If we’ve learnt anything over the last few years an outside space can enrich your emotional wellbeing and be a great space to work, rest and play! So why not with the long haul of cold or wet winter days and nights, grab pen and paper and start rethinking areas of your garden? Redesigning a garden can be a bit overwhelming however one of our garden owners, who will be opening her garden for the first time this year, suggests that you are not too ambitious and start with a small, achievable yet impactful project. Amanda over the last 6 years has created a hidden treasure, with a gorgeous contemporary garden overlooking Stoney Bottom’s wooded landscape.
When she moved into Lynton, she loved the borrowed landscape of a majestic oak tree beside the property and a landscaped rolling garden sloping down into the valley. However she soon realised that what appeared to be a luscious garden was actually covered in ivy and brambles. Not having much experience she sought advice and gradually learnt about the differing conditions in her garden, especially the frost pockets which caused havoc with her less hardy plants. Her first project focused on the terrace, the raised beds were starting to disintegrate so were rebuilt. Mentored by our very own Vanessa, who helped Amanda identify the plants worth keeping, select plants that thrived in shady dry conditions and how to under-plant with fern and heucheras. They visited garden centres for plants and identified mature, structural plants, already in the garden that could be repositioned for better effect.
Amanda now has a garden that is full of attractive features – a woodland path that complements the magnolia tree beside the terrace; an attractive beach garden with a warming fire pit, perfect for socialising in the evenings; a dry waterfall bed which becomes a stream when the rain falls; a bog garden with a small pond; a selection of herbaceous borders; a container cut flower garden and a greenhouse. This year’s project is to have a portable veg garden on the terrace so we can’t wait to find out how this is progressing when we visit in May. What started as a small gardening project has now become a real love, and she uses her outside space for work, rest and play!
Amanda’s top tips when starting a new project:
1. Find a mentor, they will give you lots of advice and help you on your journey or a garden designer. 2. Read around the subject, check out gardening books or research on the internet. 3. Visit gardens for ideas, our local area has a wealth of gardens, from RHS Wisley, Winkworth Arboretum, Loseley and Painshill Park to name a few 4. Visit local village gardens to understand what plants suit the local soil and conditions, so the Hidden Gardens of Grayshott event is a perfect day out to research 5. Watch gardening programmes, there are wealth of programmes all giving valuable advice on a weekly/monthly basis 6. Go on talks, workshops or visit shows, such as Chelsea or Hampton Court Flower Shows 7. If you have the budget involve a garden landscaper, they can help design the structural areas of the garden 8. Visit nurseries and instead of spending a fortune on plants just buy one and see if they survive 9. If you can try to grow from seed it will be rewarding and save you money 10. And finally, be prepared to adapt, remember you might not get the planting right first time so you might need to move plants around the garden finding spots where they can thrive