We created a very special car-themed garden for Love Your Garden episode four. Garden owner Alan was a big car and motorbike enthusiast and we thought it would suit his personality.
Alongside the motor features we created a green grassy and woodland garden. I really love this garden style – it makes great use of trees and is quite easy to maintain. Plus naturalistic planting looks wild rather than unkempt if it gets a bit overgrown.
The colour scheme was also fairly simple. Alongside the green grasses, we used mostly pink, white and blue flowers. Keeping the colour scheme straightforward means you can create cohesion and your plants won’t clash. Plus, you can concentrate on varying form and texture for a better garden design.
Here’s how to recreate the relaxed planting scheme, including our full plant list.
Plants for height
No matter how small your garden is, you need to use plants for height. They add an important vertical dimension to the planting and help the garden feel immersive. This is especially important if you are surrounded by neighbours and want a bit of privacy.
Height usually comes from trees. We planted lilac trees, Himalayan birch trees, a hornbeam and a Cydona oblonga or quince tree. We also used varieties with heart-shaped leaves including a Cercis or forest pansy and a Cercidiphyllum or Katsura tree.
Then we added some shrubs for height, shape and bushy structure. We used viburnum opulus or the snowball bush and plenty of Kolkwitzia, a pink-flowering shrub known as the Beauty Bush.
Finally, we used climbers for plant height up the fences – two clematis and two scented jasmine (trachelospermum jasminoides).
Around the trees, we created a woodland area with plants that tolerate partially shady conditions. These plants were chosen for their hardiness and pops of bright colour.
We also mixed the flower forms to play with shape. Try combining the high flower spires of lupins, delphiniums and pink and white foxgloves and with the striking form of alliums and irises. These contrasted the small, delicate flowers of weigela, pink and white dicentra and pink, white and blue aquilegia.
The centre of this garden was taken up with the pristine new lawn, so we decided to carry the grassy theme into the beds with naturalistic meadow planting. We added in ornamental grasses like Stipa tenuissima, Pennisetum ‘Red Buttons’ and Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ and Calamagrostis ‘Overdam’.
Then we put in meadow flower plants including white cistus, white and pink poppies and white and pink cosmos. Meadow planting has a lovely texture and moves gently in the wind.
Pots and containers
Finally, we used pots filled with plants to bring colour to the seating areas. The Love Your Garden team planted up lots of pots with phormiums, variegated ivy, fuchsia, bacopa, pink petunias and pink osteospermums, as well as grasses and flowers found in other parts of the garden.
Overall, the simple colour scheme and naturalistic planting create a relaxed backdrop to allow the striking personal touches to steal the show.
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.