There really is a conundrum for today’s gardeners. In today’s world we live in smaller spaces but we still want that outdoor space – for entertaining, to chill out in, to add a touch of elegance and beauty, to grow food and much more.
The question is how to fit everything in.
The answer in many cases is use containers – pots, planters, recycled tins, anything which will hold compost or potting mix and a plant.
However, in the interests of creating a space to chill out in and to add a touch of elegance and beauty, in most instances, take a breath and think – less is more…
Think about that space as you would any indoor space and design it around a theme.
Here are some ideas from designers and plants people in past Royal Horticultural Society garden shows to give you a great start. These guys know there are some rules to be aware of and follow or consciously break – with care.
Rule 1 – Work out your style at the beginning and stick to it
Most of the best gardens are styled around a design which is thought through at the beginning – so difficult to make that decision when in the middle of a garden center filled with amazing temptations in both containers and plants.
Rule 2 – Uniformity
It pays to have a sense of togetherness. Especially where spaces are small.
This lovely little garden works because there is a strong sense of unity in the containers used.
The large platted topiary in the front is in a half barrel of timber and steel bands. The planting at the back of the deck are in concrete or fiberglass grey containers.
They all follow the same colour palette.
It doesn’t matter that the size, shape and material of the planters is different, in this rendition it is their colour which pulls everything together.
Rule 3 – Make a statement
Even if that statement is played down in some way.
This beautiful tall, slender bucket with its simple rope handle is planted with quiet succulents and set in a gravel bed.
Understated and elegant, this lovely piece is definitely making a statement.
Rule 4 – Use fewer large planters rather than many little ones
Here the planters have been built in around the seating area to create an enclosed space.
Large planters make it easier to create your design statement.
Rule 5 – Repetition
But sometimes small is wonderful and this is where repetition is useful to create that sense of scale.
Rule 6 – And never forget the power of whimsy.
The florists have this one nailed
Yes I know it will be difficult to implement in a garden but just think if you got it right with the planting worked out.
Rule 7 – Keep it simple
You really do not have to use acres and acres of planters to make that statement. Keeping it simple often works.
Rule 8 – Add flowers for beauty
But remember flowers in pots need to be looked after.
Or colour to give vibrance
Rule 9 – Add water
Water always adds another dimension so filling one of your planters with water – without plants or fountains works
Rule 10 – Absolutely forget the rules
And this one. Abundant, not simple, not consistent, just wonderful.