Outdoor Front Garden Ideas

How to declutter your garden in 5 easy steps

Because mess isn’t limited to the indoors
Abbie Melle

Regardless of whether you’re an avid green thumb or a minimalist lawn mower who loves a trimmed edge, a garden can easily be overrun with worn-down pots, overgrown shrubs and all manner of outdoor furniture, toys and bikes, often left strewn across the lawn. None of which makes for a garden of peace and serenity.

Help is at hand! Professional organiser Jo Carmichael, the founder of All Sorted Out, has some excellent advice on how to declutter your garden by cutting a swathe of calm through your outdoor area with some simple decluttering tricks.  

garden pots
Group lots of pots together to make the mish-mash pots look purposeful. (Credit: Chris Warnes)

1. Pick your pots

Nothing screams mess more than dead pot plants. “Collect all broken pots, and pots with dead plants in them,” says Jo. “Sort the salvageable plants from the truly deceased and group them together in one place. Display your best pots as a group – then discard the rubbishy ones.” If they’re in good condition, try repainting them to present a cohesive grouping.

2. Get a hold of the play equipment 

It’s not just plants that can make your garden and outdoors look cluttered, but also the abandoned sporting gear and trappings of other nature-loving fun. If space allows, incorporate storage into a cubby house or play zone that looks fun and inviting to encourage outdoor fun and games. Otherwise, find a new place to store outside toys to make it easy for kids to pack away at the end of play. “Collect all the toys and balls strewn around the garden and keep them together in one place, such as in baskets or appropriately-sized boxes,” says Jo. “It will instantly make a garden look more restful.”

3. Create your own serenity

Position furniture in your outdoor areas like you would indoors – zone off designated spaces for exploring, active play and cooking, leaving room for relaxed seating and dining. “Create a designated area to sit and be calm, with or without a table,” says Jo. Select and invest outdoor furniture that is built to last and plan the area for maximum comfort and use of available space.

4. Fix your fences and outdoor walls

We all know that paint is the quickest and most affordable way to transform an indoor area and the outside is no different. “Getting around to painting a fence or creating a privacy screen with plants can do wonders for a garden and is an easy transformation,” says Jo. Mend holes in fences yourself or enlist the help of professional tradespeople to patch help or paint rendered walls for a neat and tidy finish.

5. Arrange plants and greenery outside

Whether potted or established in your garden beds, plants strewn around without a cohesive plan look untidy. “Relocate any plants that are arranged haphazardly in the garden and give them purpose,” says Jo. “Such as putting two of the same plant by the front door, or grouped into feature displays.” This is also true of garden beds – don’t be afraid to dig up and move plants that stand alone. Relocate them or underplant trees and shrubs with ground cover or lower-growing species.

  • Just let go. Let dead plants, broken tools, and salvaged ornaments that were never refurbished go on to their next life and either donate or discard them thoughtfully.
  • Embrace a ‘less is more’ approach and allow your garden to feel a little empty before filling it with fresh plants, pots or garden furniture.
  • Decide how many tools you really need, and dispose of any double-ups, broken tools or unused items.
cubby house
Play zone: A cubby house can be used for toy storage when everyone heads back inside. (Credit: Dulux Australia | Styling by Bree Leech)

This article originally appeared on Better Homes and Gardens.

Related stories