiv8ed, we have spent a long time studying the beauty of nature and what makes gardens unique, unusual, or even quirky. If you’re looking to break away from traditional garden designs and add a unique flair to your outdoor space, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we will explore a variety of unusual garden ideas that will help you transform your garden into a one-of-a-kind oasis. From desert gardens to classical designs, zen retreats to recycled bottle displays, and everything in between, get ready to be inspired by these unconventional garden concepts.

unusual garden ideas with trees

What Makes for Unusual Garden Ideas?

Before we delve into specific unusual garden ideas, let’s explore what makes a garden design truly unusual.

Unusual garden ideas often involve a combination of unconventional plant choices, intriguing design elements, and unexpected touches that challenge traditional norms. By thinking outside the box and embracing your creativity, you can create a garden that reflects your personality and stands out from the crowd.

Decide which tool you should use for your unusual garden ideas, with our spade vs shovel comparison!

1.     Create a Desert Garden:

unusual garden ideas desert

If you live in a region with a hot and dry climate or simply love the unique beauty of desert landscapes, a desert garden might be the perfect choice for you. Introduce drought-tolerant plants like cacti and succulents to your unusual garden ideas to create a sunbaked look. Incorporate texture and barrel-shaped cacti for added visual interest. Consider using tumbled stones to complete the desert aesthetic. Living walls, featuring vertical-growing succulents, can also be an excellent addition to your desert garden.

2.     Choose a Classical Design:

unusual garden ideas classical

For a garden that exudes elegance and sophistication, consider a classical design. Characterised by exotic embellishments and fanciful allusions, a classical, medium garden design idea can transport you to another era. Line up terraces and pathways with manicured box hedges, and tuck fountains and statues in hidden places to create a sense of discovery and intrigue.

Curious about the best hedge varieties for a terraced garden? Check them out now.

3.     Find Peace in a Zen Garden:

unusual garden ideas zen

If you’re seeking tranquility and serenity, a zen garden can provide a soothing retreat. Use plants sparingly and create garden privacy screens with bamboo and ornamental grasses. Incorporate a shallow chip-gravel pit to rank swirls and patterns, evoking a sense of calmness. Install a small pond as a focal point and adorn your zen garden with stone Buddha statues and lanterns. For an added touch, consider adding a bonsai tree and mixing in outdoor water features.

4.     Recycle Used Bottles:

unusual garden ideas recycle

Embrace eco-friendly gardening by recycling used bottles. Glass containers can be repurposed to store garden items or used as mini-greenhouses or terrariums. Hang them up by windows, on balconies, or fences and walls to create a unique visual display. This quirky garden idea not only adds a touch of creativity but also promotes sustainability. Remember to choose hardy or shady plants for your garden depending on your climate (hardiness zones 4-9) to thrive in these recycled bottle gardens. Keeping your garden eco-friendly will also assist in attracting wildlife to your garden in certain seasons in the year, especially autumn.

5.     Host Butterflies in Your Garden:

unusual garden ideas butterflies

Invite luck and beauty into your garden by attracting butterflies. Butterflies are believed to foretell good fortune. By providing the right environment, you can encourage them to visit your garden. Include plants that interest butterflies, such as Buddleia, Honeysuckle, Phlox, Marigolds, Butterflyweed, and various herbs. These plants will not only attract butterflies but also add vibrant colours and scents to your garden.

6.     Keep the Water Flowing in a Water Garden:

unusual garden ideas water features

Create a tranquil and mesmerising atmosphere by incorporating water features into your unusual garden ideas Include aquatic plants, fish, waterfalls, and pools to enhance the visual appeal and soothing sound of water. Floating plants like Duckweed, Fairy moss, and Water hyacinth, will make for perfect landing points for birds and frogs to enjoy a little tranquility too.

7.     Be Floral with a Rose Garden:

unusual garden ideas roses

Roses have been cultivated in gardens for hundreds of years, and they continue to be a symbol of beauty and elegance. Plant roses along fences, hedges, or trellises to create stunning displays of colour and fragrance. Consider planting climbing roses near trees or structures to add vertical interest and create a romantic ambiance. Train roses to grow over arches or gazebos for a touch of enchantment. Roses are also a great plant for clay soil, so if you own clay soil but don’t know what plants to use, then roses are a great place to start.

8.     Grow Vegetables in Your Own Kitchen Garden:

unusual garden ideas vegetables

Create a sustainable and eco-friendly garden by growing your own vegetables. Cultivate a variety of seasonal produce to reduce your carbon footprint and enjoy the freshness of homegrown food. Add herbs like basil, rosemary, and mint to enhance your culinary adventures. Include vegetables such as arugula, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, and radishes to create a vibrant and productive kitchen garden. You could even mix this up with quirky vegetables such as white carrots in order to meet your unusual garden ideas. Even if you are unsure on how to grow vegetables, we have a great guide on how to start an indoor garden today.

9.     Embrace the Christmas Spirit in a Winter Garden:

unusual garden ideas winter

Transform your unusual garden ideas with a magical winter wonderland. Incorporate hardy plants that thrive in cold climates. Appreciate the beauty of the white landscape and add pops of colour throughout the winter months. Consider including plants like winterberries, snowdrops, cyclamen, mahonia, witch hazel, and American crabapple to create a stunning winter garden. These particular plants will also make great additions for a winter window box.

