garden design

Great Design Ideas for Your Garden

We love to visit garden centres and design schools to see what brilliant ideas have been thought up during the year, and to see how fresh designs come from enthusiastic youngsters new to the industry, applying the knowledge they are absorbing from the old pros who are their mentors.

On our recent visits to Garden World and Lifestyle Garden Centre we saw loads that we absolutely loved. Here are the ideas that we simply had to share with you, and which you can possibly apply to your own gardens.

Thoroughly modern

We loved the clean, angular lines of this contemporary design, perfect for a townhouse garden or courtyard. The single colour, a thoroughly trendy shade of grey, ties the various elements together, while the more natural elements of raw timber, white stones and water in the fountains complement the manmade materials beautifully. The three curved containers, in other monochrome colours, and the plants they contain have been carefully picked to add organic lines and gentle colours to the design.

Spots of contrast

What a spectacular way to dress up a boring wall! Rectangles made of different materials, in different sizes, shapes and thicknesses not only make a dynamic, energetic pattern, but they are also very useful as receptacles for our old favourite, air plants. The tillandsias in the boxes are mounted on astroturf, which adds to the texture, while the curtain of old man’s beard hanging from the black ‘curtain rail’ adds yet another texture to this ‘windowscape’.

Dreaming Big with garden design

The designers found their inspiration in the quote, “Designed as a place to dream…”, and they managed to hit the nail smack bang on the head with their interpretation of it. Obviously not all of us would be able to build a mystical, magical archway in our own gardens, but we might be able to take the idea of building something that looks like old ruins and use it on a smaller scale. An ancient pedestal for a pot, or wall, perhaps. Plantings that look as though have reclaimed the buildings for nature are also effective, while using a frame to draw the eye onward is always a wonderful idea.

Stepping out

The designers of Nature’s Perfection were on a roll, and their use of organic shapes was inspirational. The oversized slasto stepping stones and flat rocks added to the feeling that this was an ancient garden, as did the use of ferns, which automatically add an element of the distant past. We thought the use of low groundcovers, in this case two contrasting colours of Scotch moss (dark green Sagina subulata and lighter, lime-green S. subulata ‘Aurea’), between them was beautiful.

Bright garden design can be beautiful

We firmly believe that the edible garden or veggie garden doesn’t need to be hidden out back, so we loved the way that this garden design made the edible garden glamorous. Bright colours can be used to make functional items a feature, as with this teepee, instead of trying to get them to blend into the background. And when the plants grow, the effect will be even better.

Out-standing garden design

Pot stands don’t need to be used on verandas or for hiding an ugly wall. Bring them into pride of place alongside a pathway, and you can bring some of your favourite small plants up to eye level. Terracotta pots work so well in this case, as they have a simple beauty of their own, while the deep blue wall in the background is another clever touch to this garden.

Rebirth of Happiness

We all strive to find happiness, especially in our gardens, and so we thought this garden design was on point. One of the elements that we particularly loved was this spiral, fragrance-filled labyrinth that leads to a seating area. The labyrinth makes you slow down and appreciate your surroundings, so that by the time you are seated you are already calm and able to appreciate your beautiful surroundings.

Boxing clever

The wall boxes are another clever way of displaying pot plants, as well as a good way of breaking up a big painted wall. The designers also repeated the use of items in threes – the pots, benches and a table, as well as the three overhead beams – for consistency. The colour of the wall is also a success.

Blowing in the wind

Grasses are a lovely way of adding movement to a garden, or of breaking up harder, more structured surfaces. This grass is particularly ethereal and we love the way it creates a haze of foliage that you can see through, but which adds depth to the scene and highlights the repeated, manmade pattern of the stakes.

Garden design for Smart storage

This is such a picturesque little corner of a garden. The curved, modular wall is brilliant – both useful and lovely to look at, and a great way to make use of pallet timber in the garden. Herbs like thyme and origanum would be great in the cubbyholes, provided they get enough sun, and we also thought the idea of using mealies as foliage and texture was inspired.

Use water wisely for your garden design

Water-wise gardening is here to stay, thanks to the increasing scarcity of water, so all of us need to look at how to incorporate hardy little plants like these echeverias and haworthias into our own gardens. By mixing up a number of species, as done here, you introduce different colours and forms, all set off against the brown stone in a realistic, natural setting. We also liked the use of bamboo poles as a border, because they’re that much classier than gum poles, and very environmentally friendly.

The Gardener