Sense of Place: Gardens with Attitude
By Tina James
When I design gardens, no matter the size of the space, I like to create paths and routes around the landscape. There is something magical about walking around the garden and seeing the evolution over different days and seasons. No two days are the same and with good design, there is always something emerging or waning, adding intrigue on each trip round the garden. If space allows, I like to have a variety of routes so you can take a different journey back and see the garden from yet another angle.
Whilst meandering through pathways in a garden, it is special to stumble upon a hidden intimate space that surrounds you and blocks out the rest of the world. One really effective way to create different zones in a garden is with the use of hedges. Hedging can screen out any areas you are less than enamoured by in the garden and help you to create secluded, private rooms with living walls: little green oases to spend time outside in nature. Using hedges in this way creates a little mystery in the landscape so not everything is revealed at once, adding layers to the experience of walking around the garden.
Hedges are much longer-lasting than fences, have a fantastic aesthetic impact and make wonderful habitats for birds and wildlife. They also act as a living windbreak, perfect to shelter those areas of the garden where you are keen to reduce the wind flow and create a sense of calm as a natural alternative to walls. A relaxed seating area surrounded by a Taxus hedge provides shelter and makes the perfect setting for an afternoon cup of tea al fresco – even in windy weather.
Aromatic hedges, such as Lavender or Rose, are wonderful around sunny dining spaces, offering their delightful fragrance for all to enjoy and encouraging pollinators to visit the garden.
Taller hedges are wonderful for screening off parts of the garden you would prefer stay out of sight, such as a utility area, compost bins or any unsightly buildings on the horizon. Taller hedging can also be used to focus the eye on a vista or specific feature in the garden.
Gardens are extensions of our homes, and for those who would love more rooms indoors, the garden can provide opportunities for an inspired open-air alternative. Using hedges for walls and privacy, you could create an outdoor dining area, lounge, den, cinema, garden room, gym, yoga or painting studio – if you have the space, the opportunities are endless. Depending on location and individual courage level, you may feel an outdoor bathroom is one step too far – but for the risk-takers among us, it’s not impossible!
A skilled garden designer can help sculpt the garden ingredients you would like to use into a cohesive garden design, delivering more useable space and giving a sense of purpose to the garden.
View our range of hedging plants on our website here, or call our Plant Centre on 01869 340342, option 1 for more information.
If you are interested in our Garden Design service, call us to book an appointment on 01869 340342, option 2.
About the Author
Tina combines an enviable eye for design with a wealth of plant knowledge, having worked her whole life in the sector from hands-on growing and gardening through to running a major retail and plant distribution unit. Her passion for plants is evident in all her schemes, with her creative flair underpinned by sound horticultural practicality. BALI accredited, Tina designs and oversees construction and planting on site with energy and enthusiasm.
Favourite Garden? Coton Manor Garden in Northamptonshire
Why? It provides a beautiful journey through exquisite garden rooms with many diverse habitats from terraces and borders to water gardens, orchards, meadows and the most amazing bluebell woods. Through clever design, there is something to appreciate in every season: from Snowdrops, Hellebores, Narcissus, Tulips, Bluebells, Peonies, Wisteria, Alliums, Roses, Delphiniums, Clematis, Anemones, Dahlias, Asters… The list is endless and well thought out to provide year-round interest.
Favourite Plant? The Rose
Why? As a designer, there are few plants that flower for such long periods. Modern roses have great disease resistance, many have a beautiful fragrance and will repeat flower over the season. There will be a Rose of every colour to suit the purpose, depending on the colour scheme you may be using or whatever your personal preferences are. They are easy to grow and will tolerate most soils, some will even flourish in the shade. You can get the most from them by feeding them twice a season and watering them well.