Focus Magazines The local magazines for Abergavenny, Crickhowell, Brecon & Talgarth – Events, News and Advertising

In Last month’s issue of the Abergavenny Focus, we looked at transferring all the survey information which you collected from your garden in part one, onto a scaled drawing. In this issue we will look at adding all the new design features from your wish list to your garden, for example; patios, paths, planting and water features etc – basically all the hard and soft landscaping to make a final design.
All the items that were needed for last months drawing can again be used to produce the final design, so there is no need to buy anything else other than some coloured card or paper. You will need the copies of your scaled drawing from last month, your mood board, wish list and any pictures which have been a source of inspiration.
It can seem a daunting task when you sit down and think about fitting all the features you want in your garden. I find the easiest way to try out different layouts on your drawing is to use collage. Start by taking the coloured paper or card and cut out some different shapes to scale of the items you would like to include.  For example if you want a patio try square ,circular and octagonal shapes. Paths  can be straight, curved or angular. Repeat this process for all the hard landscaping elements.
Start by laying out your card shapes on your garden. Try overlapping circles and squares, or turn your square shapes on a 45° angle; this can elongate a garden. Try a few different combinations and layouts. Once you have a layout that is visually pleasing and fills your requirements, you need to think about what feature each area will be in reality e.g. which areas should be paved and what material do you want to use. Once you have done this, you can glue them all into place.
When you complete a layout like this it can seem extremely hard. The addition of plants is what makes it a garden – they subtly soften the lines of the hard landscaping and, for me, are the most important part of any design. The sights, sounds and of course their scent all make for a relaxing, peaceful place to escape to. For many people, tending their plants is a good way to clear the mind and escape the pressures of everyday life. But do think about how much time you have to tend your garden. After all, who wants to be a slave to their garden? It’s no good having a cottage style plant scheme as pretty as it looks if you can’t commit the time to maintain it. This type of planting scheme can be very time consuming to keep it in flower and looking good all summer. So if you want low maintenance then it’s a good idea to use mostly evergreen plants as they require little effort. If you have some time to garden each week you could add in some perennials – the more of these you have, the more maintenance you are likely to do.
Now, with a pencil, add the areas that are to be your borders to your plan. Before selecting plants for your garden, there are some important points to think about.  Do you have acid, alkaline or neutral soil? Is the soil sandy being free draining or clay being waterlogged? How much sun does the area get – full shade or full sun? Is the area protected or exposed to wind? All these factors are important to the plants’ ability to thrive in your garden.  A good place to start looking for the right choice for your conditions is the RHS ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PLANTS. This should be available at your local library. Alternatively, when you visit your local garden centre, they should be able to advise you on whether the plant choices you have made will thrive in the conditions you are providing.
I always start choosing my plants by first, selecting the shrubs or trees that are to be the main features in the border whilst creating the background. Next choose the skeleton plants. These should be mostly evergreen to provide permanent structure throughout the whole year. I like to include ornamental grasses when planting as they work beautifully with flowering plants.
Next I add the pretty bits. These are usually perennials – the summer flowering plants that add seasonal colour and interest and, if carefully chosen, can change the look of your border month to month.  Finally I add in fillers. These are usually bulbs, such as alliums and irises as well as annuals like nigella (love in a mist) or centaurea (cornflowers).  These can just be sprinkled from the seed packet and as they grow will fill all the little gaps naturally.  Remember: your garden is your little peace of heaven and should be an expression of your personality, somewhere to kick back and unwind at the end of the day.
Next month we will look at different elements of construction in the garden, so I will be putting you in the trusty hands of my construction team who will give some hints and tips on building your garden and what to look out for when employing a contractor to build it for you.


Article by Helen Powell of Townsend Design

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