One of my garden design mentors is Nigel Phillips. Have a look at this lovely garden he designed a few years ago. He takes all the best ingredients of classical garden design and the few twists he adds come from his sense of place and the knowing what will delight the client.
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 [...]
In my last blog I gave some background to Great Dixter.One striking element to the gardens is both the house and strong, dark greens of the Yew topiary. They provide a strong tonal background to the frothier temporal planting of perennials and annuals.This garden is also well known for its use of rare plants and unusual combinations.They beds are saturated in planting detail and even though the gardens are not big one can spend hours there immersed in each 'garden room'.
Just to cheer you up with a dose of green I found these photos of Great Dixter's garden that I took last Summer.Great Dixter was built by Edwin Lutyens in 1910 in the Arts and Crafts style as an ad on to a 15th Century farm house.It was his son, Christopher Lloyd who created the innovative gardens that the house is now famous for.In 2006 Fergus Garrett took over as Head Gardener and he has carried on the experimental, out of the box planting choices and schemes in the spirit of Christopher Lloyd.I love the Giant Fennel, Ferula communis, and [...]
When you look out your window how does your garden look this Winter? It is full of colourful berries and brightly stemmed shrubs, the bark of selected winter trees, interesting structures like internal hedges and topiary plus colourful evergreens peppered amongst winter branches? If not you might like to read on. A Winter Garden can be a thing of great beauty. As the cold and the lack of sunlight have denuded the garden and the rich juice of Summer has retreated into roots and trunks and bulbs, the bare bones of a garden can give a deep sense of artistry [...]
One of my mentors, Amanda Patton, works on the basis that the structure of a garden needs to be beautiful even before any plants are put in. Though plants are the blood and soul of a garden if the structure is not right the space will look unformed or cluttered. As with oil painting the longer one spends getting the proportions right the easier the colours can be added, and even if the colours aren't right the picture still hangs together because of the underlying geometry. This integrity is vital especially in Winter as the deciduous plants are pared back to [...]
In this garden we finished in early Summer we used a way of shaping the borders reminiscent of Rudolf Steiner.Rather than simple curves or square shapes, the shape we used blended both to create a smooth river effect yet with more dynamic sharper angles.Doing edges this way makes a smaller space appear larger with the dynamic angles acting as portals to stronger energies, seeming to refer to a greater landscape.
This garden design, which we implemented this February, aims at creating what you might find in an hour walking in the countryside, into a single space.We extended the patio and made new brick planters with more formal planting.We created a formal lawn from high quality turf and in the remainer of the large lawn area we seeded with acid perennial wildflowers and an annual cornflower mix. This wildflower meadow will flow down the garden and on the right hand side reach a new wildlife pond.Behind the pond we planted the dark green Portuguese Laurel to v=create an atmospheric grove with [...]