Tag Archives: garden design

Take time to sit and stare …….

29 Jun

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

By W.H.Davies

One of the most important elements of a good garden, for me , is somewhere to sit and enjoy the garden.

I see too many gardens where there’s almost no provision for sitting outside other than perhaps a dining table by the French windows. But without various destinations throughout the garden, you never really get to appreciate a space.

And I may have taken this mantra to a new level – within my, really quite compact, town centre garden I have five separate sitting areas.


Above , these chairs are located just outside the kitchen door and serves as fragrant spot to sip a mid morning coffee, or a snack lunch or a well deserved cup of tea.. The pots are planted up with scented geraniums and nicotiana.


Above, I have to admit nobody has ever sat at this table and chairs. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t earn it’s space in the garden. It is in a very tricky spot, getting very little sun yet being looked out on from the dining room windows and sitting room French window. So really it is a staged tableau that adds interest to a very dead space.


Above, this is where we all sit together to linger over good food , usually cooked by the chief barbecuer ! The umbrella keeps it cool all day – I’m not one to enjoy sitting in full sun for hours while we eat.


Above, this is where I wish I could spend longer ! It’s tucked right in amongst the border and is in the shade by mid afternoon – again I’d rather hide from the sun. All I need is a cup of earl grey and a good book and I could happily doze ! The smell from the philadelphus behind is indescribable !


And finally, above, is the place we watch the sun set with a beer or gin & tonic – room for friends – a fire bowl to stave off the chills – a spot to watch the swans and ducks on the river.

Sat in any of these spots, I see different angles of the garden and the house, I am more aware of which bits get the sun when, and notice where I need to plant more scented flowers.

So if you’re giving some thought to your garden layout, I think you can safely assume you can squeeze one more seating area in somewhere !


Ever evolving design.

17 Oct

Its not often that I get the chance to see my garden designs evolve over time. Generally my involvement ends when the garden is landscaped and planted. And sometimes I don’t even get to see that if the client decides to arrange everything themselves.

So it was nice to be invited back last week to a garden project that first started in September 2012.

My clients had moved into a new house and were knee deep in extensions and renovations but realised that to make the most of these changes they really needed to improve the garden.
The patio was too narrow and the planting was very old and past its best.


The brief as to enlarge the space for dining and sitting without eating into the lawn too much and to make the planting lighter, more interesting and less shrubby!





So the final design included a mixture of paving surfaces – sandstone paving stones & brick paviors, and the planting included box balls, low box hedges and plenty of roses and airy verbena bonariensis.

There is more than enough space for a large dining table and an extra seating area.

The large existing box domes were able to be moved slightly and retained besides the steps up to the lawn.








Work started in early 2013 and progressed quickly despite miserable weather.

Everything was finished by early summer, ready to be enjoyed.





I was delighted to get a call last week, to come over and view the garden over a year since it was completed. And it was looking lovely ! The verbena was taking over ( a good thing !) and the roses were still flowering madly. The box has filled out nicely and with exception of one crab apple tree and a clematis everything was growing well.

A wedding is planned for next September so I was called on for advice to make sure the planting will look fabulous this time next year. I gave the usual advice – Dahlias in pots to drop into gaps; dead head everything all the time ; a late ‘Chelsea Chop’ for selected perennials and if all else fails you can always stick bunches of lilies into jars hidden amongst the foliage !

I shall go back again in August 2015 to check its looking fabulous !





Design Update – Warwickshire Barn Conversion

17 Mar

This is an update on a project I have been involved with for over 2 years now – that’s just how long these things can take.


I was involved from the very start and produced the original landscape plans back in March 2012 at the same time as the architects plans were being drawn up.


Actual building work was eventually completed end of 2013, with landscaping always the last thing completed.

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Bulbs and some shrubs were planted October 2013.

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This spring more perennials and trees will be planted and the lawn areas will be resown.




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