Garden Design Solutions – Inspiration in Manageable Chunks

When you walk the aisles at the Chelsea Flower Show, or stroll around the sprawling and manicured estates of National Trust homes, it’s hard to imagine how such magnificence could make it into your garden. I know myself that breaking down inspiration into manageable chunks to try at home can be hard. And it’s very rare that any amateur gardener can sit down and say to themselves, ‘Right. I’m going to set aside £10,000 to design my new garden‘. If you’ve got that kind of money, you’re likely to hire a garden designer. And if you’re a garden/plant/outside lover, I’m betting you’ve already got a garden stuffed with plants that it would be sacrilege to pull up and start over. So, when a book like Garden Design Solutions comes along, it makes me rather happy.

Garden Design SolutionsI’m content to flick through any garden book, looking at the pictures, finding inspiration from odd sections and beginning to dream of changes on my oasis. However, it’s rare that a book manages to both throw expensive-looking garden designs at you whilst also providing easy to-do’s at home. One of the problems with garden design books is that you’re just given thirty or forty chic, beautiful concepts to look at; it’s overwhelming. I dare say, they may be broken down into variations on a theme, but it can still be a lot to take in, and even more to try and apply at home. Garden Design Solutions, though using many case studies, utilises them repeatedly throughout. You see the same garden time and time again, but from a different perspective. For example, ‘The Multi-Purpose Garden‘ is in the zoning section, but also the lighting, planting and features chapters. It means that things actually begin to sink in. It means that you can start to pull the case studies apart and not be over-awed by the photos, but realise how things can be implemented in your own space.

Many of the gardens use similar ideas; symmetry, repetition and strong focal colours are just a few points. There’s also talk of the need to make inside and outside cohesive; a step which helps provide instant care to design. I’ve watched enough Grand Designs to know that to bring outside in, it’s worthwhile running the same flooring across from kitchen onto deck, for example. But if you’ve got a huge planter of red tulips in spring, then throwing a few red scatter cushions down inside – and on any outside furniture you may have – helps coordinate everything in an easy, affordable and stylish way. Even if you only repeat the red theme of cushions and tulips throughout, you’re designing.

There’s also some very good advice given in respect to location. If there’s a stunning view, then put a seating area to take this in. If there’s a problematic area for noise, then it’s an ideal spot for a water feature to help cover up other ambient sounds. It’s not always about only the site of the garden, but where it actually sits in relation to its surroundings; you want to make the most of positives whilst minimising any detraction from noise or overlooks or shady spots you can’t do anything about.

I really enjoyed this book – though I’m certainly not done with absorbing all the knowledge offered by Stephen Woodhams. It’s a great buy, whether to give you inspiration when commissioning a garden designer or are looking to bring a few changes into your own garden. I’ll definitely be using it again over teh coming years.

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I'm Geoff, and I'm a plant hoarder.

Like magpies collect bright shiny things, I can't resist plants. An exquisite flower, soft ferny foliage or a beautiful majestic tree - I love them all!

Here, I'll indulge in all things flora and share my passion. Join me as I develop my garden and hoard more plants without apology.