While flowerbeds and borders are great places to create a dazzling display, pots have the benefits of adding flexibility, variety, and a sense of staging. A potted garden can be a wonderful place to spend time, but if you’re stuck for ideas to get started, here are some design ideas for potted gardens.
If you’re short of space, plant pockets are the perfect compact solution. Our Living Wall Felt Planter hangs easily against a wall, fence, or balcony, and provides 6 small pockets that make great homes for small plants or herbs. You can also create your own using an over-the-door shoe organiser!
A plant ladder is an eye-catching addition to any garden or terrace and offers plenty of space for small plants. Our Outdoor Wooden Triangular Ladder offers three shelves to display items and add levels to your garden. You can also upcycle an old ladder with a fresh coat of paint.
A wall planter is a fantastic space-saving solution if you have a smaller garden, and can be a great way to brighten up a boring wall. Our Rusted Metal Vase Wall Planter adds style and character to your garden with rustic Greek-style urns.
Wellington boots make a unique way to display trailing plants. Our Pair Of Wellington Boots Planters have a rusted weathered finish and look amazing filled with tumbling plants. You can also upcycle an old pair of wellington boots for an eye-catching addition to your garden or patio.
No longer restricted to the ground, potted plants can be used to liven up a plain wall with lush greenery. Our Trough With Trellis Hardwood Planter provides a planting area with a wooden trellis for plants to climb up. Fill with beautiful climbing roses or clematis for a glorious display.
Jumbo-sized planters packed with plants are a great way to provide screens of green. Placing them in parallel rows is a great way to create a walkway or secluded area. The classic look of The Big One Terracotta Pot Planter makes an impressive and stylish addition to your garden.
A wishing well planter makes an attractive focal point for a patio or area of your garden and is a great way to house a range of plants. Our Large Wishing Well Wooden Planter is made from Swedish timber using sustainable resources and can be built in under half an hour.
A water feature planter serves the dual purpose of housing greenery while adding the ambient sound of gently flowing water to your outdoor space. It can also make a fantastic focal point. The Easter Island Solar Head Water Feature makes a stunning but natural-looking addition to your garden and comes with LED lights so you can enjoy it after dark.
Summer is the peak season for your garden; when the flowers bloom, the vegetables are ready to harvest, and the long lighter evenings pave the way for outdoor entertainment. Now the weather has taken a turn for the warmer, it’s time to think about what you want to bloom in your garden next season. Here are some ideas for upgrading and creating a summer garden.
Plan it out
Now it’s warm enough to head outside but the plants are yet to come into bloom, it’s a great time to revamp your garden and get started on any major projects so you can enjoy the results come summer. Could your garden do with a redesign? A new patio, decking, pond, or shift in layout? Could your fences, drainage system, paths or greenhouse do with a revamp? Do some research, browse Pinterest for inspiration, and either hire a professional or do it yourself. We stock a great range of patio paving, fencing, ponds, and greenhouses, to help out.
The bridge between your living room and garden is closing, as people are catching onto the trend of having furniture outdoors. Furniture designers are now producing lightweight and weatherproof garden furniture to offer a comfortable place to relax in your garden. You can use decking to provide a patio area; sofas, wicker chairs, and coffee tables to create a base; then get creative with planters, throws, cushions, lanterns and more to decorate. Afire pit can also make a bold focal point; these are also great for keeping warm during the evenings!
Get ready for those summer evenings by setting up a cooking station so you can impress your guests with delicious edibles. In addition to the classicBBQ, there is also the option of a chiminea, an outdoor fireplace that can function like a standard oven, or a pizza oven if you fancy cooking up something a little different! We also have a range of garden dining furniture, so you can alfresco dine in style!
Let’s face it, the British summer can be unpredictable, and there are likely to be as many rainy days as sunny ones. However, you don’t have to let the rain ruin your garden party. A canopy or pegola is a great solution for an unexpected downpour when you have friends over. They can also shield from the sun to provide a shady space. The Anthracite Veranda Garden Canopy Gazebo has a retractable roof that can be slid on and off depending on the weather.
