Just as I’m in the middle of planning our garden, after moving here earlier in the year, Garden Design Solutions arrived from the publishers for me to review, a timely reminder for me of those all important principles of garden design.
Designing a garden can be a daunting thing, so many things to think about and unlike decorating a room in the house, everything changes and grows through the seasons, so unless you have a garden designer to hand, a book with information and advice is essential.
The author, Stephen Woodhams is an experienced, well-respected designer with 2 Chelsea Flower Show gold medals under his belt, not only that, but he’s designed a wide range of gardens both here and abroad.
The chapters take you through the process of planning, probably the most essential step, with, amongst other things, a list of questions to ask yourself so you can tailor the garden to what you need.
One of the most useful sections is dealing with the lay-out of the garden, it’s easy to think about changes to one part of a garden, but tricky to relate everything together and think of it as a whole. This part of the book explains this well and there are numerous examples of gardens designed by the author, complete with photos and plans.
The chapter on planting is full of case studies on planting styles, including a traditional garden, container gardening and a roof garden, with the emphasis very much on using plants as part of the design.
There’s a very useful page of resources at the back of the book and plenty of well-captioned photos to illustrate all the points that are made.
The book has clear design information simply explained, at first I wondered if all the mediterranean gardens might not be helpful for U.K. readers, then I realised this was a bit small-minded, there is the rest of the world after all. In any case, the principles of garden design are universal and can be applied to any situation.
I met Stephen briefly when I designed a small show garden for The Hampton Court Flower Show 10 years ago, he was there on press day and tactfully advised me to re-arrange a few big cushions in the garden. He was really charming….. and he was right about the cushions.
Happy gardening, Jill
all photos: Jill Anderson