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Nigel Phillips- Classical Garden Design

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.
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Structure in Garden Design

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 Sweet Chestnut, Rhododendron branches next to a lake, Halloween pumpkins still in a field, Yew topiary and the seeds of the wonderful Handkerchief tree.

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Before and After- Garden Design to make the most of a space

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 of the design.

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Contemporary Design of Garden Patio in Brighton

My clients wanted to make their garden feel more accessible from the kitchen having put in beautiful floor to ceiling sliding doors.

The first thing I did was to choose a porcelain tile with a weathered oak affect. I decided on a slightly larger tile to create both a seamless effect as well as indicating it was a change to an outdoor space.

We also raised the level of the patio so now my clients can walk straight out into the outdoors without stepping down. It is surprising what a difference this makes.

We clad the raised planters with Cedar wood which, if a client is diligent with varnish, will keep its deeper red colour. We paralleled this process with horizontal trellis along the two fences.

Herbs and roses adorn the raised planters and there is still a generous opening to the lawn to allow  adults and especially children to flow out into the rest of the garden.
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This pond in East Sussex had such a lovely curve at the approach end from the house that I decided to extend the design of the new decking over the pond and follow the curve for one end to the other.

Once the wood silvers in colour it will look like it has always been there. 

Large sways of ornamental grasses and perennial plants will link up the pond to the house and create a real journey from the courtyard garden of the back of the house to the pond, whereas at the moment thee is just lawn.

Paradoxically a large lawn can make a garden feel limited in size whereas curved borders full of rich planting, variation in heights and divided up spaces can evoke mystery and on going exploration. This slows down time, whereas an expanse of lawn can limit oneself to the time it takes to mow it!

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