David Domoney gardens At Hampton Court Flower Show 2016

David Domoney at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

By David Domoney, July 12

David Domoney Gardens at Hampton Court Flower Show

RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is the world's biggest annual flower show. It celebrates all of the best in horticulture from show gardens to trade stands and spectacular floral exhibits.

This year I have created four small front garden displays outside the Celebrity Theatre, supported by Everest Home Improvements.

Pets As Therapy Garden

The first garden is linked to the charity Pets As Therapy. It’s a marvellous charity that uses the joy and benefits of pets to enhance people’s health and wellbeing. Volunteers take the pets to those that are isolated or in care homes so that they can interact with the animals and enjoy them.

Pets As Therapy garden at Hampton CourtI wanted the design of this garden to reflect pets and how they are the heart of so many of our homes. The garden centres around a paw print created out of lawn and surrounded by Bradstone's Mellow Cotswold gravel, which really highlights the design, making quite the bold statement.

Chrysanthemums and pittosporums are delicately planted around the border, interspersed with the spectacular sword-like foliage of phormiums. And an under-planting of heucheras really brings this lush and full garden to life.

The paw print sits in a circular display at the heart of the garden, with the Bradstone Natural Sandstone paving in the Fossil Buff colour creating the path. The path leads along the right hand side of the garden until it hits the house, and then turns at a right angle along the front of the house until it reaches the front door. What this does is it makes you spend a few moments walking through the garden before you get into the house.

Music in Hospitals Garden

The next garden in the collection is supporting Music in Hospitals, a charity that brings live music into hospitals to entertain and bring joy to the patients. It’s an incredible organisation, and to reflect their work we wanted to capture something of how music uplifts the heart.

Music in Hospitals garden at Hampton CourtThere is a great fluidity in this design. A radiant half-circle that spans out from the path - reflecting a record, cd or even a sound wave – which then runs into another half-circle from the other direction. Even the bay trees and the bushes in the border are cut to spherical shapes, all of which adds to that sense of movement and fluidity. To accentuate the planting we have used rings of Cornish Granite aggregate inside the circle; the stunning light grey with blue flecks really contrasts and enhances the circular pattern.

The path to the front door is laid with Riverwashed Limestone. I went for a steel grey colour that really pops. The path is constructed from different sized slabs set in a straight line to create a very contemporary look.

Thrive Garden

The next garden was designed for Thrive, a charity that uses gardening to bring about positive changes in those living with a disability. 

Thrive garden at Hampton CourtI wanted to create a path that took the longest route through the garden, taking full advantage of the space, because a curving path will always make a garden feel larger than it is. I was able to bring this path out in its beautiful snaking effect using Antique Brown Sleepers from the Stonewood Collection. They look exactly like real sleepers but are, in fact, made from concrete. I used the gorgeous Golden Gravel between the sleepers and not only did it contrast them beautifully but it also allowed me to create a perfect curved line to the door. The path really becomes the centrepiece of the garden, the planting is very subtle with lavender around the borders set against the soft golds of achillea and roses. Accented with two lovely birch trees, it’s a serene and welcoming environment.

Recycling Lives Garden

The last garden is for a charity called Recycling Lives which helps people who have been through serious hardship and are trying to reintegrate back into society.

Recycling Lives garden at Hampton CourtFor this garden we built a wide path that cuts through the garden and splits into a circle at the centre. A circular feature in a square garden is another trick to make a space feel larger. The split path reflects the different paths we can chose to take in life and was created using Carpet Stones. They are easy to lay and you can use them to create a wide variety of shapes and structures. They look like cobblestones when they are set and I used a very fine crushed aggregate between them to bring out the shape and definition of the stones.

Around the path is quite plush planting with foxgloves, delphiniums, salvias and more. There is a hedge around the outside and even some rosemary tucked in there too. In the centre of the path there is an armillary sundial on a plinth, and gorgeous hanging baskets hanging at the door. The result is a very rich and vibrant garden that really envelops you as you walk in.

All of these gardens have a uniqueness to them that will hopefully inspire people to do a little bit extra with their own front gardens, making a feature out of them that will bring a smile your face as you enter and leave your home every day.


David is a celebrity gardener and broadcaster. A regular face on ITV's Love Your Garden and the resident gardener for ITV's This Morning.

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