When we bought our house the garden was laid to lawn with a single apple tree and chain link fencing. Although I had never designed a garden before I wanted to create a garden that was personal to me so set about creating my first garden design.
I divided the garden into five main parts – the patio area, the lawn, the borders, the gravel area and the storage area. The design was asymmetrical with the apple tree on the left being balanced by the shed on the right.
I wanted to use a geometrical shape for the lawn, which would create interesting shaped borders. I decided to use circles - a large circle with a slightly smaller one overlapping, with a semi circle to the side. The two circles were to be the lawn with the semi circle being a decorative gravel area in Cotswold stone.
The back right corner of the garden was used for the storage area with a shed and space for bins etc. A decorative trellis was used to partially screen the storage area from view and also act as a backdrop for the semi circular decorative gravel area. A birdbath was added to the gravel area to attract birds and to also be a focal point.
The area directly in front of the house was to be the sitting area and I decided on natural stone paving. The circular lawn cut into the patio giving this area an interesting shape. The paving was grey/blue, which complemented the multi rustic bricks of the house. The patio was then edged using the same colour bricks as the house, which helped define the patio area whilst also relating it to the house.
The borders were planted to give all year colour with evergreens of varying shapes, sizes, textures and colours forming the main structure. Two Japanese Maples (Acer Palmatum ‘Atropurpureum’) were planted, one on each side of the garden, to act as focal points whilst walking through the garden.
Conifers (Cupressus ‘Goldcrest Wilma’) were planted at the back of the garden to give height, colour and shape. The spikes of the conifers were complemented by more rounded plants such as Drimys Aromatica and Photinia ‘Red Robin’.
The patio and gravel areas both had containers added with ornamental dwarf conifers and seasonal plants to add colour.
Spring colour comes from a number of different spring bulbs including daffodils, tulips, snowdrops and crocuses. The apple blossom not only adds Spring colour but also a wonderful scent.
Early summer sees plants such as the Lithospermum Diffusium ‘Star’ whose bright blue colour complements the red of the Japanese maples. Mid to late summer sees the harmonising colours of the Nemesia which has been planted in a number of varieties such as Wisley Vanilla, Ice Pink and Amelie. This time also sees the complementary purple and yellow of the Sisyrinchium ‘Rocky Point’ and the Coresopsis ‘Flying Saucers’.
Autumn colour comes from the changing foliage. In particular the reds of the Pieris ‘Flaming silver’ and the deep gold colours of the Spiraea ‘Magic Carpet’. And of course the golden brown foliage of the apple tree.
The evergreens continue to give colour all through the winter but winter flowering plants have also been added to create more interest. There are winter flowering heathers, Pink Periwinkle Vinca and climbing plants such as Jasminum Nudifflorum.
Designing my first garden was a very rewarding experience which inspired me to become a garden designer.
If you're interested in learning more about garden design then a good place to start is Alan Titchmarsh's book on Garden Design: