A garden designer's tips for redesigning a small outdoor space

A garden designer's tips for redesigning a small outdoor space

Over the course of the last year we have all become very well acquainted with our homes and if we are lucky, with our gardens. The green embrace of nature has become a source of comfort for many, and we've responded by getting our hands dirty, growing vegetables, making compost, and laying patios (as well as buying up all the garden furniture to go on them). The sheer opportunism and determination of plants are an important reminder that no matter what is playing out in the geo-political sphere, nature persists. Nonetheless there are plenty of people who will have been left stumped by the prospect of taming their gardens: this is where the garden designer Lottie Delamain comes in.

Lottie has launched the clever and affordable ‘Self Sown Ideas’ - a remote garden consultancy service. ‘My aim is to demystify the world of garden design and provide an accessible way to get started in redesigning your garden for a fixed cost,’ she explains. ‘I want to give assurance and inspiration to both total novices, to those who have some experience and to those stuck in a rut, to ultimately help people to find joy in plants and in their garden – all from the safety of our homes. The service is designed to be semi-DIY – I provide the inspiration and resources to enable clients to make the changes themselves.’

Here she offers some of her designs as examples of how a small garden can be transformed with a little DIY and elbow grease.

This garden was designed for a family who like to use their garden for relaxing, drinking their coffee in the mornings and dinner in the evenings, and they wanted it to look lovely from the house. People are often scared of dividing up this kind of space, worrying that they will make it look smaller. On the contrary, creating blocks or screens of horizontal planting gives a sense of journey and a bit of intrigue and makes the viewer wonder what’s at the other end. These horizontal blocks of hedging have the effect of creating separate ‘rooms’ to cater to where the sun is at any given point of the day and zones for different activities.

If you have kids’ toys or barbecues that need to be kept in the garden but aren’t particularly lovely to look at, this is a great ideas to hide them. These fences are staggered at different points a metre or two from the end of the garden, and they screen the ugly stuff that this family had at the bottom of the garden. What’s great about these fences is that you can grow plants up them if you like, and you can buy fencing at any price point, whether you want lovely oak or cedar, or cheaper woods that you can paint in a tasteful colour. The fences are at different depths to give a sense of interest and draw the eye down the garden.

Like lots of people at the moment, the owner of this garden wanted a garden studio now that she is working from home. However to reduce the visual impact for her neighbours, we needed to the studio feel bedded in to the garden. Our solution was to lay meadow turf on the roof, which you can buy pre-sown with the perfect variety of meadow species. It’s great for encouraging birds, bees and wildlife. and just needs cutting back once a year. It can be used on roofs, instead of a lawn or even a slither in a large planter, for a slice of the countryside in the city.

Sessions can be booked via Instagram, or by emailing lottie@lottiedelamain.com/

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