Much air is consumed on the subject of garden design and the implication is clear - all you need for a great garden is a great design. True, you do indeed need a great design in the form of bold ideas, sound principles and a high degree of coherence but once these factors are in place the difference between a wonderful garden and a calamity is accomplished by execution and maintenance not just design.
We can design a garden for you that observes all these vital principles. We can design it with you, around you and for you but the true creativity begins about three years after the planting is complete. It's the way you accommodate all these ever expanding and constantly changing pieces of vegetation that's the clever bit. We call it Creative Maintenance. What to remove? What to shape? How to shape it? How to meld your beloved collection of plants into a gigantic piece of delicious sculpture.
Bold and beautiful. Prunus lusitanica in Sussex.
A simple avenue of Box balls. Less is more.
Clipped Phillyrea latifolia underplanted with Pieris.
Some people seem to be intimidated by this prospect. We say it's tremendously good fun and it's called gardening. The creation of wonderful places using plants is threaded through everything we do - the choice of plants we grow, the way we present them on the nursery, the advice we dispense and the ideas we propose. Architectural Plants is about shape - an obsession with the sculptural qualities of plants where strong, eye catching outlines, delicious textures and combined shades of green rule.
Hand in hand with this sculptural/textural/verdant thing must come the question - "Yes, but how do I bring it about?" Put at its very simplest, take Kenneth Williams' advice - "Be bold!"
There are a number of fundamentals that we use as guides when helping people design their gardens (e.g. big plants at the back, small plants at the front) but none come as high up the list as Be Bold and Avoid Being Timid. Avoid it like the plague.
Nobody ever created an interesting garden by being timid. In fact, nobody ever created anything of interest by being timid. Being bold - massive swathes of the same plant, avenues, rows, stilted hedges, planting trees that get 'too big' and trees in the 'wrong' place - all require, I admit, a degree of recklessness, courage and confidence. If you feel you may be positively predisposed to such a concept, we can help. Our job is to encourage people to do interesting things with their garden - if you feel you may be teetering on the edge of doing something interesting, please allow us to at least talk to you about giving you a shove over the edge.
If you like the idea of Architectural Plants helping you with your garden, phone us to make an appointment to visit the nursery and meet one of our team. Please note however that Saturday appointments are limited, so you need to book well in advance!
If possible, bring any plans you have available and photos of your garden that include the following views:
We talk about your horticultural likes and dislikes and begin to throw ideas around with the aid of hundreds of photos of our plants and gardens that we've designed, built and maintained.
Before going any further here's a good opportunity to emphasise the nature of the kind of gardens we do: it could be formal or it could be exotic but within that spectrum, the emphasis will always be on the sculptural - strong, eye catching shapes, beautiful textures and bold use of plants. It's all to do with shape, shade, texture and definition - not just colour. Trying to have an engaging conversation with Angus White about colourful herbaceous borders could be an unrewarding experience but get him on avenues, pleached hedges, groves, outrageous topiary and serious jungles and things could get interesting.
Our design philosophy is less to do with drawings and all to do with conversation and written suggestions. We will often use space on the nursery to mock up schemes for clients to have a look at or may decide to take a lorry load of plants along to their garden to show them what we're thinking. Our designers are extremely successful with this method of working and our clients love it because they are involved in the process every step of the way. Before we start anything we will give you a general idea of costs, from site visits to plants.
If that sounds like your cup of tea, pay us a visit but please remember, phone us first to make an appointment. Please note however that Saturday appointments are limited, so you need to book well in advance.