We created a stunning garden for the new series of Love Your Garden. My favourite thing about it was that it had a lot of character. Alan Rendall was a huge motorbike and classic car enthusiast, so the garden was designed to complement that with sweeping paths and car memorabilia.
It's important when designing a garden to get the flooring to match the borders and other features. Because all these elements play an integral part in the way the garden looks and the experience and feeling of walking through it.
I particularly like this garden because it starts at the top of the house and is a long garden. The first thing we did was add shapes and curves into the garden to break up the space and make it feel wider. We used flexible aluminium edging – a marvellous piece of kit. It was easy to install and created those lovely fluid curves. You can use it for anything from edging, paths and even sculpted border shapes.
The paving in the dining area was slap-bang at the entrance from the lounge, through the sliding doors. This is always a bonus in a garden because it’s easy to access from the house. Plus it’s in the perfect spot for sunlight at the right time of day.
For the paving, we used Bradstone's Grand Natural Sandstone in Caramel. We created quite a large patio for the family. Many people think the patio should be just big enough to accommodate the table and chairs. But actually that doesn't work. The best thing to do is to have the dimensions of your dining table in mind, and then double everything.
You've got to get all the seats around the outside of your table and you need space for people to push their chairs out and relax. Plus having extra space around the edge will stop the patio feeling cluttered. And you need room for any pots and containers, the BBQ, a fire pit and anything else you want.
If you’re not very good at imagining sizes, take the measurements of your patio furniture and draw out your garden plant to scale to get an idea of size and space.
It’s certainly better to start designing the patio around the furniture like this than to simply build the patio and then try and cram everything in!
I also loved the use of pots and containers on the patio. Hard landscaping is so easily softened by gorgeous plants in pots. Try to find containers that complement your paving style. They don’t have to be the same colour but they should suit the theme.
It’s also best to find the biggest containers you can. These hold more soil and more moisture, meaning you need to water them less often. Plus you can create spectacular planting!
On this episode, we also had lots of fun with Katie making her exhaust pipe water feature. And I think putting water features on patios is clever because it creates movement and brings the tranquil sound of splashing water to your seating area.
Aside from the patio, the other fantastic feature was the murals. We created two murals at the end of the garden. One had a classic car in it and the other depicted a motorbike. I think they really work.
And if you've only got a small patio and it’s surrounded by fence panels or the garage wall, you can have these prints made from your own photos. They blow it up onto a canvas and you can hang it on the wall. It’s garden art!
I really like that idea because it gives the garden a personal touch. After all, it's your space.
All in all, this was a marvellous garden with plenty of personality for a very deserving family.