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This client has recently retired have bought a large property in Chingford, Essex. He was looking for a garden designer in Chingford that could deliver a solution for his overgrown space. The garden measured well over 200 foot had recently been cleared, but was sloping quite drastically from right to left. The client wants to incorporate many things into his garden so full design throughout was needed. Directly adjoining the back door would be hardwood non-slip decking. There would be a decked walkway going across the pond which the client keeps koi carp in. The decking then joins an indian sandstone patio which would be suitable for dining and entertaining. Spanning this a Pergola offers some respite from the midday sun and encourages the user to travel to the next section. This would take you to a specifically requested raised bed for growing dahlias. An indian sandstone patio will incorporate a summer house which overlooks Chingford Reservoir. The fourth space was an area of grass small enough for the clients to manage and also small enough to be artificial lawn should the need arise. Fruited espalier would divide the area from the final section which will be a workshop and to the right, a tool shed. Planting in the space was to be vibrant, and seasonally interesting. The client was keen gardener and was happy to help choose the plants to create a dream space.
One of the things I get asked foremost in my designs is a how to bring the inside outside. Sitting outside but making the space feel like an outside lounge is a really desirable option for a lot of people. There is nothing better than on a summers day to be sat outside, in comfort, in a beautifully planted and designed exterior space.
If you’re brave enough, it’s fun to bring little elements of the lounge out into the garden. There are many aspects of the interior which you can translate outdoors. In many of our outside spaces, we have included Wall Art. Taking a popular image and placing in an outdoor campus by hanging it on a vertical space in the garden works a treat every time and is relatively low cost.
You can play with fire in the garden by including a fireplace, either purpose-built or a reclaimed Victorian fireplace at intervals around, works really nicely. Couple that with the mantlepiece and you really have set the stage for the outdoor room.
Furniture is obviously very important. I try and encourage clients to really consider how they wish to use the space, particularly if it is small. I think our automatic notion is to have a table and chairs in the garden, however, if it was a choice of sitting on a soft and comfortable sofa or sitting at the table for a prolonged period of time, I would prefer the ‘sit soft’ option. You could also unite an outdoor room by adding a tiled rug on to the floor. There are many outdoor options available for this but simply a change in paving from black to white, slate to limestone can help to centralise and streamline an area and make it feel like your interior. Play around with ideas, look at your lounge and see how you wish to translate that into your garden. It works, it really does.
This client was looking for a garden designer in Chelmsford. They have a large suburban garden and wanted to utilise the space as much as possible. They were keen gardeners and had recently included a greenhouse towards the back left of the space. They also wanted to make sure the bottom of the garden was to be utilised thereby we included a fruited espalier tree to run along the back. It would also benefit from including a table and chairs in the back right hand of the corner. Two dramatic large ellipses of lawn would dominate the space. The one at the back was to be bounded by raised beds in blocks and painted white. A walkway which will be covered with A142 mesh, will be made into a tunnel at the centre running through the garden. A seconds panel allows you to travel to the lawn near the house. The first ellipse of lawn will incorporate the existing Magnolia tree. A142 mesh screening helps extend the garden and add heights inside the beds. The first ellipse of sandstone paving, incorporates a fixed bench seat and an oval table. This area was slightly lower than the rest of the garden so a step up to the lawn was required with a wall running around the inside helping it feel a sunken garden. The patio would run in a straight line, parallel to the house to ensure the exits across the back of the house will meet.
Everybody likes to have something that looks more expensive than it actually is. I am not by any means saying that all designers can produce a budget garden, but there are often cheap tricks that can make garden seem more expensive than it actually is.
Having a garden designed by a designer can often save you money, as having done this for over 15 years I know which items cost more money and also which features we have added into gardens that really pack a punch without making too big a dent in your wallet. I often think that if you step outside of your comfort zone and add a feature, material or item that you wouldn’t normally have considered, or is ordinarily part of that additional garden, you can really up the ante. Adding in these ideas often make your garden see more expensive certainly demonstrating that you may have researched gardens thoroughly, and also even employed the services of a garden designer to assist you in the layout and planning of the space. Challenge yourself with colour for example, use the luxiourious dark greys and blacks for your fences rather than traditional browns or greens. Plant one plant in great big drifts rather than one or two of a lot of different plants, this adds a real designers twist to any space. Planting one of each things makes a garden very busy and makes it difficult to create rhythm and style. Tempting I know, but try and avoid, especially in small gardens. Create levels where possible, it adds journey to the space and makes it more interesting and exciting for the end user. Add vertical lines, an archway, a trellis in an interesting material or a feature wall which will take the eye skyward. The garden is somewhere where you can be whimsical, try out new things, let your imagination run a little bit ahead of itself. The end results will pay dividends.
This free flowing garden design would be an ideal family garden design.
Inspired by a Japanese bedding cover from 1850 it’s free flowing dynamic shapes moves across the space and creates the sumptuous arcs and curves which could be packed full of planting. The bedding, simple in its colour is bold in its design and will lend itself to a wonderful organic sumptuous design, striking and luxurious in its appearance.
A woodland, natural style would really work well with the shapes and use of the pathway would carve a space and create pockets for a garden swing, den, or hide out. Soft ferns could nestle in with woodland bulbs, bluebells, snowdrops etc to create a really soft natural planting. Hydrangeas, peonies and viburnums could further compliment this scheme and echo the big blousey white blooms shown in the furnishing. Purple crocus, bluebells and crocus accentuate the cool colours depicted in this bedding, while dicentra spectabilis alba, astilbe rivularis and helleborus × hybridus ‘Double Ellen White’ offer further white ground cover in a shady spot.
