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Before And After- From Mud to Magic

This was the perfect muddy mess. For a garden designer the worst a garden is the better as the transformation is that more satisfying.

At first we thought to entirely plant up the area but my clients decided they wanted to keep maintenance and costs down and introduce some lawn. I think this was a great idea as the green, clean space and curvaceous beds brings out the delicate beauty of the plants

We used lots of bright, Mediterranean perennials in the front borders with more English shady loving plants as the beds receded to the back and the deeper areas of shade.

The front garden (see picture) is planted up with a single Amelanchier lemarkii with a whole swath of Sesleria grass underneath which will treble in size and sway in the wind like a Summer field.

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Before and After Photos- A garden designer's reward

I love Before and After photos. It reminds me of the chaos a garden was in when I first arrived and how I had to stretch my imagination to have a vision of a more beautiful space.

Being a garden designer in Brighton means I have my fair share of small gardens to design and by far they are the hardest as every material and detail needs to be thought through.

I was helped by my clients in this instance as their brief was a tropical atmosphere and they had already chosen a very clean, interesting looking porcelain tile that mimics old oak panels, even down to old saw marks that might have been made a hundred years ago.

Eventually the climber, Muehlenbekia complexa, will find its way over the top of the water feature making the water running down the sheet metal mysterious.

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Garden Design for the Front of House

A garden design for the front of a house has to serve many purposes.

It needs to be welcoming with colourful planting planned throughout the growing season.

It should have some strong structure both to tie in with the solidness of the house and to look good in the winter months.

It also needs to compliment the look of the house. Sometimes that is choosing a blousy, breezy garden design to balance the hardness of the house's facade or much more formal shapes to garnish the house with a formal presence.

In this garden design we chose a simple succession of colour for April and May. Wonderful Crown Imperial bulbs and Tulips, with the orange Geum flowers soon to give way to Irises and Alliums. Great feathery Fennel will stand out in the beds, willowy and welcoming, throughout the Summer.

We chose as our structure the purple leaved evergreen Pittisporum Tom Thumb with purple Heuchera.

At the end of Summer I hope to go back and photograph the changes and the new flowers that have pushed through.






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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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Garden Design using Sculpture

I am not always a fan of sculpture in a garden. Nature is so beautiful and intricate it is a relief not to see the marks of human endeavour in the frame.

However I think garden Sculpture works when it takes us deeper into the landscape or a garden and makes us see nature with fresh eyes. Maybe in contrast or as a compliment or as a way to humble our position in the world.

I like the prostrate marble figure at Parham House in West Sussex so different from classical sculptures where the hero has triumphed, or the death mask, also at Parham, with its reminder that the trees will last long after we are forgotten. And the shy woman wrought from cold hard stone but also soft and considerably more fragile than the bricks and branches and and plant life around her.

The floating Blue Circle turns ornamental grass into an ocean of movement and subtle colour and the cube of photos, taken from the Chelsea 2016 Flower Show, now residing at the Praire Gardens, makes us stop and think about nature and the images we take of it.

 

 

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