The wet weather has truly arrived. Soon, the leaves will be turning a distinctive shade of ochre, and the nights will be drawing in. Summer, late arriving this year, has gone: and that means that it’s time for gardeners across the country to switch their focus.

Autumn is a time for tidying and preparation, as well as a chance to harvest some of the more iconic items of produce. But that doesn’t mean we need to forget about the aesthetics. With the right setup, we can ensure that the space looks spectacular, even when the conditions are a little bit more autumnal.

Identify the focal point

Our first task should be to decide where the garden’s focal point is. This is where the eye will immediately be drawn whenever we step into the garden. Most gardens will have a natural focal point, in the form of a particularly imposing tree, or a water feature.

If your garden lacks a definitive focal point, then it might be that you can create one. In cases where multiple features are competing for attention, you might scale one of them back, so that the other can truly shine.

Where there isn’t any notable feature, it’s time to create one. The corner opposite the person entering the garden, or the very centre of the space, tends to make for a great location for a focal point.

Right lighting and layout

Ask any outdoor photographer about autumn, and they’ll tell you that you can get some truly striking images thanks to the low-hanging sun, which can cast long and imposing shadows in the morning, making everything really ‘pop’.

For much of the time in autumn, however, it’ll be dark – which means using artificial light. Here’s where you can draw attention to your focal point. Place a few lights strategically around it, so that any interesting surfaces are being lit. Put the lights close to the structure, and you’ll exaggerate the shadows; further away, and you’ll make things a little more even. Try to create a balance between lights around the focal point and the rest of the garden.

The lights themselves can also be a source of visual interest. Using decorative lights for the garden in many forms can elevate the look and overall feel of your outdoor space. String lights, spotlights, path lights, and underwater lights all serve different roles. Try to set them up at various heights. You might even use timers and sensors so that your lights only come to life when they’re needed.

Experiment with Colours

Autumn is a time when a different kind of flower and seasonal veg comes into its own. You might look to these plants as inspiration for your colour scheme more broadly. Install furniture and other accessories that match the look of your plant life. In autumn, that will tend to mean favouring warmer hues – but there’s no limit to the things you can achieve with colour in the garden. Think not just about how things will look for this season, but in winter, too.

Highlight Natural Elements

A garden is an outdoor space – and it will be at its most appealing if it’s based around plant life. Try to make the plants themselves the star of the show, rather than relegating them to a supporting role. If you’re looking to remodel a garden that’s been allowed to grow wild, then think about how you can shape the existing plant life to suit the space, rather than cutting everything back and starting from a blank slate.

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