Garden Design, Gardening & Landscaping, Gary, Stuart

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2021 (Monday 8th March), we’re taking a look at some visionary women who’ve had a huge impact on the modern garden. Read on if you’d like to learn more about some of the great women in gardening and some of the things they’ve brought to the horticultural world, from the British Isles’ past to fabulous present.

Gardening Greats from the Past

Gertrude Jekyll
1843 – 1921

Gertrude Jekyll ft. Begonia

Modern gardens have a lot to thank Gertrude Jekyll for. Her partnership with Edwin Lutyens lasted over 25 years and she was a key influence in Georgian garden design, while her simple approach championed colourful, easy to maintain borders and brought plants like the rose, begonia and hosta back into fashion. The way she used colour is still taught as a basic tenet of garden design today, and we can thank her for the trend of creating sections in a garden. You can still see some of her creations at Lindisfarne Castle or West Dean.

Norah Lindsay

1873 – 1948

Norah Lindsay x Cliveden

This Oxfordshire socialite made great strides in the world of gardening to become one of only a few female garden designers of her time. She was a pioneer of seasonal planting and creating gardens that would bloom all year round. The traditional country garden combination of mauve, pink and white were a signature of her design style. Her work and influence can be seen at the Blickling Estate in Norfolk, as well as at Cliveden in Buckinghamshire, Chirk Castle in Wales and Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire amongst many other private country house gardens.

Margery Fish
1892-1969

East Lambrook

Image from Wikipedia by Ray Beer, CC BY-SA 2.0, Index

Our love affair with perennials and the traditional cottage garden can all be traced back to Margery Fish. Her design ideas became so popular that she released two books in the 1960s and had a column in Amateur Gardening magazine. Margery championed simple planting schemes, and the use of ground cover to save on labour. She was also one of the first to make extensive use of silver foliage. She was also a big fan of snowdrops and her gardens at East Lambrook have over 60 named varieties of the plant growing in them.

Vita Sackville-West
1892-1962

Vita Sackville-West and white Digitalis

Image from Wikipedia by DHRUVA SRINIVAS – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Index

A prolific fiction writer, poet and gardener, Vita Sackville-West is the brains behind the gardens of Sissinghurst Castle. A poet and writer, she was known for her art and flair. Her early career was dominated by multi-layered planting and bright colours, but her real influence on today’s design was her White Garden –  a blend of traditional colours and textures that is still very much in fashion.

Kitty Lloyd Jones
1898 – 1978

A White Astilbe, a flower from the bog garden

Born to a doctor in Swansea and the ninth of ten children, Kitty was among one of the first professional female horticulturalists. Before her, most female gardeners found work through social connections, but in 1924 she graduated with a degree in horticulture from the University of Reading – one of the first women to ever do so. Kitty gradually built up a network of clients. Her best-known work was the redesign of the gardens at Upton House where her impressive bog garden still survives today.

Gardening Greats from the Present

Ann-Marie Powell

@myrealgarden

An award-winning garden designer and writer, Ann-Marie Powell is a modern garden great who shares garden inspiration on Instagram as @myrealgarden, as well as on her own site. With her innovative ideas and designs bringing gardening greatness to the country’s aspiring gardeners, and all while being a Greenfingers charity patron, we think Ann-Marie is the bees knees!

Paula Sutton

@hillhousevintage

A fashionable city girl turned country lady, Paula Sutton has moved from the fast-paced world of London, modelling agencies and fashion magazines to the quieter climes of the English countryside, and now shares her interior and exterior designs and inspirations through her blog and on Instagram @hillhousevintage. We think her use of British design to suit all budgets crossed with her country house chic is one to watch out for, ideal for anyone who wants to bring the feeling of the UK’s great green spaces to their own back garden.

Tania Compton

@taniacompton

An accomplished landscape and garden designer, Tania Compton is a garden expert who followed up on 12 years as Garden Editor for House & Garden magazine with moving to Wiltshire, and 6 acres of clay-filled land that she transformed into romantic and naturalistic gardens. Her Spilsbury gardens are sometimes open to the public and at Longford Castle you can see her redesigned parterre. Or, if you have a spare £4m handy, you can buy Reddish House when it comes back on the market and own some Tania Compton gardens of your own!

Gardening Greats of the Future

Could these be some of the gardening greats of the future to feature in next year’s collection of female horticulturist visionaries?

