garden design

Beach & Coastal Gardens

Coastal areas are unique environments and vary quite considerably from inland conditions (even being a few hundred metres inland can make a big difference). Wind, high salt loading and milder temperatures mean that many traditional plants we love will struggle to grow. Too often, I see coastal gardens laid out in a traditional manner, trying

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Gravel Gardening

Gravel gardens have been around a long time yet with a few well-known exceptions (Denmans, Beth Chatto and more recently, Olivier Filippi), never really make it into the mainstream of garden design. I suspect that for some designers, there is insufficient structure to satisfy, yet that is actually one of the main benefits. This makes

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Why artificial grass is bad for us

If you work in the realm of landscapes, you cannot ignore the huge rise in the use of artificial plants, “green” walls and especially, grass. It’s a booming business and many companies are doing very well from it. But we should also be hearing warning bells ringing about how damaging these things are, both to

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Concrete and alternatives

Concrete is a wonderfully versatile material, which has been in use since Roman times and with it we can build amazing structures that would otherwise be impossible. Unfortunately it also carries a huge environmental cost, caused mostly in the cement binding used. Whilst gravel extraction is also an issue, for that there are some alternatives

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Rain gardens

Rain gardens are a relatively new approach on how to deal with water in the environment. In the last 10-15 years, there has been a big rise in the use of SUDS (sustainable urban drainage systems), the practice of delaying the entry of rainwater into the drainage system by the use of swales, ditches and

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The beauty of resilient planting design

The emergence of the idea of resilient planting is a response to a number of different pressures which all have one underlying cause – climate change. Whatever the cause – and I’ll get on to that later – I see it as the most exciting change to the way we design our gardens and landscapes.

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Biological filtration of ponds

The maintenance of ponds is the one thing that people seem to be the most uncertain about – it seems shrouded in myth and confusion. Some of this is basic ignorance of simple biological structures but this is enhanced, in my view, by the profession’s over-mechanised solutions to obtaining clear water. There is also a

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