Take a leaf from some of the best professional landscape designers’ blogs this spring, and transform your garden into an award-winning space.
Whether you’re looking for ideas to implement yourself, or are inspired to hire a professional, there’s a wealth of dream garden ideas here to get you started.
Your garden should be an all year round extension of your home. That’s how designer, Lisa Cox, of The Room Outside approaches projects. Her biggest bugbear? Covering patio garden furniture with great ugly tarpaulins in the winter. She believes garden furniture should entice you outside and create a focal point. Why sit inside when the best room of the house is just outside your back door?
Victoria and Joe Wade are an award-winning husband and wife landscape design team who recently bought a home in South Wales. The garden, of course, was the selling point! Heeding their own advice, they (and their chickens) are practising patience to see what surprises pop up before making any drastic changes.
Check out their inspirational guide to creating an upcycled garden from things like scaffold boards, pallets and old wooden furniture. They get a classy and sophisticated look from these clever free-cycle design ideas.
And there’s more to this team than great garden design. Want to decorate your baking, brighten up a salad or turn a wedding cake into a show-stopper? Read Victoria’s guide to growing edible flowers, or go the whole hog and plan an outdoor kitchen using the Wades’ photos for inspiration.
Delve into the image-gallery-blog from Oxfordshire’s Hendy Curzon team, and be transported on a sensory journey through colours, textures, shapes and styles.
Check out their Colour Me October images that celebrate the changing seasons. And if you’re planting tulips, consult their comprehensive photo guide first. Who knew there were quite so many to choose from?
Combining modern elements with traditional materials and plants, the team revisit and photograph their projects over several years as they mature and change. Look through their year in review to see the difference 12 months can make.
Porcelain’s not just for bathrooms, according to garden designer, Jane Harries. Experimenting with new paving materials is what you might expect from someone who describes gardening as a life-long learning process. Luckily for us, she’s happy to share precious nuggets of wisdom via her blog.
Jane’s tips on how to find inspiration and create a mood board to capture ideas makes light work of the design process. Had you ever considered that the spaces between plants might be just as important as the plants themselves in a Mediterranean garden? An oasis of inspiration, Jane’s blog avoids obvious choices like olive trees and lavender for a more creative and unusual take on this popular classic.
Out with the gentle and subtle flowers of spring, and in with the bolder and brighter characters that herald the start of summer, says Rachel Mathews of Successful Garden Design. Her planting chart tells you what to plant in spring for a hotbed of colour when the weather warms up. Images of each plant help to bring her suggestions to life.
Specialising in small, contemporary gardens, Rachel also offers great advice on how to achieve maximum kerb appeal. Banish bland and boring front gardens and welcome people to your home with imaginative paving and pots. And if you want to make your back garden look bigger and more interesting, check out her YouTube video on Garden Focal Points & Plant Border Tips for ideas on where to put simple elements to draw the eye.
Shady corners challenge all gardeners, so Hornby Garden Designs’ tips for low maintenance, all year round colour is a winner when tackling this tricky problem. They recommend planting skimmia japonica 'Rubella' in sun-starved corners. This compact evergreen shrub has red buds in late winter and fragrant white flowers in spring making it a hard-working addition to any shady garden.
And we love the idea of hosting fabulous parties in a beautifully lit garden as the sun goes down. The team at Hornby believes that lighting is crucial part of any design. Creating sweeping pathways of light or dramatically illuminating a specimen tree could be easier than you think!
James Scott of The Garden Company shares seven secrets to creating a successful English country garden in his blog. Framed views, secluded retreats, wildflower meadows and formal ponds are all important elements.
Based in London and the South East, many of James’s clients don’t have grand scales to play with, so they’re experts on how to create successful small gardens. James’ team describe how they created several distinct areas to explore in one client’s compact garden. Screening for privacy, a stylish outdoor dining area, kitchen garden, shed and greenhouse are all incorporated into just 150m2 of calm and welcoming space.
His reflections on Chelsea Flower Show’s shortlisted gardens are a joy to read, and we look forward to hearing his thoughts on this year’s designs.
Enjoying your garden can be a spiritual experience, according to Andrew Staib at ‘Glorious Gardens’.
Moving from Sydney to London to Brighton, Andrew has settled in Sussex but continues to take his inspiration from all over the world. Holistic in approach, be believes that the shapes, colours and proportions of our outside space should inspire and calm us. From a tropical paradise reminiscent of his childhood to a formal English garden, Andrew’s designs are all about atmosphere.
If you’re moved by a particular image, Andrew explains how to capture the essence of its mood to create a design for your own garden. Want to incorporate sculpture? Andrew’s tips encourage you to give it a purpose before you drop it in place.
Despite growing his own vegetables, John Wyer of Bowles & Wyer, wryly confesses that he doesn’t always make his own soup. Lucky for us, or he would not be able to explain how to use plastic soup containers to protect lettuces from slugs in an otherwise permaculture-friendly vegetable plot.
Bowles & Wyer is an award-winning landscape and garden design team with a multi-million pound turnover. They share their knowledge on a variety of topics. Did you know that careful drainage is vital when creating gardens over basements? Or how to make the most of natural and artificial light in a garden? There’s a wealth of information to be found here.
Scottish husband and wife team, Michael and Jill Burt’s backgrounds in structural engineering and retail buying give them a unique edge on creative and affordable garden design.
Want some big ideas for a small space? The Burts share tips on what to plant. Herbs, salads and small shrubs all work well in limited areas. Strongly scented plants like lavender are ideal in a compact garden, and you’re more likely to benefit from the smell as well!
The team’s guide to trends for 2017 includes a heads-up on the rising number of hammocks and relaxing seating options available, as well as a growing interest in outdoor kitchens. We clearly want to spend as much time as possible in our thoughtfully designed gardens.
Off-grid doesn’t have to mean uncomfortable. So when the team at Studio 31 designed the Suffolk garden pictured above, they used recycled double glazing, oil lanterns, insulation and passive ventilation to create a snug, warm treehouse. But there’s nothing childish about this lofty escape. In fact, Ed Sheeran writes his music in a similar garden retreat.
Pushing the boundaries of modern landscape architecture, environmentally conscious founders Edward and Katie blog about inspirational urban and natural locations, and how to use nature’s incredible power to heal to maximum benefit in your garden by creating a space that ‘nourishes all the senses’.
Carving out a sanctuary in the sky is filled with imaginative possibilities, say the team at The Garden Builders, as they share seven stunning roof terrace ideas.
Not content with owning the rooftops, the team ground themselves by giving ideas on how to use the colours and textures of natural stone in domestic gardens. Their advice on how to incorporate stylish stairs in a garden setting will have level garden owners pining for a slope.
Based in South-West London, The Garden Builders team has won several APL and BALI awards, and constructed Gold and Silver Gilt medal winning show gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show.
If our favourite garden design bloggers have inspired you to explore professional landscaping yourself, then this is the place to come. The Oxford College of Garden Design is the world’s only online course where you get exactly the same garden design lectures online as you would if you were sitting in the classroom.
If you’re thinking of starting your own garden design business, there’s plenty of advice to be found here. There’s also a professional’s-eye view of of what to consider when designing a front garden, and advice on questions to ask yourself before launching into an outline. Take good note of existing plants, and the way a building’s presented already before jumping in.
So what’s stopping you? Get out there and design! And if you’ve already put together your dream garden, show us some pictures on our Facebook page. We always love to see them.
Lead image: istockphoto