Our busy clients had a small, shady garden with existing decking. First and foremost, they wanted a stylish, glamorous and exciting outside space to entertain. But it also needed to be low maintenance and big on drama, with bold colours all year round.
Stylish gardens: Adding a touch of luxury
As usual, I found design inspiration in creative details, exhibitions and artwork I’d seen and admired. Having recently discovered a series of vintage promotional posters for the cruise liners of the 20s and 30s, I was inspired by the high gloss surfaces and rich colours that oozed luxury and style. As a result, I chose sleek Perspex screens and brightly painted walls, setting the stage for this stylish garden of drama and delight.
The illusion of space
A painting by Bronwen Sleigh called ‘Jinja Road Study’ inspired the garden layout. Repeating squares within squares to extend and unify the space and incorporate the existing deck.
Colour and scale
Remembering an exhibition of gothic photographs by Tim Walker at the V&A and his playful use of scale, I added a series of giant, orange planters for colour and spectacle.
Stylish garden textures
Contrasting materials can create direction and excitement. For example, using smooth surfaces like porcelain tiles and planters alongside knobbly cobbles, rough decking and pointy palms, to define pathways and zones.
Like those splendid ocean liners of old, this garden allows you to entertain and relax in luxurious style. All set against a dramatic landscape of exotic colours and rich textures.
GET THE LOOK
Stylish gardens with year round colour
Because it’s hard to plant year-round colour in a small garden, use accessories like planters, wall paint, wall panels and cushions instead to add pops of colour. In addition, match inside colours, outside, to harmonise the spaces.
Low maintenance tips
There’s no such thing as a zero maintenance garden, but you can make choices to minimise ongoing maintenance. Choosing shrubs instead of herbaceous perennials, and evergreens over deciduous varieties, for instance, to avoid falling leaves. Similarly, planting long flowering blooms will reduce the need for dead-heading. And using drought-tolerant plants or irrigation systems will mean less watering.
Earth Designs is an award-winning garden design and landscaping company. They’re members of the British Association of Landscape Industries and the Association of Professional Landscapers.
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