My garden in Wandsworth is not really a very good example of my garden design as it has evolved over 20 years with almost zero input from me! It is almost a classic case of the “cobbler’s shoes”. However it has also had an unbelievable bashing in the last 9 months as my son, Freddie, has started up his business here “Freddie’s Flowers” and you can see from this photograph what it looked like about 3 months ago. The whole garden was full of tent and boxes and rubbish! How it survived is a miracle. Anyway Freddie’s flower business has taken off and has moved out and so we have our garden back. We have just put down a new lawn and are examining what has been lost in terms of plants. I bought a few pretty things in our local nursery on Sunday and am about to put them in.
However most of the gardens that I design don’t have time to evolve. Young couples are looking for something pretty good quite quickly. They are invariably hard wording professionals with young children and therefore want something low maintenance and highly practical. They are looking for a paved or decked terrace or patio on which to entertain, they want some easy to keep raised flower beds, built in seating areas, PROBABLY some astroturf..though I’m not so keen of course, some storage space for their children’s plastic toys, lighting and probably a small water feature for the sound of water rather than anything else… a fire pit or fireplace, oh and probably a climbing frame or trampoline..that’s about it. BUT they want it to be very effective and something that reflects their inside space. So if they have a white minimalist kitchen with bifold doors on to the garden they probably also want white limestone paving with white rendered walls whereas if they have granite work tops they will want to reflect that in black basalt or granite paving in their garden. These gardens definitely have their place and can look very attractive and welcoming too. I do have one caveat however… I always try very hard to get a bee loving shrub in amongst the minimalist planting if I possibly can or even a shrub where a bird can nest… buddlejas or ceanothus for instance..both hugely old fashioned but both lovely and vintage too!