‘An Englishman’s home is his castle’, they say - and not just his home, but his garden as well! We have always been renowned as a nation of garden-lovers, but the current pandemic has seen a massive surge in our appreciation of our outside spaces and an increased demand for properties with gardens.
As the various lockdowns have forced us all to stay at home, those lucky enough to have a garden have recognised their importance as a place of solace and sanctuary.
As a Garden Designer I know the value of spending time outdoors, but I am still struck by the way that re-organising an outside space can transform the way that people actually live.
This is probably my favourite aspect of my job: when something that I have drawn on paper or mapped out on a computer becomes a living, breathing reality, people with families and friends, relaxing, socialising, just doing their thing, making full use of their garden.
People think that gardens are all about plants. Don’t get me wrong - I am as susceptible to a gorgeous Rose as anyone - but the most effective way to transform your garden is to re-think the physical space itself.
Here are my top tips for getting the best out of your garden:
- Measure it out. Draw it up on a big bit of paper. Take a pencil and start trying out some shapes. If it doesn’t work on paper, there’s no way it will work in 3D.
- Don’t be limited by the horizontal plane. Even the smallest balcony or courtyard has plenty of vertical scope that can be utilised to create volume and add growing space.
- There’s no need to over-engineer things. In design terms, simpler is almost always better.
- Create more seating areas. Adding a simple bench somewhere new will encourage you to stop and sit and see things from a different perspective.
- Add some simple lighting for instant drama and atmosphere.
- There is no one way to create a garden. Each garden is unique and should reflect the personality and preferences of its owner. Not every garden needs a lawn, for example.
- When it comes to plants: try things out. Make mistakes. As a designer, I often have to choose plants for my clients that are reliable stalwarts. But in your own garden you can be more adventurous. Have a go: start learning what you like and what thrives in your conditions.
- No garden is ever static, so embrace the possibilities this brings.
- Get the kids involved: children make the best gardeners!
We want to thank Nina for sharing these fantastic insights with us, if you would like to learn more about what she does or how she could help you you can check out her website www.ninasgarden.co.uk or her instagram page @ninasgardendesign.