Fiveways Gardens...March 2015

Let's have a look at the basic principles of garden design, as now's a good time to do a bit of re-modelling and tackle the bits of your garden that aren't as successful as you'd like.  First, you need to carry out a site analysis - what is the soil type, where are the sunny and shady areas and how do these change throughout the year, what about dry patches and, conversely, areas that rarely get a chance to dry out, and what about the prevailing wind direction?  These factors determine ‘what to plant where'. 

How big is the space?  An accurate site survey involves measuring the width and length of the space as well as the height of boundaries.  Planting that worked five years ago may be struggling now because of maturing neighbouring trees casting more shade.  From the survey you can produce a scaled plan showing the area you have available, noting key fixed features such as mature plants. In our town gardens a scale of 1:50 is best; this means that 1cm on your plan represents half a metre in your garden. 

Decide at this stage what you want to keep. That old shed may not be pretty, but is it still useful?  It could be smartened up or disguised with climbers.  What about putting a green roof onto it?  Try something bold, like painting it matt black.  Imagine how fiery reds and rich oranges will look with a black background.   Could that space be used for something else?  We're working with a client to create an amazing garden retreat at the bottom of her garden.  Somewhere she can go, whatever the weather, open-fronted, but with a glass roof to keep the elements at bay.

With the base plan done, it's time to think about esoteric matters such as concept, shape, pattern and style.  You can take inspiration from garden styles such as formal, cottage or modern gardens. Or you could create a more personalised design based on something meaningful to you.  Once you have chosen a style it is a good idea to collect images from magazines and start putting them together, creating a mood board, or online with something like Pinterest.  This collection of images, words, colours and objects will help you refine what your garden is all about for you.  The benefit of doing this is that you'll end up with a garden that has a feeling of cohesion, with features working together rather than fighting, where the planting complements the hard landscaping and vice versa.  Furthermore, it will reflect your personality and style.  It's this degree of attention to detail and consideration of materials that's the essence of a great garden space.

Happy gardening


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