Designing my Garden – Creating the Structure

Designing my garden was harder than I thought it would be. Two years after starting the construction  it is now complete. There was a slight lull in proceedings whilst an extension to the house was built.  We now have a fabulous design studio overlooking the garden. It sometimes proves very hard to get any work done!



Putting together a design brief was both tricky and illusive for quite some time with so many options and possible design directions.  So much easier designing a garden for someone else!

The main aim was to maximise enjoyment of the sun. We also decided that we would like a small kitchen garden (well, hubby did); storage for logs and catering for wildlife was to be an overriding consideration.

For a start my garden is north facing. The key to the layout is therefore to place the main entertaining area where it would get the last rays of the sun. This would have to be in the far corner of the garden. This also meant that the sun loungers would have to be alongside the dining area to ensure they are not in the shadow of the house.

The view from the double doors was crying out for a focal point. We divided the garden with a narrow path which was to lead to the large feature wall which became the main focal point. The actual look of the feature wall was yet to be decided.




This path divided the garden neatly in two. The ’kitchen garden’ sits to the left, conveniently situated in front of the kitchen, and the main […]

In a Cotswold Garden

The Blue Tulip Garden Design team (AKA me and hubby), took our annual pilgrimage to an inspirational garden last weekend. A short trip to the Cotswolds to visit Kiftsgate Court Gardens, and just across the road, quite literally, Hidcote Manor Garden.

What strikes you most is how each garden has been designed on the basic principle of a series of rooms. The garden visitor is guided through a maze of narrow pathways and secret gardens, each with its own character, some formal, some informal. This is an ideal way to create interest within a large garden, and encourages the visitor to explore further

Some rooms are revealed only once you enter through a defined ‘doorway’ such as a well-trimmed hedge. Some encourage you to linger with seating provided and others, it’s a quick march through to the next.

Both gardens have used water features in very striking ways. Kiftsgate has a pool with a tremendous view across the Cotswold countryside with the hills of Malvern in the far distance. It was once a swimming pool, as was a raised circular pool at Hidcote.

One of the most recognisable water gardens in the UK can be found in an enclosed area at Kiftsgate. Once an old tennis court, a stunning reflective pool has been installed, a striking contrast to the abundance and colour elsewhere.


A Trip to RHS Tatton Flower Show 2016

An unexpected gap in my work schedule resulting from a few procrastinating clients meant I could sneak a visit to RHS Tatton Flower Show on Thursday with my garden design buddy Dawn. As an added bonus the sun shone almost all the time we were there, with only a threat of rain as we were leaving; quite a result!

We ended up staying five hours and still didn’t see everything but eventually ran out of steam. Like most visitors to the show we viewed the show gardens first. There were some popular themes that could be seen across several gardens, in particular the use of copper, used widely in various water features, but also in other elements such as the edging to a border and a few copper cubes.

Tatton Collage - copper water features

A popular hard landscaping material choice were small element paving with many garden designers using clay pavers, bricks and tile on edge in a number of gardens, often used alongside other materials. These give a very relaxed feel to a design, and can be used successfully in both traditional and contemporary gardens.


RHS Tatton Flower Show

Planting varied across a wide spectrum of colours from soft harmonious pastels to vibrant reds and pinks. Those I thought that worked best used purple as the basis of their planting schemes.

Tatton collage purples

Saying that, my favourite garden actually used a completely different colour scheme. This was the Gold medal winning Young Garden Designer […]