When Jacqui Brooks first set eye on her garden in 2018, there wa almost nothing about it she like “It had some badly laid decking and a lawn which had been planted on top of some rubble,” she remembers. “There was nothing I wanted apart from a big plum tree a the bottom which conceals some of the surrounding houses.” But Jacqui was undaunt by the amount of work required. In fact, she w pleased. “It meant I could take everything out and start with a blank canvas,” she explains. As the busy co-founder of Miafleur, an onl home and garden accessories boutique whic she runs with daughters Hollie and Amelia, Jacqui has little spare time so she employed local company Second Nature Gardens to create a design to her specifications.
“I wanted a sense of structure, and I asked for plenty of evergreen plants as I like to enjoy my garden all year round. Chris Gutteridge, the designer and owner, came up with elements I would never have thought of, such as low box hedging on the patio nearest the house. I wanted fencing, walls and hedging which would help to frame the patio areas, and lots of different areas where I could create the little vignettes that I love, using plants and accessories, such as pots, outdoor mirrors, interestingly shaped chairs and plant SEVERY AVAILABLE SPACE IS FILLED with rich detail and handmade touches, like this rustic bench, created by a local carpenter, flanked by a variety of pots and backed by a clematis. stands.
How do I design my own landscape?
I find things everywhere, from our own store, at antiques fairs and in salvage yards.” It took the three months of autumn 2012 for Chris to carry out the hard landscaping, including building two walls, creating two patios, and planting the different areas. “The only access to the garden is through the garage and kitchen, so it wasn’t an easy time,” recalls Jacqui. “But I’m very pleased with the results.” When the weather is fine, she often shares lunch outside with her daughters on the patio which can be accessed via the kitchen or the garden room. There is a built-in garden store adjacent to the house, containing a log store, with room for some tools, plus a surface where Jacqui can pot her plants.
Wildlife Garden Design
The store is painted in Farrow & Ball’s French Gray, a colour which has also been used on the horizontal fencing, and is an effective contrast to the bold blooms which Jacqui loves. To the right of the patio, there are a number of evergreen plants, including a hebe, trailing ivy and an azalea. “I wanted to have this greenery near the house so there’s something to see, even in the depths of winter,” she explains. In the middle section of the garden, there is a rectangular herbaceous flower bed where Jacqui lets her love of colour run riot with deep shades of purple and pink cosmos, which will keep flowering until the first frosts, zingy green echinacea, dark pink achillia, and lamb’s ears with their soft, tactile green foliage and lipstick-pink flowers. “I’ve always had lots of rich colours in my home, in the form of cushions, throws and china, and this is continued outside, too. I’m not a plant expert but I know what I like,” explains Jacqui. “Shopping online for plants is so convenient, but mistakes can be made. I planted a hydrangea too close to the large plum tree and it was too shady. On the arch, the original roses were just too big and floppy, so they were removed and will be replaced with a smaller variety.
IF EXPENSIVE VINTAGE TERRACOTT
A pots are beyond the realms of your budget, Jacqui recommends painting a new one with a coat of pale emulsion and simply leaving the weather to ‘age’ the surface naturally.
Natural Backyard Landscaping Ideas
Don’t be afraid to make changes,” she advises. “Just take the plant out and put something else there instead! I’m also impatient: if something is not doing well, then it’s out!” The free-flowing character of the flower bed is tempered by some formal cubes of box hedging, which sit in the gravel. “My son is a tree surgeon, so luckily he helps me to keep all the hedges trimmed and in shape,” she explains. The cream-painted summerhouse provides one of the garden’s focal points. There is a sandstone patio outside, with inviting tables, chairs and loungers. The area is framed by an old mellow red brick wall, which looks as if it’s been standing for hundreds of years, but in fact this is one of the features which Jacqui introduced. “It’s a false wall which has been created with reclaimed brick to get that aged, characterful look.
It has a very handy gap behind it, which is where I store all the messy stuff!” Even the area behind the shed at the end of the garden, which most people might be tempted to neglect, has been carefully styled with a variety of pots in varying shapes and sizes, and two grey painted potting benches, which Jacqui has crammed with container plants. Hostas stand in the shade, their shapely foliage adding interest. A rustic bench, made by a local carpenter, is highlighted by a mass of Clematis montana growing on the fence around it. There are very few bare spaces or gaps. “I have to decorate everything” she says. “Trying things out doesn’t make for a low maintenance garden but there are endless possibilities to enjoy.” With a careful eye, Jacqui has ensured her garden was constructed in a way which means she can still enjoy it, even when she’s in the house. “I don’t watch TV, and tend to sit in the kitchen or garden room to relax, reading and looking out. Even at night, when the light is on the patio, I can still appreciate my space. It’s a spiritual place for me, and brings a life-affirming feeling I can’t imagine being without.”
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