Thursday, 12 August 2010

Fashions in the garden

‘We are the Goon squad and we’re coming to Town –’. Bowie.
I have always been confused and slightly alarmed with Fashion in the garden. 
On the one hand I seem to know what will and won’t work, and I like to think I have a very practical sense for the needs and desires of my customers -  which isn’t particularly fashionable. 
On the other, I love to think a little out of the box, and use a modern sculpture or have an unusual pergola or arrange plants to perform in an unusual way, do something a little differently – which is.
I am at hair pulling stage when I see enormous budgets thrown into a garden project that shows no sign that there has been anything done, same old, same old (wow me please), and equally, a grotesque ego trip personalisation of a small garden totally out of keeping with the house, family, area and style of the property.
A garden therefore is always likely to end up designed conservatively with little risk, or far too liberally, with too much.  Some sort of coalition is required (got that in!)
My advice is to insist on some sort of wow factor somewhere in the garden without the wow taking over too much.
The fashions come and go – natural, formal - Pampas grass back in, conifers in, veg gardens in, topiary in: lavender hedges out, cut flower gardens out, immaculate lawns out, water features out...
But ultimately the desire to have a great garden does and should incorporate a bit of everything, but only if they are required.
Unlike architects who have a style seemingly all to themselves and one buys into that style – which may be fashionable of course, beware of the garden designer who has a style.  Your garden and existing property should dictate the direction the garden is to be designed in, obviously there are exceptions to this, but the Sissinghurst  garden at Great Dixter and vice versa just doesn’t feel right to me.
‘-Beep beep - listen to me, don’t listen to me...’

Different but wow!

Good old planting


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