Design solutions

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Choose the right plants and materials to make a multi-generational garden, says Kerianne Fitzpatrick

Have you ever wondered how you can enjoy a lovely garden that will grow with the children, without compromising on colour and year-round planting interest?

We all now realise just how important outdoor spaces are to our mental health and wellbeing, with sales in garden furniture, plants and sundries sky rocketing since the summer of 2020. However, many parents or grandparents of younger children are often stumped when it comes to creating a garden where children can play, yet have a space that can be enjoyed by all through the years. The answer is future proofing!

The simplicity of this design is key in making the garden feel contemporary, but the formal low clipped hedge brings a timeless appeal. By placing the hedge at the side of the lawn it acts as a barrier for rogue footballs and provides a resting place for the eye among a wispy-yet-punchy planting scheme.

When choosing hard landscaping materials, use the best quality materials you can afford. Give consideration to their longevity and sustainability, as well as the maintenance required to keep them looking good over the years because, let’s face it, we want to spend time enjoying our gardens rather than thinking of them as a chore.

It might be worth getting the experts in for the design and construction of your garden. By doing so, you ensure that your hard-earned money on materials and plants has been well spent, and the design details or bespoke elements are well thought out and safely crafted to enjoy as intended.

The basic infrastructure of your design should be permanent. However, features within the garden can be updated over time to adapt to your needs. Composite decking has been used here for its longevity and warm appearance. A good alternative in stone would be porcelain for a contemporary indoors-outdoors look, or York stone for a more traditional feel.

Be creative. A bespoke recessed sandpit within the deck has been included for younger children to enjoy. However, later on this space can easily be transformed to incorporate a small fire bowl for the whole family to toast marshmallows and share stories or provide an elegant space for grown-ups to enjoy a glass of grape juice of an evening.

A simple open pergola can easily have a sports net added to protect your plants from any wayward balls. By evening the net can be replaced with a projector screen, so that the whole family can enjoy
a mid-summer nighttime movie.

Choose plants carefully to reflect the time and skills available to care for them. Always give consideration to the mature size of any trees and shrubs that you plant. Grasses and robust shrubs planted at the front of a border help protect more delicate plants in the middle or back of your planting beds. By choosing a limited but contrasting colour palette, with a generous proportion of evergreens, and by selecting perennials to extend colour all through the seasons, you can ensure that your garden planting looks well thought-out and provides year-round interest. Generally, a good rule of thumb is to ensure approximately one third of your plants are evergreen, or offer winter interest.

The predominant rich vibrant blue colour scheme is accentuated by pops of crisp orange, which will extend well into the autumn season. The ornamental grasses provide movement, while evergreen shrubs such as Choisya dewitteana ‘White Dazzler’ and Trachelospermum jasminoides bring small but highly fragrant flowers.

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