Archives for May 2013

If you’ve got a long one, then it needs to be a tease…

One of the keys to having your garden look great is down to how you divide up the space within it. I find the well worn phrase of ‘garden rooms’ really annoying (don’t know why, I just do), so I’m going to try to explain what I mean about dividing the space in your garden, without using the ‘r’ word. We’ll see how I get on.

Hidden-GardenDifferent shape gardens need different space divisions. For today, I’ll concentrate on long, narrow, and rectangular shape gardens, as that’s what the vast majority of people tend to have. We’ll look at what to do with wide and awkward shape gardens in future blog posts. The main principles though, do apply to all gardens.

Why divide your garden up at all?

The short answer: to make it look more interesting.

The slightly longer answer: when we can’t quite see everything in one go, it creates an illusion of space, size and creates intrigue. What is around the corner?

Now, to be clear, you do not have to have solid divisions, like a fence or wall to divide space in your garden. It can be really subtle. For instance, the shape of the plant border jutting out in carefully selected locations, that slightly obscures certain parts of your garden from view, yet allows tantalising glimpses that make you want to see more.

So, basically, you need your garden to be a bit of a tease.  Flaunt the best bits, with the promise of something more just slightly hidden around the next corner or bush…

To do this all comes down to how you divide up space and what shapes you use in each section of the garden.

Subtle use of space division from patio and planting border shapes

Really subtle space divisions from patio and planting border shapes

What else do you need to do?

LongGdnCoverSMIf you’d like more pointers on exactly what to do with your long, narrow or rectangular shape garden, it just so happens, that there is a brand-new mini course I’ve put together,  called, wait for it, the Long Garden Formula.

Next week we’ll look at small space gardening. I’ve got a stunning little Moroccan influenced courtyard garden to show you, a perfect example of what can be achieved in the tiniest of spaces.

Not ready for a course yet but want to learn more?

Attend one of our FREE Fast Track Garden Design online classes…

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Gardens that disappoint – the Chelsea Flower Show

Have you been watching the coverage of the world’s greatest gardens, the Chelsea Flower Show in London? What do you think of the gardens this year?

Chelsea Flower Show Display Garden from a few years ago...

Chelsea Flower Show Display Garden from a few years ago…

I hate to admit it, but I’m really not enjoying the gardens. In fact, if I’m really honest, I haven’t for a few years now…

After watching the garden coverage on TV, I think I’ve turned into a ‘grumpy old woman’ (though that might be the result of a recent significant-ish birthday). If my grumpiness isn’t a result of the ‘0’, then is it because we are getting the same old gardens repackaged at Chelsea each year, but with slightly different gimmicks?

The Chelsea Flower Show used to be the highlight of my year. I’d go down to London, full of excitement, with an armful of cameras and film, fight my way through the crowds and walk round in awe at the amazing and inspiring gardens. Now I’m sitting in front of the TV, yawning or muttering, “They did that garden three years ago. That one is a re-hash of so and so’s garden and why on earth did they do that!”

What’s the problem?

Is it age that’s making me fed up with all the gimmicks and metaphors that designers seem to be spouting on about, or have the gardens lost their true essence these days? Has anyone designed a Chelsea garden this year for no other reason than to create a stunning garden to inspire people?

I feel when designers are focusing too much on the concepts and trying to add things they wouldn’t normally, for the sake of their theme, the gardens lose something as a result.

Bad design examples

What’s really making me grumpy is seeing gardens that don’t flow and work as a garden that well. I’m seeing designs that are nothing more than a series of unrelated features. They don’t utilise the space well. Some shapes even make the garden look narrow and awkward. And don’t get me started on the practicalities of actually mowing those odd shaped lawns!

Now, in fairness, I haven’t yet seen all of the main gardens on TV yet, so I am really hoping that there will be a garden that’s well designed, so I can say “Wow, I want to design a garden like that!”

I know how incredibly hard everyone involved with the show works. It’s no mean feat getting a garden built to the high specifications, deadlines and pressure that goes with the world’s greatest garden show. I just want to see less gimmicks and metaphors (when did a garden EVER need a metaphor) and more inspiring design.

I want REAL gardens.

Perhaps then, Chelsea isn’t the place for that. It is a show after all.


What do you think about this year’s Chelsea Flower Show?

Hopefully, it is just me that’s feeling jaded with the Chelsea this year. I hope that other people are feeling inspired. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below…

Do you need help with your Garden (with no gimmicks)?

Attend one of our FREE Fast Track Garden Design online classes…

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