A bouquet of colour
Now is the time to start planting the seeds of the flowers you wish to bloom come summer. These will fill your garden with glorious colour and impress guests, along with keeping bees and other pollinators happy. Flowers will make up your flowerbeds and borders, however you can also try container growing to add accents of colour to patios and decking. Our top picks include the Poppy “Ladybird”and the Sunflower “Sunburst”.
One of the best parts about having a garden is the ability to grow tasty fresh fruits and vegetables. Now is the time to plan what you want to grow ready to harvest this summer and start planting the vegetable seeds. If you have the space, it’s a good idea to choose a range, including beans and peas for protein, dark green vegetables for iron, and sweet peppers and tomatoes for vitamin C. You don’t have to limit their placement to a vegetable plot or patch; coloured lettuces, kale, and rainbow chard look great planted in flowerbeds or borders, and vegetables can also be grown in containers on the patio.
If you’ve ever sat down and tried to work out how you can redesign your garden but felt that it’s all too overwhelming, then you are in the right place.
What I’m going to take you through is a simple self help system that will give you the same tools that a professional garden designer uses that will result in a scheme for your garden that you will recognise as your own.
Most of the enquiries we receive at Elementa Design are from clients who have either inherited a layout from the previous owners that doesn’t suit them, or just feel that the garden they might have tinkered with is still lacking in interest, functionality and form. Their priority now is to put this right by engaging a designer to introduce the wow factor that shows a professional has been involved.
It occurred to us recently, after meeting with a new client who said that she wouldn’t know where to start designing her own garden, that I thought I should jot down what we actually do as designers to create these wonderful spaces.
There are of course years of experience, technical construction know how and confidence to produce that wow factor, but you can go a long way down the path of garden design yourself if you followed these simple steps.
1. Surveying the area
Everything starts with getting a better understanding of what you already have. You’ll have to establish what you can and can’t do in the context of the site you have. Call it site assessment.
Walk round the garden for a couple of minutes taking in a visual brief to remind yourself of those boggy or shady areas that plants struggle in. Are there any areas that might have rubble or old garden features below the soil that need avoiding? Where are the areas of shade or baking sun?
Now clear the kitchen table, make sure you have a little peace and quiet for an hour or so. Find a large piece of paper. An A3 sketchpad would do but otherwise improvise with the back of some Christmas wrapping paper, or something that gives you plenty of room to experiment. You’ll also need some basic tools such as a scale rule, a small set square, a pencil and a large eraser. You’ll then need to pace out the garden. Don’t worry at this stage about tape measures, remember that a good long stride is a metre, so as long as you get rough proportions correct along with the positions of the doors, windows and other major existing features then that’s good enough for the time being. At this stage only plot the items that are immovable. That’s the practical things complete. Now you can do the creative side.
2. The Brief
To take the brief I find it helps to take a sheet of paper and put a vertical line down the middle and another line intersecting that to form a cross, or four quadrants as in the example below.
You’ll see that there are specific titles in the quadrants; the top half deals with the existing garden and the bottom half gives you an opportunity to list those items that you do or don’t wish to see introduced into your new garden. Be as obvious as you can with your observations of the existing layout.
The bottom left hand quadrant should list those items and features that you’d like to see featured in your new garden that aren’t already there. This can be a wish list containing such things as water features, seating areas, BBQ area, shade sails, wooden planters and so on. Conversely, in the bottom right hand quadrant should go all those features and items that you wouldn’t like to see featured in the new garden. These may be items such as a particular yellow flower, statuary or more pots or containers, more lawn than you already have.
A lot of clients in the summer months are looking to plan to have features that can stand out in the winter months. Interestingly enough a lot of our garden design in Gloucestershire projects have incorporated both fire pits and halogen heating lamps adjacent to the seating area to add that wow factor and ensure you can enjoy your garden without necessarily wearing 4 layers in those chilly winter months. These are two of the stand out products from Primrose that we incorporated into our projects this year.
