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GARDENING

Colour is a powerful tool but planning it is vital. It’s easy to spend a fortune on what is looking good right now, only to find your garden is burnt out by the end of June and there’s nothing to keep the show going

A world without borders? The majority of gardens are a product of evolution rather than part of some grand plan says Elly West, so the opportunity to start from scratch is one to savour

M

y favourite garden design jobs are those where I’m given a blank canvas, whether this be for an entire garden transformation or just the redesign of a border. Now is the perfect time to be planning and planting a new border, and a bare area of soil that’s crying out for plants is a sight I absolutely love, as it holds so much promise and potential. The majority of gardens are a product of evolution rather than part of some grand plan, with new plants squeezed in here and there as others die. So the opportunity to start from scratch is one to savour. Hard landscaping and getting the layout right are necessary and important, but for me it’s the plants that bring the most excitement and interest. So, if you’ve got a border that’s not really working and you don’t particularly love any of the plants in it, consider clearing it out and starting again, and creating something fresh. Most of my clients are looking for year-round interest, so a successful border plan will include a combination of shrubs, perennials and bulbs, and sometimes annuals and grasses as well. This flexible approach works well and stops a border looking static. All year there are changes to look forward to and new things popping up and putting on a show. Planning is vital in any design. As well as thinking about colour, shape and size, there is the added dimension of time to consider. This is why I would always recommend calling a professional, or making your 76 THE BRISTOL MAGAZINE

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APRIL 2020

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No 190

own plan to avoid expensive mistakes. It’s very easy to go to the garden centre and spend a fortune on what is looking good right now, only to find your garden is burnt out by the end of June and there’s nothing to keep the show going. Perhaps the most obvious starting point when planning your border is colour, which can change the whole mood and style of a space. Think cool, calm greens and whites, for example, compared with vibrant sundrenched purples and oranges. Colour is an extremely powerful tool in terms of creating an atmosphere. While there are actually very few colour combinations that will clash too hideously in nature, and a thrown-together border with a mishmash of colours can look amazing, sticking to a strict colour theme does make it easy to create a harmonious and successful design. If you’re going it alone, a good start is to create a moodboard of plants, borders and colours you like, by combining pictures either on a computer or cut from magazines. Then take your moodboard with you when you are plant shopping so you don’t get distracted. Harmonious colours, which are similar to each other and lie adjacent on a colour wheel, will always work well together. Blues, purples, pinks and whites will create a beautifully calming colour scheme with a soft ‘modern-cottage’ feel, while vibrant oranges, reds and magentas together are invigorating and intense. Adding contrast can create some of the most striking combinations of

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The Bristol Magazine April 2020  

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