How to begin a new garden or improve an existing one, can be a stumbling block for many people, including professional designers. I recently came across a beautiful little garden in the heart of the City of London, the attraction is the lovely plants, a great lay-out and that the whole garden fits in so well with its surroundings. It’s on the […]
This is rather grand as summer-houses go, but I think you have to aim high when you want to be inspired. If you’re not planning on having something on this scale you can still use it for inspiration: I like the colour of this one, this soft grey blends in well and looks good with green, see […]
It can be an abrupt end to the Chelsea Flower Show, when after months of work, sweat and sometimes tears, the gardens are dismantled within days. The area is grassed over so efficiently that it’s hard to believe that anything was there before, so it’s great to see a garden that I came to know quite […]
I live in a part of Surrey that has a real association with the famous designer, Gertrude Jekyll (1843 – 1932). She spent most of her adult life around here and formed her association with the architect Edwin Lutyens here too. Her house, Munstead Wood, is just a mile up the road from ours. Jekyll […]
There were some really beautiful plants at this years Chelsea Flower Show, but beautiful as the plants were, it’s the lay-out of the garden, how it’s divided up, that really helps to hold the design together, as demonstrated by the paths in this lovely garden by Jo Thompson: This crisply cut paving, butted closely together, gives a contemporary look to […]
There were plenty of interesting sights at The Chelsea Flower Show this week to take my mind off the chilly weather. This is one of the gardens that I found myself taking lots of photos of and standing for ages to contemplate all the subtle details in it. It’s been designed by Christopher Bradley Hole and is inspired by three […]
The Plants The weather is finally warming up, we have sunshine and longer days, which is just what’s needed for the plants with just five weeks to go to the Chelsea Flower Show. Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliam’s concept for their show garden is a space of rugged, textural quality, with aspects that provide […]
Time seems to be flying by and the Chelsea Flower Show is rapidly approaching, only six weeks to go, hard to believe it’s spring when there was snow on the ground outside my office window last week. I briefly mentioned in my first post, that Andrew Wilson (half of the Wilson McWilliam partnership designing the […]
Creating a show garden, how the process begins. The countdown for Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliams’ garden for the 2013 Chelsea Flower Show continues. There are 9 weeks to go now before the garden is completed, but the journey began way back last year. Once the decision was made to enter a garden […]
Imagine that you’ve got a successful, busy garden design practise, have won lots of awards and accolades, then on top of all that you decide to design a show garden for The Chelsea Flower Show, arguably the most prestigious garden show in the world…. oh, and half of the partnership is a long-standing […]
I had a bit of a wobbly moment when the delivery of materials arrived during the building of my first show garden at the Hampton Court Flower Show in back 2008. Everyone else had shiny, plastic wrapped palettes of bricks, paving etc deposited at their sites. Whilst I had a pile of timber […]
It’s pleasing to find an item for a garden that looks good as well as being practical. This bench does exactly that, it’s in the Rose Garden at Wisley Garden in Surrey. I like it’s asymmetry and how it’s shape changes when you look at it from different angles. The big swathe of soft fluffy grasses […]
You may remember that I wrote recently about designing a long, narrow town garden, well their neighbours liked it and asked me to design theirs too. Although it was roughly the same shape and size, the clients had more traditional tastes so it needed quite a different approach. They had lived in the house for a […]
Have you noticed how much the small details matter just as much as the ‘big idea’ when it comes to garden design? Visiting gardens I like to look out for these details, here’s one I came across last year and it’s a real inspiration if you want paving that’s a bit more interesting than the usual […]
I’ve designed a few of these in my time, and the thing that always stands out is how much difference a little, green oasis in a city can make to someones life-style. This is very satisfying for me, to unlock all that potential, but the benefit to the clients is immense. They have somewhere […]
