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  • Writer's pictureSarah Kay

How can a garden designer help solve common planting problems?

Planting can really make or break a garden. A common planting problem I hear from potential clients is that their garden is dark, gloomy, uninspiring and lacking in colour and texture. This is usually down to poor planting choices or lack of planting entirely.

Dark and gloomy gardens are often caused by trees and shrubs which are unsuitable for the size of garden they have been planted in or are dense evergreens with very little seasonal interest.

The garden pictured below is a great example of how bringing in a designer to help advise on planting can completely change the look and feel of a garden.

Bamboo and Bay tree brick wall and garden furniture
Before - Dense Bay tree and overgrown Bamboo make the garden feel dark and small

A huge Bay tree and overgrown Phyllostachys bamboo was taking alot of the light from this compact courtyard garden and were dominating the view through the kichen bi fold doors.

I recommended that these were removed, replacing the bamboo in the back left corner with a light and graceful Betula jacquemontii, with all year round visual interest provided by leaves turning buttery yellow in the Autumn and striking white bark.

Silver Birch tree, mirror garden furniture and colourful planting
After - the same corner transformed with a Silver Birch and colourful planting in varying forms and texture

The tall brick wall has been enlivened with a Parthenocissus tricuspidata (Boston Ivy) which has fantastic Autumn colour and fragrant climbers soften the boundary fencing.

Limestone patio with colourful planting and corten screen
Aerial shot shows the flow and coherence of the planting design

My planting design for this E8 garden follows a very strong colour theme of purples and copper bronzes which echo the Corten steel details in the hard landscaping. Evergreen grasses and shrubs form the backdrop of the planting ensuring that even in Winter there is visual interest in the garden.

If the planting in your garden needs a rethink, contact me to arrange a consultation. Good planting can completely transform a garden, as shown in this example.


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