How to Use Mathematics to Design a Beautiful Garden

Let’s rewind to your school days, where PE and lunch were the topics you looked forward to, and maths was the inconvenient subject that you weren’t too bothered about, because who needs trigonometry, right? 

Well, the truth is maths applies to so many aspects of our lives, and while you don’t need to be able to perform complex calculations, knowing the basics will help you a great deal. 

One such area where maths is essential in gardening. Knowing how to perform calculations and use angles to enhance your outdoor space will help you design and implement stunning gardens. 

Before we reveal how to use mathematics to design a beautiful garden, let’s get one thing clear; you don’t need to be Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting to apply the rules of maths to your gardening. All you need is some basic knowledge, a set of gardening tools and a calculator. 

Let’s dive in. 

Basic Mathematics For Planting


Basic maths play an essential role in garden design, and luckily, everyone knows how to perform foundation sums. Plants should be evenly distributed throughout your garden, especially if you have a central colour theme. You can arrange your plants by applying addition and subtraction. 


Choosing the right plants can save you a lot of time and money because certain plants won’t grow in cold and wet climates. For example, spreader plants will last longer than two years, but you need to know how many you’re planting to ensure you don’t overcrowd your garden. 


Subtraction is all about removing unwanted or potentially harmful plants from their area and moving them somewhere else. You should permanently remove them when they’re small and plant them in other areas of your garden. 


a sheet of paper in a box, a ruler and a protractor

Well, the adding and subtraction part was easy enough, but it gets a little bit more complicated with geometry. Nevertheless, every landscape design specialist uses geometrical practices to create welcoming spaces. So let’s take a look at how simple mathematical rules can help you design a stunning garden. 


Minor aspects of geometry come into place with designing garden fences and planters. It’s relatively easy to measure areas, but it’s also vital that you get it right. Using a tape measure, you should calculate the perimeter of your garden and use it to source the correct amount of materials. 

In most cases, when you purchase a bag of soil, it will describe the area it will fill. You’ll need to calculate how many bags of soil you need by dividing the overall area by the size of the pack. 


Although symmetry requires less calculation, it’s often the thing people struggle with most. Perhaps the reason for this is symmetrical gardening is more about having an eye for design instead of calculations. 

You have to think about the flowers and furniture that compliment your garden design and how each element works to maintain the overall symmetry. For example, if you have a long pathway, then lining it with shrubbery will enhance the length – but each side needs to match perfectly. 

If you’d like some support to define and maintain symmetrical elements within your garden, you can hire a garden layout specialist to help you create the outdoor area of your dreams. 

Square-Foot Gardening 

Square-foot gardening is one of those ingenious inventions that has let so many people enjoy designing and planting an outdoor space, regardless of how small or big your garden is. 

It works by sectioning off your garden into four-foot squares, which you can then plant vegetables and herbs in. The idea is to provide just enough space for each plant to grow without taking up too much of your garden. 

Square-foot gardening is geometry at its most basic level and learning how to use it gives you an excellent basis for practising other techniques. 

Slopes & Shapes 

flowerbed with bushes and a statue in the background

Defining how to make more space in your garden through shapes and slopes can be incredibly helpful. In some cases, you can use slopes to maximise a small space and add layers to your garden. 

Tiered gardens provide further dimensions, which are ideal for multi-use outdoor areas. Pet areas, play areas and dining areas can all be separate, which means everyone will enjoy the garden. 

You can also use shapes to create a unique garden design, including building your own raised planters. While most people prefer square or rectangle planters, there’s nothing to stop you from opting for a triangle – which you can measure and build by using the Pythagorean theorem. 

Even Plants Were Designed With Maths in Mind

Whether you believe in creation or evolution, one thing’s for sure; we live on an incredible planet, where nature often gives us some of the most extraordinary plants, scenery and animals to marvel at. It’s interesting to learn that most plants have natural symmetry. 

Mint Family: Each member of the mint family of plants has square stems. 

Dogwood: Take a look at the dogwood plant, and you’ll notice that each side has the same number of leaves. 

Fibonacci Sequence: Many flowers have the Fibonacci sequence, where each number is the sum of the two previous numbers. For example, a basic sequence goes like this: 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34 – and it goes on and on. 

When it comes to flowers, the sequence often occurs with a centre that spirals out into the Fibonacci sequence. Take a look at chamomile and other popular flavours to see if you can notice it. 

The Takeaway 

Using mathematics to design your garden doesn’t need to be difficult, and it’s a great way to dust off those textbooks and give your brain some exercise. Better still, if you have children, then get them to help out. They can do all of the calculations, and you won’t need to! 

Gardening is meant to be a fun hobby, and using mathematics to design a beautiful garden means you can create a symmetrical space that immediately invites people to enjoy it. For more tips on planting, designing and everything else related to gardening, don’t forget to follow our blog.

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