 

Garden Design, How To

Garden Path with Brick

Spring has sprung, and it’s time to start planning for those garden gatherings.  Fresh air and greenery are vital for our sense of wellbeing, and after a year of spending most of our time indoors, we know you’re ready for some ideas that can help to turn your gardens into perfect getaway destinations.

Houzz’s lockdown survey in 2020 revealed that 30% of respondents believed that upgrading their outdoor space would make their time at home more enjoyable. As lockdown eases, restrictions lift and home improvements are on the rise, investing time in building an outdoor sanctuary that’s a perfect fit for you, your family, and your guests will be a given. Take a look at our guide below to get ahead of the trend and create a welcoming space that works for you.

Social Spaces

It’s time to freshen up and prep your garden oasis for your guests. Choosing some staple furniture can help to transform your outdoor space into a luxe destination for everyone to enjoy.

Pre-dinner relaxation

Experimenting and creating different spots to entertain within your garden can elevate the overall experience. Choose furniture to help your guests relax and unwind before you begin the full on “hosting”. While you are busy in the kitchen, prepping hor d’oeuvres, why not direct your guests to the swings and offer them a pre-dinner cocktail?

Garden Swing with Canopy

Browse Garden Swings

Farmhouse Style

Nothing beats eating dinner alfresco style. That’s why investing in the perfect dining set for you and your guests is so important. Serve food in style, with a range of attractive and durable sets to choose from. You can guarantee we will have something suitable for you this summer.

Round Wooden Picnic Table

Browse Outdoor Dining

Summer Evenings

Outdoor fireplaces have long brought the heat and light needed to make a deck or patio a warm, inviting place for family and friends to gather. It’s a perfect way to end your garden gathering. It will keep your evening garden-getaways enjoyable throughout the whole year, not just for the English summer evenings.

Clay Chimenea

Browse Outdoor Fireplaces

Fitness hubs

Nothing like the feeling of freedom in an outdoor gym. With many of us now having fitness equipment at home, why not start prepping a section in your garden that caters for your commitment to wellness?

Stylish Shade

For a quick and stylish way to keep cool in your garden, Shade Sails are a great way to allow you to make the most out of your patio, and of course, protect you from the sun (and rain, after all we are in the UK) The shade will help you focus on dedicating yourself to your yoga flow or lift of weights without getting too hot or flustered, providing a practical solution yet still keeping your garden looking premium.

A Kookaburra shade sail, as evidenced by the watermark

Browse Shade Sails

Compact Storage

Worked off those calories and got your heart rate up? Why not add in some elegantly designed garden storage to help protect and tidy up your outdoor space just in time for your guests to arrive.

Garden Storage

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Header Photo by Zane Lee on Unsplash

Decorative Features, Garden Design, How To, Water Features

Using water in your outdoor spaces is a sure-fire way to add something extra to your design. Water features add movement and sound to the environment and come to life in the sun, reflecting light and attracting wildlife.

Beyond this, they purify the air and create a relaxing atmosphere that makes these additions to your garden both aesthetically pleasing and practical. Here are our top tips on using water features in your garden design.

Match design to architecture 

When building or installing a water feature, you should try to choose something harmonised with your home’s architecture. Simple rectangular or curved shapes work well, and you should consider surrounding your pool or water feature with bricks, pebbles or decking that match its surroundings. 

River Canyon WatercourseHandmade Bath Stone Pond4-Tier Cascade

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Make use of different levels

We often ignore vertical space in our gardens. Playing with levels in your space adds more interest and lets you play with planters and seating placement.

Tall fountains, water walls or raised ponds are an effective way to play with height and give you the option of adding cascades and waterfalls.

3-Tier Classical Stone Fountain

Cascading Metal Water Feature

Create contemporary space with a waterfall

Sleek and modern, modern waterfalls often come in chrome and stainless steel designs that add an impressive CenterPoint to your garden. Surround the base with rocks and large plants for more effect and light with spotlights to create a mesmerising nighttime display.

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Ponds for wild gardens

Wild gardens can be havens for birds, pollinators and other garden animals, but we often see them as just meadows of wildflowers. However, a pond can be a great addition to these hardens and provide sanctuary for amphibians and other animals.

Build with a slight sloping side topped with pebbles and stones to allow easy access to animals. Surround with pollen-rich plants like coneflowers. You can also add marginal pond plants for textures and colours you won’t find anywhere else. 

