Garden shows are fantastic events and great places to pick up design inspiration. There are so many different looks on show, but I’ve picked five creative ideas for you. I want to show how you can use different plants and features to create a garden mood – why not give it a go?
1 The formal garden
Most of us don’t have acres of land like Hampton Court Palace, but garden designers are always inspired by their surroundings. This boxy garden is an effective way to use the shapes of a formal garden in a smaller space. It works as a front garden or as a hedge or border.
The formal look is really clean and stylish, and I love the use of cream-coloured garden features. But what makes this different is the sensory element – lavender releases a lovely scent when you walk past, and the silvery Stachys is nicknamed Lamb’s Ears after its fluffy foliage.
2 The white garden
Create impact with plants by sticking to a simple colour scheme like the 50 Years in Bloom garden. Green and white is a classic combination, and gives you the freedom to play with textures instead. I love the wire arch in the background too!
Start with multi-stem silver birch trees at the back, and add in different flowering plants and shrubs in front. Foliage is important here – plants with silver leaves help to bring the white and green together. The key to making it look cohesive is to repeat plants throughout the bed. Plus follow the ‘tallest at the back’ rule.
3 The meadow garden
Wildflower meadows are on trend at the moment for lots of reasons. They are relaxed, low-maintenance and natural looking. Plus wildlife and pollinators love them! Create a meadow path like this Jordan’s Wildlife Garden by burying log stumps as stepping stones, and let the grass regrow between them.
The planting may seem a bit chaotic, but if you look closely you’ll see there is an order. Beds are sorted by colour and height, and fuzzy grasses are used throughout to bring it together.
To get the look at home, buy different colours of wildflower seed mix for each bed. Then mix in taller flowering plants and put low-growing varieties at the front.
4 The woodland garden
You don’t need to live in a forest to have a woodland garden – I designed one for the Quiet Mark Treehouse and Garden by John Lewis at this year’s show. Trees are a must, but leave plenty of space between them to allow dappled sunlight through.
The woodland look should be free and earthy. The trick is to keep everything relaxed and let plants grow onto each other.
Fill beds with rich foliage like ferns and cornus, and traditional flowers like catmint, hollyhocks and rhodanthemums. Cover paths with a natural gravel and grow wildflowers and grasses over any banks and slopes.
5 The texture garden
Purple was the major trend at the Chelsea Flower Show, and it is here to stay! This lovely One Show garden is a textured take on the trend, with swishy grasses and dark sunken pools. They added dye to the water to make it more reflective, but you can use black liners for a similar effect.
A texture garden is great for the senses – touch, sound and smell are all important. The idea is to contrast the plant texture with the fine gravel and sleek pools.
Try planting loads of grasses and mix in dark purple foliage and flowers. The stalwart is lavender, and I love the agapanthus around the edge for height interest!
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.