Do you enviously look across to your neighbour’s garden and wonder why it always seems to have a selection of flowers and foliage in bloom, no matter what the season? Well now you too can enjoy the benefits of garden that offers year round floral displays -all it takes is a bit of careful planning.
Just because you’re a fair-weather gardener doesn’t mean you can’t create a garden that can be admired all year round. If you’re not sure where to begin don’t fret as help is at hand from wood-care specialist Sadolin, sponsor of the Sadolin Four Seasons Garden, which scooped a gold medal at this year’s prestigious Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.
Designed by Helen Williams and brought to life by landscaper Marc Patrick of Garden Care Supplies, the garden was conceived to show how, with a little careful planning and some clever landscaping, outdoor space can be maximised for use all year round.
Williams, who made her debut at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show last year, says: “This relatively low-maintenance design is a challenge to anyone who would love to get more out of their garden but thinks that keeping it attractive past the summer is too much effort.”
Not sure how to start planning your own Four Seasons Garden? Then try these six steps on your outdoor space and you could soon be getting much more out of your garden without the need for year-round maintenance.
Add colour with foliage
Don’t rely solely on flower colour for interest. Blowsy blooms are great in summer but what happens when they’ve died back? Instead, supplement your flowering plants with those with rich foliage, and look to add structure with plants such as clipped hornbeams, architectural evergreens and grasses.
Always think about the coming seasons. It might be summer, but plan ahead by planting spring bulbs beneath trees and deciduous shrubs to add an early splash of colour at the start of the year. Be prepared
Consider the structure of your garden and build in elements such as a sail shade and a sheltered deck, which allow the space to be used whether it’s baking hot or a little breezy. Also have blankets on hand for when it starts to get chillier in the evenings – it’s a much prettier look and certainly better for the environment than a patio heater. Similarly lighting – perhaps solar powered or simple nightlights – means the garden can still be used even when the nights start to draw in.
Have a star performer for every season. For instance, wow guests in summer with shrubs such as hydrangeas and create interest in winter with something like a dogwood, which boasts beautiful coloured stems, or winter-flowering heathers or hellebores.
Garden structures and elements can be as important as the plants themselves, providing a smart backdrop and a great foil to the flowers and foliage. Choose wood for a natural and stylish look, and then add all-year-round colour and protection by staining fences, furniture, sheds, planters and decks in either classic wood shades or pretty pastels.
Awaken the senses
Don’t forget that a garden works on more levels than just the visual, so while summer’s all about the looks and wonderful fragrances, think about how the other senses can be awakened during the rest of the year. Grasses are great for a touch of autumnal audio delight, while different textures underfoot can add sensory pleasure during winter visits to the garden. For further information, and to see more pictures of the garden www.sadolin.co.uk/fourseasonsgarden.