Good landscaping is one thing, but a gold medal winning design is about innovation and taking risks.
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is a great place to look for inspiration and ideas. You may not be attempting to landscape your garden on such a grand scale, but you can gather some fresh and original thoughts from looking at the exhibitors’ displays and some of the incredible designs.
Here are a few tips to get your garden design ideas flowing.
1) Give your garden a theme
Do you have a concept you’d like to make the central topic for your plan? It could be sustainability, wildlife, or modern design.
What’s your passion and how can you bring it to life in your garden?
2) Look at your environment
What’s the situation of your garden? Where does the sun rise and where does it set? Which areas receive the most sunlight during the course of the day? What can you do with those shady spots? Is your garden very open and exposed to the elements? Or it is warm and sheltered, making it viable to grow less hardy and more tropical plants.
This information is vital to successfully implementing a planting scheme.
3) Work with the landscape
As with your environment, there are some things you just can’t change, so you need to work with them. If you have an odd shape or awkward angle to contend with, choose a surface that’s flexible. Decking can be cut to size and paving shaped to suit your requirements.
Ground level or raised flower beds don’t need to be straight; they can be curved and fashioned into any shape or size you need.
4) Have a focal point
Or a series of focal points. Decide what you want as the centrepiece of your garden. It could be a certain tree or plant; it could be a stunning lawn, or it could be an unusual structure.
Your main focus can then have a few supporting items that draw attention to it rather than detract from it.
5) Attention to detail
Award winning gardens all have incredible detail. Each element is thought out and finished to perfection. There’s no point in taking scrupulous pains over your paving only to be let down by a messy planting scheme.
Plan every aspect of your garden in advance and allow time for it to evolve.
6) Include plenty of features
If you don’t want your garden to be monotonous, incorporate lots of features and bring in plenty of visual interest. Avoid empty spaces.
It’s exciting to walk through a garden and wonder what you’ll discover next.
7) Compliment and contrast
You’ve filled your garden with detailed elements, but there needs to be cohesion. Does everything blend together harmoniously? It you want to create some consistency, try repeat planting of a particular flower or grass.
Ask yourself, do all your features fit in with the overall theme?
I hope this has given you some food for thought. Your design can be anything you want it to be, but remember, each element needs to bring something to the whole.
That’s what makes a gold medal winning garden design.