Author Archive

Plant Pots: Designing With Containers

Almost anything that holds soil could be used for plant pots. Shops stock a vast range of traditional ceramic, terracotta, glass fibre and stone pots, some attractive and some hideous. It's important that they are frost proof, so check those imported from Mediterranean or far eastern countries. Be careful of plant pots with narrow necks, as the plant will be almost impossible to remove once its roots have developed. Avoid plastic pots. They are ugly, clash with every colour except, perhaps dark green and quickly become brittle and crack or split. Plant Pots: Creative Ideas There are plenty [...]

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How to Design a Garden: Does Form Follow Function?

Does Form Follow Function?   A long-term and continuing debate has been whether form follows function, or function follows form? Initially, as a trained artist, but novice, student designer, I felt instinctively - and arrogantly - that the functions of the garden could follow its form; in other words, I would be able to design the ground patterns and layout I wanted, and could then translate these into a garden that fulfilled the functions required by the client. This approach is not entirely without merit and remains a luxurious possibility. Particularly if you are presented with a completely [...]

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How to Design A Garden: Nature As Inspiration

Designing with nature requires the designer to develop heightened awareness. Not just of suitable plants for a specific location, but for the genius loci (spirit of Place).  The climate, prevailing wind direction, aspect, gradient, soil, indigenous vegetation, geology, all affect the design choices. Every garden is unique and your job is to recognise, explore and exploit this genius loci, this sense of place. Such wide-ranging knowledge will equip you with the confidence to make selective decisions about the garden. Nature can be a great help. Use it. Make notes on-site about every detail, [...]

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Poisonous Plants: A Garden Designers Guide

A Garden Designer’s Guide To Poisonous Plants On average, two gardeners a year die in the UK as a result of poisonous plants. There are poisonous plants lurking in almost every garden, dangerous to humans and animals alike. Many poisonous plants are far from obvious except to the expert. Those discussed in this blog are by no means exhaustive, but illustrate a range of concerns that should be foremost in the designer's mind. You need always to be sensitive to these dangers, whoever your clients may be and especially if they have young children or pets. Awareness is also in the interests of [...]

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How to Best Use Stone In The Garden

Some thoughts to consider about the use of stone in the garden as ornament or feature.  Many of us are so used to living with brick and concrete all around us that we rarely have the opportunity, or the time to think about, study and appreciate natural stone in the garden. Nothing beats its beauty, in all its variations of form, texture, striation, weathering, colouring, weight and durability. Marble, granite, limestone, slate – all have their own special characteristics and uses in specific settings. Past civilizations have used the extraordinary natural beauty and gravitas of stone to [...]

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