As a rule, we are only really exposed to the skills of
landscape gardeners in TV ‘make-over’ programmes and
magazine articles. Both these mediums fail to properly
illustrate the skill it takes to design the ultimate garden
and have often been photo-shopped to within an inch of
their lives! Horticultural detail and technical content are,
at best, sketchy.
My aim is to include a more detailed, inclusive ‘education’
exchange between me and my customers! For example,
an immediately planted garden might look perfect – but
what about when its 6 months or a year old? How often
do the plants spread the wrong way or take over space
allocated for more delicate, tender shoots to make their
way in the border? Often designers who lack the
horticultural knowledge will place entirely the wrong
plants and shrubs together resulting in a fight to the
Enthusiasm for the developing, maturing garden means
that a skilled landscape garden designer will take the long
view. Gardens evolve over time, look different with each
season and often provide lovely surprises for their visitor.
Many gardens are spoilt by over developing the so-called
‘features’. The position of the obligatory rose archway
needs, at least, to be placed in the correct place – i.e.
where the rose grows towards the sun AND around the
Garden features used in many gardens can end up
looking like carbon copies of your ‘typical’ garden.
Always including a pergola, stepping stones, paving,
miniature pieces of lawn – full of moss…. I could go on. A
classic error is to use Indian sandstone, which looks
pristine when it’s first laid, and is cheap. Then, a year
later, said stone has become weaker through a cold
winter, been jet washed (by an apparently diligent owner
removing not only the dirt but the pointing and top layer of
stone), newly cleaned stone then freezes and starts to
crumble. Not so cheap now is it?
Other considerations need to include colour schemes,
seasonal changes, proportion of herbaceous v annual v
biennial v shrubs, type of soil, growth habits (conical,
spreading, spherical) and will the weeds be suitably
suppressed by the correct combination of plants?
What we can do together is to design something more
appealing and original.