10 Big and Small Garden Ideas With Unique Touches

Whether you have a condo balcony or a sprawling lot, you can get a lot of out-of-the-box gardening ideas from these Real Homes

Photography: Michael Angelo Chua & Dairy Darilag (Main Photo)

More often than not, our gardens are an afterthought; an additional expense to be dealt with after the main house has been completed. But a garden can be an extension of the character of the house, be it big or small. Well-tended plantings can also lead the eyes to the main façade and entrance. Take your pick of garden style—for both large family homes or tiny apartments—from these ten examples:


1. Line your walkways with ferns.

Winding pathways encircle the garden leading to architect Joey Manalad’s home, and most of the paths are bordered with Boston ferns, which have a soft, delicate texture that’s easy on the eyes—and easy to maintain. The best part is that these plants can survive in the shade, so you don’t have to change your plant in covered areas.

READ: A 200sqm Weekend Home in Batangas

2. Keep it weathered.

You don’t always have to buy shiny, new outdoor furniture for your garden, especially if you are going for a rustic, provincial look. In Souq, sun and rain-beaten benches (along with lushly draping vines) add character and texture to the restaurant’s outdoor areas.

READ: 5 Places To Visit in Pampanga

3. Add playful garden accessories.

Architect Manalad added this metal wind wheel to his garden, which also acts as an anemometer that determines the speed of the wind in the area. You can find different garden accessories at True Value.

4. Set up an actual Zen garden.

This sprawling, rooftop Zen garden was an ambitious project, but you can create a simplified version in your own yard by corralling in an area with bricks or stones. Pour in gravel or pebbles; add minimal (and simple) ornamental plants, like dwarf bambbo or succulents. Finish the composition with sculptural-looking mini boulders.

READ: Build Your Own Zen Garden

5. Make the plants sparse, your garden furniture bold.

The garden in the middle of this modern-minimalist home matches its style by way of sparse plantings (mostly bromeliads and bamboo), gravel, and brightly colored Acapulco outdoor chairs. You can colorful, designer outdoor chairs from A. Garcia Crafts at LRI Design Plaza. 

READ: A Stunning 450sqm Modern Minimalist Home


6. Draw the eyes up, around, and center.


In this New York-inspired home in Makati, the owners surrounded their atrium with lush, vertical gardens, which draw the eyes up and around the open space. A sculpture by Daniel dela Cruz was placed in the middle of the atrium as a focal point.

READ:  A 600sqm Manhattan-Inspired Family Home

7. Welcome guests with a green wall.

In lieu of artwork, a console table, or a giant mirror, homeowners Armi and Kyle asked a landscape architect to set up a living plant wall in their entry foyer. (You can get your own vertical garden ideas here.)

READ: A Couple’s Four-Storey Industrial Home

8. Use upcycled containers.

Homeowners Angie and Dik are self-confessed “mahilig sa halaman.” Aside from a bonsai garden, they surrounded their 1950s house with succulents, bird’s nest ferns, and other plants stuffed into upcycled ceramic containers lying about.

READ: Unique Planters For Your Garden

9. Paint on a quirky mural.

One of the homeowner’s children painted this delightful mural of Saint Francis of Assisi in one corner of the garden. Even if you don’t know how to paint, you can add calligraphy, or wide swathes of bright color to the fence of your backyard.

10. Bottle-pop it.

In gallery owner Albert Avellana’s Makati apartment, he created a tiny but cozy oasis in the second floor’s open area, since he didn’t have a real yard. “Happy ako na nag-create ako ng outdoor space kasi wala naman akong outdoor area, puro garahe, puro kalye,” he says. Albert decorated it with simple ferns and an “art installation” of wine bottles from past parties (he has a similar fence at the Avellana Art Gallery). 

READ: Cool Art Galleries That Are Worth the Trip

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