Design Ideas – Taking the Rough with the Smooth

Rough grass is an immensely useful tool for the garden designer. How is it defined? It is simply grass that has been allowed to grow taller than adjacent smooth lawn grass, or that may already exist as paddock or naturally occurring grass in a virgin plot. Cut a few centimetres above a tightly mown lawn it allows you to reinforce strong geometric curves in a ground plan, contouring and sculpting the surface and rendering the flow and rhythm of the pattern highly visible. The rough grass accentuates the velvety smoothness of the mown areas. In large gardens – and even in moderately-sized plots [...]

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Design Inspiration -Renewing the bond with nature

Almost every day I walk (or rather run) my dog Oliver in the grassy dunes backing a small, unspoilt white sand beach called Shanawalla. This pristine little wilderness of about five acres changes quite dramatically through the seasons. In winter, after weeks of relentless rain, natural lakes of rainwater form and remain until March or April, so that you have to navigate your pathways carefully to avoid a lake or pond cul-de-sac. Curlews, oystercatchers, grey herons and white cattle egrets paddle about, picking up whatever food they can find, sheltered a little from the prevailing south west winds [...]

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The Influence of Fashion

With Chelsea Flower Show in full swing this week, garden design and plants are every bit as subject to fashion trends as clothing, art, furniture, names or architecture. Fashion is ephemeral by nature, often reinventing a past trend and introducing a modern twist, but not usually creating a look that is meant to last. It's exciting to look at new trends in clothes or fabrics and imagine how you can translate colours, textures and forms into a garden setting. However I think there is a streak of arrogance in some practitioners of creative disciplines which blinds them to the validity of other [...]

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How A Garden Can Add Value To Your Home

10 tips on how a garden can add value to you property. Gardens have become a lot more than places to grow plants and vegetables. They have become spaces for rest and relaxation; an oasis or retreat from the pleasures or everyday life. They now act as an extension to the living environment of our homes, where plants now take a back seat or may not exist at all. As land prices increase, houses get larger are gardens are becoming smaller. Now the average suburban courtyard in no bigger than the typical drawing room. One should invest the same amount of thought and expense on decorating their outside [...]

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Inspiring Your Clients To Win More Work

During your initial paid, on-site consultation of around two hours you will have taken a careful tour of the garden, noting your (possibly unspoken) observations of positive and negative features and including as many site details as possible. You will have asked questions and taken photographs. You will have discussed your clients' wish list, any colour and plant preferences and dislikes, how and when the garden will be used and by whom. By the end of the first consultation you may already have a wondrous vision in your head of the stunning space you can create for your clients. With experience [...]

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