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.
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.
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 [...]
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 [...]
We completely cleared this small Brighton courtyard, laid grey Indian sandstone and brought in three cloud pruned Olive trees. (It was a miracle we got them through the house.)On the steps we used a bespoke ornamental tile and the Olives are underplanted with Allium Purple Sensations, Libertia peregrinas, Geranium White-ness, Verbena bonsariensis and Gaura. This underplanting will take over from the Alliums to provide lasting summer and Winter interest.
Rugular shrubs like yew, berberis, weigelia and spirea can be made into the most wonderful balls with a variety of colours and textures.