I’m delighted to feature in Modern Gardens December Issue in their ‘Ask The Designer’ feature. When it comes to good design it’s all in the detail. This garden was originally a sloping, unusable lawn. Sloping land offers so much potential when it comes to creating level changes and zones within a garden. Steps accentuate the journey through the space. There’s so much you can do with them… floating steps are one fabulous option, but for this garden, I’ve chosen long, staggered steps that fit the brief perfectly with their clean, straight, contemporary lines. The staggered steps lead you up into the garden and make you want to travel through the space. Lighting is also key to accentuating key features like steps and multi-stem trees within a garden. In the winter months, an illuminated garden gives you a lovely view from the house and makes it feel bigger in the darker months. The Buxus balls on either side of the steps help to break up the harsh edges and bring greenery into the large, hard landscaped area which can sometimes feel too harsh and bland. Incorporating planting beds breaks up the space and brings more greenery into the garden, the more plants the better in my opinion. You don’t achieve a tranquil setting if the ratio of hard landscaping is too high. Porcelain paving has been used in this design, bringing a premium feel to the garden. Outdoor porcelain can be sourced in almost any colour, including wooden-effect planks. It’s also non-porous, meaning your garden should still look brand new in 5-10 years’ time.
Boring gardens can also be considered blank canvasses. In most cases, it’s easier to work from scratch rather than designing around existing features. Think about what you want to do in your garden and how you want to feel in the space? What style of garden do you like? Contemporary, Cottage, Japanese, Mediterranean etc. Think about the sounds – would you like to add a water feature? The journey through your garden is the key, it should always feel inviting. Enticing you to explore and reach a relaxing destination.
Plants used in this design are Buxus Balls for their lush greenery, form, and structure; Stipa Tenuissima grasses to bring movement, energy, and a softness to the space; Salvia Caradonna for bright summer purple interest; Hemerocallis ‘Stella de Oro’ Yellow Daylilies for summer colour and contrast against the purple; Cornus sericea ‘Flaviramea’ for their bright green branches for winter interest; Betula utilis var. jacquemontii multi-stem trees for boundary privacy and bark interest.