To round off a decidedly autumnal week, I thought I’d show you these photos of a little detail from a lovely garden in France. The hazel fence is a perfect fit for this garden, it’s simple and suits the building and the rural surroundings. It always helps in a garden design if you […]
However much you enjoy gardening, at this time of year it’s even nicer to make the time to sit in it and relax as well. Having seats and benches permanantly in place around the garden is the best way to encourage you to do this. If you have to find the keys to the shed […]
It’s frustrating isn’t it when you don’t like how your garden looks, but you don’t know where to begin to improve it. The owners of this pretty house had exactly this dilemma, in the six years that they’ve been there they’ve radically changed the interior, it’s very smart and contemporary. But the garden needs to be more traditional, […]
One of the Concept Gardens at this years Hampton Court Show, ‘Light at the end of the tunnel’, had a very compelling quality about it. The mix of materials and planting was very succesful, but it was the story behind it’s conception that made it so interesting. It was inspired by Matthew Childs’ experience of being injured […]
You may wonder what you have to do to shine above all the other show gardens at Hampton Court to win the title of ‘best in show’. Designed by Anoushka Feiler, the title of the garden is Bridge Over Troubled Water. The bridge represents the journey to freedom from the condition of Overactive Bladder, the plants […]
June is the time of year when you can sit back, smell the roses and enjoy your garden, well it would be if it stopped raining. Apart from the weather, the other thing that stops people relaxing in the garden is the constant work that always seems to need doing.
I had a fabulous day at the Chelsea Flower Show yesterday and was delighted to find out today that Cleve West had not only won a gold medal, but the garden had been awarded ‘best in Show’. This is all the more impressive because the standards were so high, with some real quality show gardens […]
This week my Friday inspiration is the architectural detail of tiles around this little window, typical of the *Arts & Crafts style of architecture.
It was about 17 years ago that I tentatively began a garden design for my very first clients in south London. I have to admit to being very nervous starting out all those years ago, but I knew, even then, how important it was to listen to them and interpret their needs to create […]
My Friday inspiration this week is this lovely garden chair
Want to know more about how Show Gardens are judged at the Chelsea Flower Show? Here’s part two of my interview with Andrew Wilson, teacher, author, garden designer and RHS judge for the past 17 years.
Maybe I’m a bit nosey ( I prefer to call it inquisitive), but I like to know what’s going on. For instance, I always enjoy exhibitions, shows etc, much more when I know a bit about the background. So I thought you’d like to hear about how Show Gardens are judged at the Chelsea Flower Show, if you’re […]
I hope you’ve all had a lovely, long weekend, and although we’ve had lots of rain, I’ve been thinking about the recent hose-pipe ban. Wouldn’t life be a lot easier if we didn’t need to use hose-pipes in our gardens? I know how frustrating it can be to coax plants through hot, dry weather with […]
My Friday inspiration this week is this lovely sleek garden bench, I love the timeless design which looks so contemporary
Most of us like a sunny garden, it looks nice and bright and sunshine always makes us feel better, but apart from that does it really matter which way the garden faces?
Design is important to all of us, we choose products that appeal to us not only because they’re functional, but also because they look good, are nice to use and make us feel good about ourselves.
DESIGN PRINCIPLES: Good design is all about balancing the practical with the aesthetics, a well designed garden looks fabulous, but it should also be practical to use.
The International Garden Festival Chaumont sur Loire opens later this month and runs until the end of October. It’s a feast of creative endeavour, set in the grounds of a beautiful castle next to the river Loire in France, so if you’re visiting France this summer I recommend a visit. There will be 24 gardens, […]
Every garden is unique and works best of all when it’s tailor-made for the owners. This garden belongs to a delightful, retired couple who wanted to use their garden to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs, to have a shady spot to sit and enjoy lunch and are keen bird watchers, so wanted to attract birds […]
I designed this garden a couple of years ago and took these photos recently when the clients invited me over for lunch to see how it had developed. They moved into their house five years ago and having worked hard to make the house look lovely and wanted the garden to look equally good. There […]