3. The Design
Given that sitting in the garden is an enjoyable and popular pastime for most people, it’s important that the seating area is easily accessible. Garden furniture can bring a sense of comfort to a garden. One of our most popular products that we have recommended to clients this year has been a corner Rattan sofa set that often seamlessly fits into both a country or town house garden. If you require something a bit smaller that could perhaps be suited to a focal point in your garden then a pair of stunning sofa chairs can be the perfect while adding that bit of luxury to another part of your garden.
4. The journey – or joining the dots
Every garden should have a flow, by that I mean if the terrace is near the house then the next feature should draw you to it via a path or strong visual link that takes you to the next position in the garden. Perhaps now it’s time to look at your list of features and garden design ideas that you’d like to see incorporated in your living space.
You may have for instance a swing seat, water feature, planters or just a small bistro type table and two chairs that you can linger at. We call these areas honeypots as they give you an opportunity to stop, sit and just take it all in. The idea is to be able to walk round the whole garden, however small, to enjoy and sample the various honeypots, perhaps with a cup of coffee or something stronger after work. Here are our ‘Top 2’ honeypots this summer which we have included in our projects and strongly believe you should too.
Incorporated into our formal designs, this stainless steel water cascade is made from high-grade stainless steel and glass, which added that wow factor when placed alongside a curved planting area.
5. Focal points
These are much talked about and they are important. By definition a focal point is a feature or item that draws the eye to a distant point, partially obscured to create mystery in some cases. These can be something as simple as a pot, a tree, a bright stainless steel water feature or even just a white metal bench in the distance inviting you to go and sit. It needs to send a strong message so choose carefully and make sure it’s large enough to be able to dominate that space so when viewed from a distance it has the proportion to do the job.
6. Keep it simple
I know it sounds obvious, but the keep it simple rule should be adopted everywhere. If the design of the garden is strong enough it doesn’t need over embellishment. The curves in the garden whether it be gravel or lawn, the shape of the flower beds, keep it bold. Be courageous with fingers of planting beds that come out mid garden creating strong shapes. Big sweeping curves work far better than little wiggles that can also be a nightmare for those having to do the mowing.
7. The review
Hopefully by now you’ll have the features that you want dotted around the garden, some obscured from each other if you have the space and bold profiles defining the margin between planting and the central areas. You’ll see that it then all begins to make sense and with luck you’ll recognise it as something resembling what you wanted to achieve.
Now you can produce a fair copy of your sketch and put a little bit more definition and discipline into the design. You could then take your piece of paper out into the garden on a dry day and mark the positions of the main features with sand or marker paint. You can then ‘walk through’ the new shapes and see how it feels. Begin to select your garden furniture if you’re not using your existing furniture and walk around so that you feel you have enough space on the seating area. Sit at the end of the garden and see how the shapes work there as well.
The most extraordinary and magical process is yet to be enjoyed. The garden that has come from within through this process of design will then be brought to life in front of you and will continue to mature and bring years of enjoyment. There is nothing more magical and satisfying.
Nick Dickinson of Elementa Design has been creating beautiful gardens for four decades now. Nick is an award winning garden designer who is able to take a brief, however sketchy, and transform your garden into something that will really stimulate the senses.
Before starting my job as a Marketing Executive at Primrose, I spent four years working as a domiciliary care worker. It was during these years I learnt about the phenomenal difference a garden made to my client’s lives, and how important it is to have a wheelchair friendly garden. I spent many hours wandering my clients’ gardens hearing about the progress they had made and learnt a lot about gardening myself from their advice. I’ve seen first-hand how watching a garden grow improved the mood of my clients, and I’m sure all gardeners can agree there is nothing more satisfying than seeing the results from all your hard work when flowers bloom, fruit appears or the bumble bees come stumbling in.
It is so important then that everybody has the opportunity to garden independently, whether you have had greenfingers your whole life or decided to give it a try for the first time. Gardening presents a huge array of benefits and the light exercise of pottering in your garden has been proven to burn more calories than a gym session – and you save on that membership fee! There has also been significant research to suggest gardening dramatically improves your mental health and self-esteem…weeding doesn’t sound so bad now does it?
However, gardening with a disability is far from easy and the lack of wheelchair friendly garden products can certainly be frustrating. I have been researching ways you can make your garden wheelchair friendly so you can adapt your garden and make the most of your outdoor space!
