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7 tips for designing your dream garden

Whether you've got a huge garden or a small balcony, these tips from Garden Rescue's Harry and David Rich will help you create an outdoor space that's beautiful and practical

Designing the garden you’ve always wanted - whether it's a tiny roof terrace or acres of land - it can seem a little daunting. Suddenly, you're faced with the blank sheet of paper and an awful lot of grass. But Harry and David Rich, the youngest ever winners of a gold medal at the Chelsea Flower Show, are here to help!

In Love Your Plot, Harry and David set out to help you transform your outdoor space into an inspirational green haven by making nature work for you. Fusing different outdoor elements, such as coastal and woodland landscapes, they will show you how to create a modern, practical and visually stunning outdoor space, wherever you are.

The keys to their inspirational vision are these seven principles of design – Balance, Proximity, alignment, repetition, contrast and space. Read on to learn how to create your own Eden and truly love your plot!

 

1.    Aim for BALANCE

Within a garden, balance is achieved when all the individual elements are in a state of equilibrium. You can use this sense of balance to create a neat sense of symmetry, or it can be deliberately inverted to create a more relaxed, asymmetrical design. For example, placing emphasis on one side of the garden will change the balance of the various elements and draw your eye to that area, as opposed to the garden as a whole, allowing you to highlight your signature element, perhaps a sculpture or seating area.

 

2.    Think about PROXIMITY    

Bear in mind how you want to position your elements in relation to each other. Grouping elements closely together in relative proximity creates a great sense of unity, giving the garden a more noticeable character. Whereas isolating these elements creates a more diluted connection, and a greater sense of space.

3. Bear ALIGNMENT in mind

How elements are aligned in an outdoor space, whether they are a group of potted plants on an urban balcony or lines of trees in an orchard, is key in creating a visual connection in your outdoor space. A seemingly random disalignment of trees creates a subtle connection and natural character, whereas aligning the trees creates a more formal, uncluttered space and gives a structured feel to the garden.


4. Repetition, repetition, REPETITION

Bringing repetition into a garden can strengthen the design by emphasising a sense of rhythm, like a thread running through the garden. By repeating form, colour or texture you can create a sense of overall balance and harmony. Repetition also helps the eye to travel through the space as repeated forms or plants lead your attention. This visual journey creates interest in your garden. For example, recurring form, colour and texture provide a modest, understated theme whereas repeating the same shape using different objects, such as water, planting and topiary provides subtle continuity.

 

5. Consider CONTRAST

Contrast plays a pivotal part in the development of your garden design as it allows you to emphasise certain areas.

If a garden is dominated by similar, blending colours for both materials and planting – for example brick paving and orange and yellow planting – a thematic scheme is produced. By choosing materials and plants with opposing characteristics to this theme, you can create a contrasting wider spectrum of colours and highlight certain elements, making them stand out more within the garden.


6. Always keep the SPACE in mind

Space has the ability to change the atmosphere of a garden dramatically and so is fundamentally important when designing a beautiful and yet useable garden. 

An open space will convey a simple, airiness, whereas adopting a more enclosed design and manipulating the available space will suggest more mystery, seclusion and surprise. The space will also dictate whether you move more freely or in a more measured way through the garden, so it is vital to consider how your garden will be used. 

More about the authors

Love Your Plot

Harry Rich (and others)

Fusing conceptual architectural design with the beauty of the natural landscape, twice Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal winners and stars of BBC's Garden Rescue Harry and David Rich are here to show you how you can transform your outdoor space into a beautiful Eden, no matter what plot you have.

As the youngest ever gold-medal winners for a main show garden at the Chelsea Flower Show and co-stars of BBC's Garden Rescue , Harry and David Rich blend their unique sense of conceptual design with the beauty of the natural landscape to create stunning garden designs that awe and inspire.

In Love Your Plot Harry and David are setting out to help you transform your outdoor space into an inspiration green haven by making nature work for you. Fusing different outdoor elements, such as coastal and woodland landscapes, alongside key design principles, they will show you how to create a modern, practical and visually stunning outdoor space.

Complete with practical tips, unique sketches and designs, planting suggestions and stunning full-colour visuals, Harry and David’s book will have you reaching for the spade and wellies in no time at all to create your own Eden, no matter what plot you’ve got.

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