I went to the RHS Tatton Flower Show last year and was really taken by one garden in particular which really captured my imagination. This is that garden:
At the time we knew (well hoped!) we were buying the house we now own and I thought this was such a lovely design that we could use for inspiration for our own garden. There are a few things that I particularly like about it:
- The raised beds are beautiful and the gravel edge next to the paving gives a really polished finish. I’m keen to grow lots of fruit and vegetables so I think a raised bed is a must.
- Adding the mirrors makes the garden look twice as big, and the style of the mirrors gives the illusion that they are windows to a secret garden.
- I love the traditional accents, particularly the potting bench and cold frame, which combined with the brick walls it leads to a really charming space.
So when it came to doing a design for our own garden, these ideas seemed like a good place to start. At this point I should point out I have never designed a garden before. My mum let me have one border as a child which was my ‘smelly garden’ but that is the limit of my gardening design experience, so I need all the inspiration I can get!
Aside from the external ideas there were some other factors to consider within the garden. Our garden isn’t massive but it is bigger than the show garden which gave us some more space to play with.
- I’ve always dreamt of having a greenhouse. We have an existing garden shed which we want to keep, so next to that (which is a space that also benefits from a good amount of sun) seemed like a good position for one.
- Both myself and Carl would like a lawn to some degree. It doesn’t need to be big, but there is nothing nicer than lying on grass on a lovely sunny day.
- The garden needs to have some floral borders and we’re keen to get as much wildlife into the garden as possible, so want the plants to accommodate bees, birds, other insects and maybe even some pond life.
So with all that in mind, I drew a design! I’m not the best artist (or even an artist at all) but one thing I did make sure was to measure everything accurately. I found on paper the garden was much longer and thinner than I’d thought stood in it, and I know that made a difference to how I laid out the space. This was the design I came up with:
I apologise for the faint pencil! The basic idea was to have two borders edging a lawn that would come together to form an archway with a path running through deep borders. This would open out onto a paved area with raised beds and then the shed and greenhouse would be at the bottom. The shed would be moved forward slightly to allow us to plant a tree behind it, to give us a little more privacy where we are currently slightly overlooked.
But then we changed our minds a bit. The main reason being that the above design is very symmetrical and relied on an old brick bed being taken out. Although this bed is a bit tired, it’s quite charming and it seemed a shame to lose it, so we have now decided to go with a more asymmetrical and curved design that brings the bed in as a feature. In my next post I will go into a bit more detail about the new design and why it seemed the right thing to do.