For serious gardeners, a greenhouse is a must. A greenhouse gives you the ability to grow plants and get results you ordinarily would not be able to, especially with the uncertainty of the British weather! It also gives you the opportunity to shelter your plants and yourself from any nasty weather meaning you get some extra time to tend to your plants, and who doesn’t want that?
Finding a wheelchair friendly greenhouse need not be difficult as long as you take proper measurements and research the greenhouse thoroughly. Don’t just take into account the space in your garden but also consider the space you need to be able to work comfortably, because you might be spending a lot of time in there.
Things to consider when looking for the perfect wheelchair friendly greenhouse:
Check the width of the doors to the greenhouse and make sure your chair will be able to fit through easily when entering and exiting.
Make sure there is no threshold (small step at the base of the greenhouse) which will be difficult to get over safely in your chair.
Height of internal shelves: make sure if your greenhouse comes with shelving that it is at a height you can reach comfortably.
If you keeping these requirements in mind it should be easy to find a greenhouse that is perfect for you, have a look at our wheelchair friendly greenhouses that also come in different colours to see if you can find the greenhouse of your dreams!
Another way you may wish to adapt your garden may be through the use of raised beds. Raised beds minimise risk by saving you from bending down to care for your plants, which would otherwise strain your back. However, make sure to thoroughly research which raised bed is going to be best for you based on your individual capability; raised beds are fantastic but they can also be difficult when you have to reach across them to tend to your plants. Think about a height that is going to work best, as well as the shape and the depth in regards to what will be most comfortable for you.
Raised beds are also a great option if you have poor quality soil due to the increased depth which makes good quality aerated soil for your plants. Isolating these plants also means you have the benefit of fewer weeds, and less pests! Raised beds are also renowned for improved drainage, which can be either a good or a bad thing depending on the situation, but does definitely mean more watering in the summer months which could become a burden.
If you have a grass garden you might find that buying some roll out garden tracking may really help you get across your garden. Garden track can help to disguise uneven grounding and gravel that typically make gardening in your chair more difficult. Clip in tracking can be extended as much as required for your convenience, or you can buy specialist wheelchair garden tracking for this purpose. Tracking is particularly good to use in bad weather too, and can be rolled up to be stored away easily until you need it next.
Finding good garden tools is an essential for any disabled gardener and there is a huge range online that have been adapted to make gardening jobs much easier; so be sure to shop around for what tools will make life easier for you personally.
In general, it’s great to have lightweight tools with wide handles. Not only will these help you with having a better grip, but it means you will be able to spend longer on gardening tasks without the tools becoming too heavy. Without a doubt though, the most important tools when gardening in a wheelchair are those with extended arms which save you from bending too far. It’s possible to get a wide range of tools with extendable arms on the internet from grippers, sheers, weed burners and much more.
One way to save yourself from constant bending is to have a potting station in your garden so you can get on with gardening jobs such as; potting and looking after cuttings and seedlings. They are also great for storage and hiding your tools and pots you’re not currently using. Make sure to check the measurements of the workstation so you find one that is the best height for you. It’s also worth considering using lightweight planters for planting in future, as these will make it a lot easier to manoeuvre the pot in your garden and save a lot of strain on your back when you need to re-position it. There are a wide range of lightweight planters now on the market that still have an authentic look so it’s worth having a look to find some pots that suit your garden’s style.
My last bit of advice is seemingly simple; keep your garden neat and organised! Not only will this make your garden appear tidier, but it is also very important to help prevent accidents. By having an organised garden with proper storage solutions you can give each tool a place and ensure you always know where to find it! If you have any more advice on how to create a more wheelchair friendly garden please do get in touch, and I hope everyone enjoys their gardens now we’re entering the Spring!
Zoë works in the Marketing team at Primrose, and is passionate about all things social media.
After travelling across Europe and Asia, Zoë is intrigued by different cultures and learning more about the world around her. If she’s not jet setting, Zoë loves nothing more than curling up with a good book and a large glass of red wine!
She is an amateur gardener but keen to learn more and get stuck in!