A cottage garden looks like an informal jumble of colour and tone. In fact it is anything but! The romantic planting of this style harks back to that wonderful designer Gertrude Jekyll, who was to all intents and purposes as blind as a bat! Her herbaceous borders were packed with a selection of bulbs and perennials to ensure blooms from Spring to Autumn.
The key was successional planting around key colour blocks which she placed carefully using the colour wheel. Traditionally roses and climbers are combined with perennials. As a style it robs a core idea from interior design by planting in uneven groups of threes, fives and sevens.
Formal gardens thrive on order and well-defined spaces and use symmetry to tie the design together. This classic style never goes out of fashion and is best seen in the gardens of Luciano Giubbilei. His designs have won gold at Chelsea on several occasions. These gardens feature careful attention to proportion and repeat the pattern of planting. They use clipped box hedging to provide structure.
A limited colour palette is best for formal gardens often featuring white and silver contrasted with blue. Formal gardens are easy to maintain and interest can be sustained through use of lollipop laurels and white roses, hydrangea, allium and either blue or white agapanthus.
When we think of contemporary gardens we think modern, minimalistic, clean lines, lack of clutter. We often think of the garden complementing the indoor aesthetic, with a consistent design maintained throughout. The look is sleek, streamlined and sophisticated. You will need a simplified plant palate with shades of green.
The odd planter with either a complementary or contrasting colour arrangement should add a distinctive touch. There is an emphasis on architectural plants and repeat planting, maybe in straight lines, with box balls but with some prominent shrubs and flowers in white, silver or blue tones for interest.
Space is often at a premium in modern homes. The right mix of pots, planters and furniture is key to the success of this garden. Container gardening is easy and will provide you with year round colour.
Don’t forget your walls if space is a limiting factor. In many small gardens the area of the walls will exceed the area of the ground itself.