Deep swirls and curves can be reproduced in the surfacing with either cobbles sunken into cement, pebble mosaic or gravel retained with some edging such as setts or a metal strip. The curves opening out into areas designed for relaxing or entertaining. Areas for children’s play equipment can be hidden amongst the planting or suspended from trees within the space.
Secret pockets of exploration would also work well, a hidden folly, a small campfire area, a willow den. All of these would be great for any family garden design and easily achievable within the style. The entertainment areas can set be in with a paved circle in sandstone or slate to provide ample space for a dining table and chairs or sun loungers. The pathway connecting the two clearings can widen as much as is required to include another area for another item of furniture, a bench, table, swing etc.
This client was looking for a garden designer in Chalkwell. They’ve owned their family home for a number of years and her three boys were all keen sportsman. The garden was tired and neglected and used as a cricket pitch and a little else. Their aim was to create a huge family space for the boys to enjoy as they grew older. They wanted to include a swimming pool with potential access to the house as all the boys enjoyed swimming and I felt this would be a great asset to the garden. A large area of artificial lawn would provide minimal maintenance for them and the undulating curves around the edge of the garden would form various patios and planting beds. An Indian sandstone patio directly outside the house would connect to patio areas towards the back of the garden. This area will be suitable for dining and could houses a large round table and chairs for multiple occupancy. The sandstone patio on the left hand side would used for sofas and coffee tables and would add a more relaxed setting. It could also include a fire pit for when the sun went down. Pleached trees across the back of the garden would allow for privacy in the garden and screen tennis courts beyond. The swimming pool was to be cited in the back right hand corner of the garden and have a decking floor. Bi fold doors in the house would mean that the garden becomes part of the house.
Whatever the size of your garden, even if you are creating a small garden design, adding texture to a garden has a really important part to play. Adding different materials can create interest and becomes a talking point within the garden. Taking a traditional ground surface along the ground or up a wall puts texture in a different context. The combination of soft and hard, spiky and round shines through in different textures.
Add something industrial like a gabion or rusty steel reinforcing mesh next to a fern or flowering perineal and you immediately create a great juxtaposition for opposition of texture. This trick of adding interest in any space can be done on the most subtle of levels. Think how a soft fluffy cushion on a leather sofa works.
You can translate this through hard landscaping and planting. Adding an aggregate, such as cobbles or pebbles in between paving slabs also creates an exciting other material within the landscape. There are a great for adding texture and because they are tactile, it makes you want to stroke them and handle them. By adding this dimension to any garden you are upping your game by stimulating the sense to touch. Adding different textures also facilitates the option of adding different colours, even if it is across a neutral palette. One of the easiest ways to add a variety of textures into any garden design is by using something like a gabion. You are able to put different materials into each square cage allowing for a myriad of rough and smooth, round and square, sharp and soft. Grasses are great plants to use to mix textures up in the garden. If you add grass into your planting scheme it instantly creates movement and offers a whole different texture against other plants. Mixing Buxus with Lavender for example creates great results. Give it a go, see what a difference it makes to your garden!
This garden design in West London, needed some love and attention. The client has recently bought a basement flat and compared to the property the garden is very large. There is of little interest to offer and currently and the gardens is covered with twigs and leaves. The client had a dog and this needs to be considered in the final design. A patio will be created using white slab travertine paving which will be laid in a row parallel to the house at about four metres deep. A bespoke raised day bed will be made and will allow for lounging and storage and a table will be made from wood panels or tiles for relaxing and eating. It will also house underneath storage for cushions or tableware. Three planters to the left will add a block of colour and rhythm. The Moroccan tile rug placed within the travertine patio will give an exotic feel and add texture. A large timber frame spanning the width of the table would be somewhere to hang a Moroccan lantern. A large area of artificial lawn is placed across the garden and will ensure the space remains low maintenance as the clients spend quite a lot of time out of the country. A slightly raised bed towards the back of the garden houses a big leafy Dicksonia Antarctica tree and underneath will be a selection of long flowering herbaceous perennials. A Moroccan water fountain would take centre stage at the back of the garden. The existing tree to the bottom left of the garden is due to remain and will sit next to a lounging area, again in travertine paving and will provide a second seating area for the client and the opportunity to hang a swing or a ball chair from the existing tree.
Creating interest in a small garden design can be tricky. It needs to deliver on a number of levels, practically, aesthetically and often low maintenance to cope with busy lifestyles. If you’re looking to create a quirky garden feature or just want to make some low-level updates to your space these fern plant supports from Stray Spark really ticks the box. Made from hand forged curved bars this organic sculpture can sit within a planted bed creating height and structure as well as winter interest. As they claim on the website “gives height to the border without taking up too much space”. You could leave it as a stand alone feature or use a clematis as a climber to twine through it as a support. The great thing to remember about anything like this is it takes seconds to install and can be done by anybody. I think it would be a great talking point in any garden, well worth some air time!
The concept of the room in the garden has caught on more and more in the last 20 years. Since the idea of garden designer was actually born and became popular and accessible for the masses, more and more garden pods, offices, structures, summerhouses, shades and dens have been designed into outside spaces. I love them. Not only do they create intimacy they also help zone a garden. At its simplest form, a room can be created by using a garden pergola. Here are some pergola screening ideas which will make you think differently. Not only does the pergola help to divide the space and create a focal point for entertainment or relaxation, it can also help with screening and privacy. It offers a great opportunity to throw some interesting shadows and light play within the space. If you get a pergola correct, the shadows that it can create on the floor can be exciting to behold. Adding shading to the garden is also important as not everybody likes to bake in the sunshine. It offers a vertical interest and the opportunity for climbers to thrive. I truly believe that every garden should have an element of a vertical structure even if it is something as simple as an archway to take that eye up, where the sky is literally the limit.