Garden Designer Katrina Kieffer-Wells MSGD, works the angles to create a family garden with something for everyone.

Eternal sunshine of the Modern Garden


There was a long wishlist for this family garden in Thorpe Bay, Essex. Plenty of grown-up space for entertaining and ample room for the children to play and run around. It had to be wildlife-friendly, have potential to grow produce and include areas for family time and ‘me-time’.


Practically perfect and family friendly

I wanted to create a richly layered collage of finishes and textures in this family garden. But it had to be practical and beautiful, so I included two lawns and a variety of plants and materials. With carefully placed diagonal pathways, screens and hedgerows, I carved out spaces to eat, relax and play. And by installing quiet seating areas and a herb bed, the garden could be versatile enough to meet the entire family’s needs.

Wonky works in family spaces

I often file away elements from exhibitions and travels to inspire me when I design. Here the use of angles to create movement and space came from an Alexander McQueen exhibition.

Bespoke garden furniture

The idea for bespoke oak seating came from the heavy wooden doors of Florence that I’d marvelled at on holiday. They add a touch of craftsmanship that will stand the test of time and provide a quiet corner when needed.

Lawns – why stop at one?

Multiple lawns give a garden depth. Plus dividing the lawn area allows for different activities and gives everyone room to enjoy the garden their way.


Family gardens: Divide and conquer

If you can, divide your lawn into several parts to allow spaces for children and adults, and make it easier to hide messy toys. Make one astroturf so it can handle paddling pools, muddy boots and anything else the children throw at it.

Work the angles

There is no rule that pathways must be straight. Diagonal paths stress the longer lines, allow for more planting, and create the illusion of space.

Grow your own stuffing

Veg patches require room and work, not to mention sunlight and can be dull in winter. Hide them behind screens or plant a herb garden instead. Soft sage and spiky chives alongside evergreens like rosemary and bay provide interesting textures, foliage and tasty dishes all year round.

family garden design