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Overview

Planning and planting a formal garden can transform your outdoors. With their simple geometric designs and defined edges, you arrange your plants, hedges, and walkways symmetrically in in circular, rectangular, or square designs. This guide shows you the kinds of plants to use, how to look after them and the importance of having a focal point.

Steps

1Plan your formal garden

Start with a sheet of paper and sketch out the area you want to turn into a formal garden. Consider which plants and trees you'll use and where you'll put them. Also think about pathways, the use of pavers and walls. Remember, a formal garden is all about symmetry, repetition and structure.

2Choose the plants

When choosing the plants to use in your formal garden, make sure the climate is right for them. Choose three to five different plants for your garden and repeat the order their planted in, to create a symmetrical pattern.

3Easy to grow plants for a formal garden.

If you're just starting out, there are three plants that are ideal for creating a formal garden - English Box, Standard Lilly Pilly and Lavender. They're easy to grow and simple to maintain.

4Look after your formal garden

As well as making sure your formal garden is well-watered and fertilised, it's important to trim your plants up to four times a year to keep them in good shape. Ideally, this should happen at the end of every season. Trim the English Box so that it stays low and looking formal. Cut the Lilly Pilly so that it keeps its round shape. Trim the lavender to keep it looking neat and tidy.

5Create a focal point in the garden

A focal point is one of the most effective ways of creating a sense of design and impact in your garden. It's something that draws your attention. It could be by placing plants at the end of a pathway, a statue or water feature, or a large tree.

6Keep your colours simple but vary the height

Some of the best formal gardens are very simple. So when planning your design, stick to an easy colour palette. Pastels work well together, so does mixing bold colours together, and bold and pastels of the same tone look good. Also use plants of different heights. They are visually appealing and help add texture to your garden.

7Be adventurous

Formal gardens are very stylised, but you can still be adventurous. Try using native plants or even exotic Mediterranean plants to give your formal garden a different look.

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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.