• Sarah Kay

A Naturalistic Planting Design for all seasons

I've just completed a Naturalistic Planting Design for a reasonable sized garden in E11.

Planting plan - bulbs/evergreens

The garden, which was landscaped and planted in 2015, consists of raised and lower beds on three sides of the garden, and was originally conceived as a 'New Perennial' style garden with swathes of grasses and herbaceous perennials, most of which were late season flowering and following a Persian carpet colour scheme. Many of these plants have failed and been replaced by my clients with Miscanthus, Poa, Persicaria and Gaura which have become overgrown over the last few years and dominate the garden.


Existing planting

There is very little privacy from the neighbours on the left hand side and the soil levels in the raised beds have fallen with the soil throughout having a fairly low nutrient level.


My planting design would seek to address the main issues of privacy and all year interest as well as improving the soil and irrigation of the garden.


To address the privacy I recommend introducing a 300mm high trellis to the left hand side and back boundaries. This will provide a structure for the existing Wisteria and introduced evergreen climbers to cling to providing all year round privacy.


Four multi stem Betula utilis jacquemontii will also provide privacy and Winter interest with their striking white bark, with three positioned down the left hand side and one in the right back corner of the raised beds.




I've introduced evergreen dome/mound form shrubs to provide additional Winter structure to the garden and contrasting forms to the grasses and herbaceous perennials. These include Pittosporum 'Irene Pattison' and Hebe albicans along with Skimmia japonica for the shadier areas.


Spring bulbs including Tulipa 'Alibil', Allium 'Purple Sensation', Fritillaria meleagris and Galanthus nivalis will provide early season colour and interest along with some early flowering evergreen herbaceous including Ajuga reptans and Luzula nivea.


Grasses will feature heavily in this design, bringing height and movement to the planting. Miscanthus sinensis, Stipa tenuissima and Calamagrostis brachytricha will not be cut back until the Spring providing essential structure and food for wildlife throughout the Winter and will be supported by lower growing evergreen grasses including Carex howardii 'Phoenix Green' and Luzula nivea.


Herbaceous perennials are the last part of this planting tapestry, with Echinops, Salvia, Echinachea, Astrantia weaving through the grasses with Erigeron karvinskianus, Geraniums Rozanne and Anne Folkard and Persicaria affinis spilling over the sides and softening the raised bed. The colour scheme is predominantly pinks, purples and whites creating a calming and restful feeling.

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