You have to look the hardest in February for beauty. January is survival time, March and April throw themselves at you but in February, Spring is around the corner yet nowhere to be seen or felt. You can make a start by going to a nursery to find plants in colour now and plan a surprise for yourself next year.
Charleston House- Where the Bloomsbury Group applied all their sense of humour, spontaneity and creativity to the inside of a humble English Cottage. The interior brims with painted baths and wardrobes, tables, chairs and fireplaces. The garden is equally quirky and fascinating having been kept in the spirit of the owners with many original sculptures still in place.
Regent's Park has many wonderful secrets and here are a few of them, including a bronze sculpture in St John's Garden. Spot the images- the oldest tree, an oak, in the park, the strange nodules of Taxodium distichum (no one knows why they appear), the unusual Helleborus 'Silver Dollar' and an old Horse Chestnut silhouetted against the sky.
To my mind there are five golden principles for garden design.1) Making a garden serve the functional needs of the person2) Having good structural bones3) Proportionally well balanced4) Interest throughout the seasons5) An adventure in colour and toneThe following photos I took on my trip to Australia. Notice how the background colour is just as important as the focal colour (You can imagine swapping it for another colour and notice how that would change the whole composition)
A garden can still look good in January and the leaf colour and texture of evergreens mixed with deciduous shrubs can have its own beauty. But I have been thinking that it is not just the aesthetics of January that is relevant in this month, but our whole attuned towards nature. This got me thinking about Yin and Yang. Most simply, the theory of Yin and Yang describes a world being made up not of opposite and opposing forces, but an experience in life where events and things are actually connected, sometimes complimentary and more often interdependent. So Winter is not the [...]
A good garden design needs good bones.Your garden has to look good even on a grey rainy day in Winter.If you achieve this with structure such as flint walls, hedges, pergolas and paths then when Summer comes and everything explodes in lush greens and vivid colours the structure will support and frame the beauty that you have created.Here are some images of structure in nature I have seen over the last month which no doubt is already informing me as I design.Here is the great Montezuma pine at Sheffield Park, the skirt of new growth at the base of an ancient [...]
The client's brief was to transform their garden into something 'neat but abundant' that would also be football and trampoline friendly (which we sunk into the ground to minimalist its impact on the eye). We moved the patio to the back of the garden into a lovely sun trap. Even though the design is relatively contemporary with Indian sandstone, metal Corten steel edging and pleached Hornbeam we used second hand Victorian garden tiles along the west edge to give a hint of the origin of the house as well as introducing curves to balance the geometric nature of the rest of [...]
My clients wanted to make their garden feel more accessible from the kitchen having put in beautiful floor to ceiling sliding doors.The first thing I did was to choose a porcelain tile with a weathered oak affect. I decided on a slightly larger tile to create both a seamless effect as well as indicating it was a change to an outdoor space.We also raised the level of the patio so now my clients can walk straight out into the outdoors without stepping down. It is surprising what a difference this makes.We clad the raised planters with Cedar wood which, if [...]
June is a productive month to revisit gardens that we have designed and built, especially when the work was done in Winter or early Spring. During that time plants arrivde and once planted the perennials could only be noticed by a few small sticks. It takes all my efforts to assure clients that there is more to come!In this garden the overriding design theme was tranquility. We choose woodland plants to suit the large Cedar in the back garden. At the back the clients wanted a more open prairie feel so we used Sesleria autumnal and because the soil was heavy clay [...]
The whole front garden was just shingle onto of old brick and concrete. The worse the garden the better for me as the transformation is that much more delightful.My clients wanted a front garden design that would compliment and enhance the front of their newly renovated house. They still wanted an area to drive into the property to park and they wanted the bed to be very low maintenance.I separated the drive area from the garden with a mixed evergreen hedge and a bespoke black metal arch to match the curve of the arch over the doorway and the metal trim [...]