10.  Shape Up a Sunken Garden:

unusual garden ideas sunken

Ideal for urban surroundings and limited spaces, creating a sunken garden offers a unique and inviting design concept. Dig a hole in the ground and create a concrete or stone patio at a lower level, introducing different levels and heights with walls, planters, and steps. Experiment with plants that have varied leaf colours, shapes, and textures to add visual interest. Raised bedding can be incorporated and consider adding a small fire pit or water features for additional focal points in your unusual garden ideas.

11.  Subtle Landscaping:

unusual garden ideas landscaping

For those who prefer a curated backyard that is both stylish and understated, opt for low trees planted in simple rows of three to create definition. This minimalistic approach elevates the space and adds privacy without overwhelming the yard with high-maintenance features. Explore the use of subtle landscaping techniques to achieve a sophisticated and refined outdoor space within your unusual garden ideas.

12.  Create a Garden Dining Area:

unusual garden ideas dining

Enhance your outdoor entertaining experience by designing a dedicated garden dining area. Build raised borders around the dining spot and fill them with a variety of greenery and bright flowers. This beautiful display will serve as a decorative backdrop, making your guests feel like the centre of attention.

13.  Go Private with Your Garden:

unusual garden ideas private

Create privacy and a sense of seclusion in your unusual garden ideas by incorporating climbing plants. Climbers not only provide beautiful views and backdrops but also attract wildlife. They can be trained to cover walls, fences, or unsightly features in your backyard. Choose low maintenance climbing plants that suit your climate to enjoy the benefits of both privacy and natural beauty.

14.  Relight Your Garden with a Fire Burner:

unusual garden ideas fire burner

Extend the usability of your unusual garden ideas in the evenings by adding a fire burner. Whether it’s a log burner or a fire pit, the warmth and glow of the fire create a cozy atmosphere for gatherings and relaxation. Choose a burner that complements your outdoor aesthetic and colour scheme, and make sure to have marshmallows and graham crackers ready for s’mores!

15.  Go European:

unusual garden ideas european

Transport yourself to another part of the world by incorporating European-inspired garden themes. Moroccan decor can bring vibrancy to your outdoor space with colourful lanterns, intricate designs, and mismatched furnishings. Spanish-style settings, on the other hand, offer a touch of Mediterranean charm with simple tables, bright soft furnishings.

Be Outlandish with your Unusual Garden Ideas

In conclusion, transforming your garden into a unique and quirky outdoor space is an opportunity to express your creativity and infuse your personality into nature. By incorporating unusual garden ideas, you can create a captivating and enchanting oasis that stands out from traditional designs. From desert gardens with drought-tolerant plants and living walls to classical designs featuring elegant embellishments, the possibilities are endless.


What are some unusual design ideas that can enhance my garden?

There are numerous unusual design ideas to consider for your garden. Some popular options include:

Vertical gardening: Using vertical structures like living walls or trellises to grow plants vertically, maximizing space.
Zen gardens: Creating a serene and minimalist space with carefully raked sand, rocks, and minimal plantings.
Sculptures and art installations: Adding unique sculptures or art pieces that complement the garden’s theme.
Fairy gardens: Designing miniature landscapes with tiny houses, figurines, and plants that create a whimsical atmosphere.
Recycled materials: Incorporating recycled or upcycled items such as old tires, pallets, or glass bottles to create functional or decorative elements.

How can I ensure that unusual designs in my garden still look cohesive and visually pleasing?

To maintain visual harmony in your garden, consider the following tips:

Stick to a theme: Choose a consistent theme or style for your unusual designs, ensuring that all elements align with it.
Balance and symmetry: Create balance by placing unusual elements in a way that complements the overall layout of the garden.
Colour coordination: Use a colour scheme that complements the surrounding plants and structures, ensuring a harmonious blend.
Proper scale: Consider the size and proportion of unusual designs to avoid overwhelming or overshadowing other elements in the garden.
Focal points: Strategically place your unique designs as focal points to draw attention and create visual interest.

How can I incorporate unusual designs into a small-sized garden?

Small gardens offer great opportunities for creative and unusual designs. Here are some ideas:

Vertical gardening: Utilize vertical space with hanging baskets, wall-mounted planters, or trellises to maximize growing areas.
Compact sculptures or art pieces: Choose smaller sculptures or art installations that don’t overpower the limited space.
Miniature gardens: Create a small-scale fairy garden or zen garden, making the most of the available area.
Container gardening: Use unusual containers like vintage buckets, teapots, or colourful pots to add a touch of quirkiness to your garden.
Mirrors or reflective surfaces: Place mirrors strategically to create an illusion of more space and enhance the visual appeal.

How can I maintain unusual designs in my garden without excessive effort or expense?

Here are some tips to simplify the maintenance of unusual designs in your garden:

Choose low-maintenance plants: opt for plants that require minimal care and are well-suited to your local climate and conditions.
Select durable materials: Use materials that can withstand outdoor elements and require less frequent repairs or replacements.
Plan for easy access: Ensure your unusual designs are easily accessible for maintenance tasks like watering, pruning, or cleaning.
Use mulch or ground covers: Apply mulch or ground covers around unusual designs to suppress weeds and reduce maintenance needs.
Regular cleaning and inspections: Schedule periodic cleaning and inspections to prevent any damage or deterioration to your unique garden features.


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Amazon.co.uk. (n.d.). Clay Soil. [Accessed 19/05/23] Retrieved from: https://www.amazon.co.uk/clay-soil/s?k=clay+soil

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