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Garden Design - Inspiring colour from Nature



Normally when you design a planting scheme you need to get the structure right- this is the right proportion of volumes and shapes. Next is tone - creating a mix of deep dark foliage plants, light airy plants, making sure the leaf textures and light reflective qualities of each plant make a good contrast. My oil painting teacher, Jason Tremlet, suggests looking at your composition with blurred eyesight so as not to be distracted by colour.

But then there is colour. Glorious colour. It is not really a matter of painting by numbers. Indeed often particular colour scheme might be what a client wants more than anything else. But generally the colour comes last- and when it does we can look to everything in nature to help us with our colour combinations - jellyfish in a bay, a sunset, the muted tones of a sea landscape in the late afternoon as well as the obvious colours of particular flowers.



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Garden Design using inspiration from a Landscape

I took this set of photos in Holland.

I think they show both the different tones in nature and also the different balance of shapes.

The trick with garden design is bringing the essence of these shapes into smaller, urban gardens or mid sized country gardens.

If you look at the photos carefully and put your designer hat on: How can you bring the foreground, mid ground and background into your garden so that your garden feels more spacious. Can we reproduce the lovely white backs of the sheep into a formation of stones perhaps? Or clumps of wild, white flowers?

Or the curved path that disappears and gives our garden design a sense of mystery? How can we use the dense tone of the Heather and contrast it with the elegant stems of the Birch trees and soft grasses?

All these elements are at play with a garden design and even the smallest spaces can benefit from this approach.

Often garden designers are asked to say where their inspiration comes from? Almost all talk about where they roamed as children.

Which landscape would you reproduce with your garden design?

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Look out for Miniature Garden Designs

My Italian friend, Paola, sent me this photo from Simione in Northern Italy. This exquisite little garden has formed in a metal ring used for inserting parking prevention posts. I love the microcosm created from at least four different plants, from little seeds drifting on the wind, landing on a scrap of soil. Weeds are the greatest pioneers and even in the cracks of pavements they can give us hope- little green creatures full of innocent determination.

 

 

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Inspirations from Nature

Being a garden designer means looking out for inspiration wherever I am.

The combination of colours on butterfly wings, strange metal twisted by the elements, the intricate pattern on a Dragonfly's wings, a tree wind-blasted in Sydney Botanical Gardens and seed pots pregnant and ready to drop.

I tried to share this with my daughter recently- everywhere one looks, it can be beautiful- if not beautiful, deeply interesting. If you look at something for a long time meaning can reveal itself. 

 

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Garden Design - Using inspiration from all sorts of places!

Here is a little tropical garden we put in this week. The smaller the garden the more achingly important are the plant choices. It is harder in some ways that a medium sized garden where if a plant gets a little bigger than intended the garden can wear the extra growth.

Getting a ten foot palm through a small Brighton house was a challenge.

Also today, a mysterious flock of white pigeons on a roof in the town of Storrington, a still life of a humble apple, a door in Parham House, West Sussex (look at the black metal markings closely), the beauty of lines in an Underground station in London and lastly three different types of fungi on one small section of log.

 

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