Saturday, 20 June 2015

‘If my garden can look great with the minimum of effort – I’m in’
I’ve been designing gardens for 30 years and in all that time everyone I’ve ever met assumed the same thing; beautiful gardens require lots of looking after – they don’t.  This myth is perpetuated by garden maintenance companies; they insist plants need constant pruning.  They don’t.  If you have to prune a plant more than once a year it’s growing in the wrong place. A well designed garden shouldn’t need looking after more than 2 or 3 times a year. 

And then there’s the patience thing.  One of the most frustrating parts of creating a garden is waiting for it to look mature. If you want to know the secret of creating an established, beautiful looking garden in 6 months, read on. 
It’s the only natural way to speed up nature.

Bone Structure

A strong design is the skeleton on which everything else hangs

The most important part of making a garden look mature quickly is not the plants, it’s the layout. However too many of us think garden design is about making the garden look as colourful as possible.  All too often the design receives only scant regard; maybe an hour laying the hosepipe around the edge of the lawn in a wavy line and cutting out a shape from the grass. We then rush to the garden centre and fill these borders with colourful plants.

But this is like expecting a plain girl to be transformed into a supermodel with a few splashes of make-up. Just like a real supermodel, your garden needs great bone structure. If the design is weak it doesn’t matter how colourful your plants are, your garden won’t fulfil its potential. You might end up with a colourful garden but that’s not the same thing.  Would the gardens at Sissinghurst in Kent be as enchanting and celebrated if exactly the same plants were simply placed around the edges of a big curvy lawn?

But if the layout of Sissinghurst was planted with less interesting plants, the garden would still look as if it had potential. For a truly powerful finish, strong design and beautiful plants need to be teamed up. Only then will you produce a timeless classic and that’s the look you’re after; well designed gardens have an air of confidence and maturity to them.

The first thing we need to overcome is something that has held back garden design for the last 200 years...

Friday, 12 June 2015

Lazy Gardening

Look at Britain from above – millions of people living different lives, speaking different languages with very different homes.

But take a closer look at their gardens.

No matter where you go in Britain the story is the same...lawn in the middle, plants around the edge. 

It’s so bloody boring! 

While other creative industries like interior design, fashion and art surge into the future, our gardens are stuck in the past.  Adventurous design for us Brits is a curvy border around the edge of the lawn. I think we can do better. 

Our gardens are a great opportunity to do something interesting – you just need to start thinking creatively instead of following the crowd.


If you follow this blog you’ll learn the secrets of design...a ‘What Not to Wear’ for gardens; much of it is sleight of hand – and it works every time.

For most of the year our weather encourages us to hibernate in Britain. But modern houses are getting smaller which means stress levels are getting higher.  We need to make better use of our outdoor space. There should be no such thing as bad weather, just inadequate design. 

As I was painfully reminded recently - life is short – so sit outside, share good food; drink and chat into the night around a crackling fire.


Welcome to the first ever garden blog for people who don’t like gardening.