How to design yourself a Chelsea-worthy garden

Posted on May 18, 2018 by Guest Writer

How to design yourself a Chelsea-worthy garden

Chelsea Flower Show will be upon us again from 22 to 26 May this year. In many ways, Chelsea is like a gardening cat-walk and this year’s innovative garden design ideas may well get you in the mood to create your own designer garden.

If you want the “wow” factor without calling in professional garden designers, these tips and tricks should help you create the garden of your dreams.


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Contemporary gardens

  • Fresh white tends to be at the base of most things contemporary, including gardens. It’s all about ‘clean’ lines, smooth surfaces and minimalism. White materials and white-washed brick walls and fences introduce a great feeling of space with texture.
  • Contemporary design is stripped back and planting is reduced to a few key varieties only; for example, a row of miniature trees, box-cut bushes, shrubs or ornaments placed at regular intervals without overcrowding.
  • For paving, pale, geometrically laid limestone or gravel can create elegant paths or patios that contrast stylishly with your planting areas.
  • Lighting is vital in contemporary garden design. Direct your lights on the focal point of the garden and one or two other interesting elements – perhaps a sculpture, a tree or textured bricks.


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Traditional cottage gardens

  • Informal, mixed planting schemes work a treat anywhere so you don’t need a thatched house or period stone cottage to have a traditional style garden.
  • This type of garden is ideal if you want to grow lots of different plants that merge together seamlessly to form a spray of flowers and foliage, spilling over the edges of paths and planters.
  • Keep your garden layout simple as your design will soon get lost in planting. A narrow path is fine in a small, rectangular back garden while wider walkways and swathes of lawn are great for a larger plot. To introduce a feeling of space, curved edges on your lawns, patios and flower beds work best.
  • Arches, pergolas, clipped hedges, trellises and benches can divide your cottage garden into areas, leading the eye onwards through the garden, as well as creating interesting focal points.


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Urban gardens

  • Space can sometimes be scarce in an urban garden so features count more than ever. Keep your garden smart, uncluttered and simple to make it look spacious and inviting.
  • You might want to keep space clear for an attractive view or an existing landscape feature. On the other hand, perhaps you want to hide an ugly wall, boundary or utility pole. Bamboo or a trellis plus a leafy creeper can work well to disguise any features you’d rather not look at.
  • Plants need careful research. Work out how much time your city life leaves you to care for and water your plants. Do you really have the time to care for lots of herbs or tomatoes or would a small collection of low-maintenance succulents or cacti suit you better? What is the soil quality like? If plants struggle to thrive in your garden, you might consider paving or decking to create a low-maintenance patio dotted with pots and containers.