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  • Writer's pictureSarah Kay

How can a garden designer help me with my problem garden?

As we head towards the end of the year, now is the perfect time to start talking to a garden designer if you are not happy with your existing outside space but don't know where to start to create the garden you want for 2024.

Courtyard garden with black fencing, brick raised bed and seat and tree fern
E5 Courtyard. Photography by Ellie Walpole

At an Initial consultation meeting, a garden designer will talk with you in detail about how you would like to use your garden and your likes and dislike aesthetically. I will also assess your existing space taking into account the key issues and problems, aspect, soil and the surrounding architecture and landscape.

In this latest series of blogs, I wanted to highlight some of the common issues clients have with their existing gardens and show how my designs have helped to solve these problems.

"Our garden is a really awkward shape"

This is one of the most common complaints that I hear. The survey below shows the irregular shape of this compact East London courtyard. With a number of doors and windows leading out to this space, the garden didn't feel like it had any connection to the house and felt a bit sad and awkward.

back garden survey plan
Site Survey highlighting awkward shape

Wisteria, artificial grass and bamboo

By aligning the patio to the geometry of the house, this draws the eye away from the boundaries and provides a clear link between the house and garden.

Irregular shaped courtyard garden with sandstone patio, dining table and raised seating area
Patio aligned with house. Photography by Ellie Walpole

The use of focal points was also key to creating a feeling of space in this garden. A large curved top metal mirror creates the illusion of space and the use of the vertical spaces is maximised with bespoke wall planters.

Courtyard Garden with mirror, Wisteria, raised bed bench and wall planters
Mirror give illusion of space Photos by Ellie Walpole

Tree in wooden planter with wall planters and green garden chairs
Wall planters and matching Acer planter. Photo by Ellie Walpole

"Our garden is on a slope."

This is another common complaint I hear from clients who are really struggling to see how they can make practical use of a sloping garden.

Back garden with shed, raised beds and patio

Whilst this Mile End garden has been previously terraced to help with the slope, it hasn't been executed well so the retaining wall and raised beds are damaged and the terracing has not created usable spaces as the ground is still sloping.

Terraced back garden with sandstone patio, steps, curved beds and gravel path
E3 Terraced Family Garden

My terracing solution creates a large dining patio in line with the bi fold door threshold, with steps up to flower beds and lawn area, perfect for this family's young son and dog, and discreet storage hidden by an existing tree and climbers. This space now feels light and relaxed, with clearly defined areas, perfect for a growing family.

If you've got a garden that's an awkward shape or gradient, please contact me today for an initial consultation. I relish solving a design challenge.


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