Find all our pond-suitable plants here 

Rills for a timeless look

A rill is a long narrow channel that brings clean lines to your garden but can fit in with any design scheme. Surround with brick or stone for a traditional look or lay decking, bamboo, black gravel or pebbles for a contemporary or eastern design. 

Derek Harper / The Rill Garden, Coleton Fishacre / CC BY-SA 2.0

Integrate pumps and filters into the design

Any water feature needs a pump, and if it’s part of a pond you will also have filters, heaters and other equipment. All of this equipment can get messy and cluttered so, incorporating it into your design is a great way to keep your water feature running smoothly and keep your garden looking great. 

Lights

The full effect of a water feature will be seen during the day, but if you like to spend time outside during the evenings then placing lights around your water feature you can get just as good an effect.

Scale to your garden’s size

You don’t need a large garden to fit to have a water feature. Everything from a small courtyard to a balcony can benefit if you buy small tabletop or wall-mounted fountain that gives the same effect as bigger displays.

Jug and Bowl Solar Water FeatureThree-Tier Oil Jar Water FeatureOil Jar Cascading Water Feature
 
Wall-Mounted CascadeTriple Trickle Honey PotsVerdigris Wall Fountain

Think solar

A water feature can use a lot of electricity if run for most of the day. A solar water feature will save on your bills and keep your water feature active whilst you’re outside.

Terracotta Bowls

Tap and Half Barrel

EasterIsland Head

4-Tier Solar

Buckets and TapIvory 3-Tier Cascade

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Garden Design, How To

Lots of people have been working from home this year, and some big companies have made the change permanent. With hybrid working looking more likely in the future we need to start building workspaces in our homes. But, those with no spare rooms or a busy home might find this a bit difficult, so why not look to the garden. A garden office separates you from the distractions of the home and if you don’t have the budget to buy a brand new one why not look to what’s already in your garden. Here is everything you need to know about converting a shed or summerhouse into a great garden office. 

Image thanks to SHARON D

Step 1: Make your space suitable. 

Before you start buying materials and making changes to any outdoor building you should take a good look at it first to make sure it is a suitable place to work. You will be spending a big part of your day in it, so it needs to be comfortable, secure and protected from the weather. When surveying your space think about: 

  • Weatherproofing – your new office needs to be completely watertight, and some older sheds might not be. This is the first thing you should do and it is easy to do with a few simple steps: 1. Line the floor and roof with DMF, 2. seal any large gaps with a silicone sealant and you should have a nice dry place to work.

 

  • Electricity – a lot of office spaces will need computers, printers, fax machines and extra lighting in the winter. This means you will need a mains connection and always consult an electrician. You shouldn’t need planning permission unless you live in a listed building.

 

  • Heat & insulation -in the winter you want to work in a nice, toasty office. A smaller space can be easily warmed up with a heater. If you want to go a step further you can install some insulation and plasterboard for a higher-end look.  

 

  • Wifi and internet – this can be a tricky one if you have a big garden, but as long as you have a wired mains connection, the internet can be yours. You can buy a plug-in powerline adaptor quite cheaply that turns your electric cables into wifi boosters. 

 

  • Lighting – good lighting is the key to productivity. A combination of natural light in the day and good artificial light in the afternoon is key. If your shed or summerhouse has windows then one is already sorted. When putting artificial lighting in your home you have a few options, install a light fitting or buy a lamp. Whichever you choose make sure to choose a cold white over a warm white as they are better for concentrations, and always consult an electrician before installing light fittings. 

 

Step 2: Arrange your workspace.

Once your shed or summerhouse is ready to go it’s time to set up your office, and how you do this will depend on the size of your space. 

Small  – A basic office without all the bells and whistles, but there will be enough room for a chair and desk with all the space for your basics. 

Medium – Offers you more flexibility when it comes to the layout. You can add bookshelves and larger printers or equipment.

Large – Gives you the most flexibility. Y. Allows you to store all of your paperwork and equipment and may allow for workspace for multiple people. You can also add furniture for meeting or break spaces. 

Step 3 – Decorate

Make space your own. Consider adding some houseplants or pictures to make it a place you want to work. 

For more ideas on decorating your new workspace see our guide

Don’t have a shed or summerhouse already? 

 

If you don’t have a suitable building to convert into an office, then why not start from scratch. A small purpose made studio office is ideal for most sized gardens, but if you want something different you can see our whole range of outdoor buildings to find something you’ll love.