High society

Bella Alladio of Alladio Sims Garden Design Limited shares her top ten tips for creating a wonderful garden worthy of an RHS show garden in our homes.

Frame the view: most gardens are viewed from the house and in order to work they need to relate back to it; the key details of the architecture of the house need to be repeated within the garden and the views out need to be nicely framed and lead the eye, inviting you out to discover the garden.

Keep it simple: keep the material choices to a minimum, for instance one type of stone used in different finishes for inside and out or for areas of the garden with different characters, and use repetition in the planting too to create a sense of harmony.

Create a private haven: introduce a secluded area that feels intimate and tranquil where you can sip a glass of wine or sit and relax. Introducing vertical elements such as a semi-transparent screen, a wall or a tall hedge works wonderfully, creating an unexpected space that breaks down the emptiness of a garden and spurs us on to walk and discover what’s beyond.

Use splashes of colour throughout. Add bold cushions and accessories to pick up the colour in the planting scheme
Image courtesy of Alladio Sims Garden and Landscape Design Ltd, London private garden, 2019

Create spaces that look good in every season: June is the month of the year where every garden looks its best, with lavender, geraniums, alchemilla, roses etc. all flowering their socks off. Yet these plants can also fade quickly and leave an empty gap for many months to come. Try and avoid planting that fades too quickly and choose instead a good backbone of evergreen shrubs and perennials with pretty seed heads for structure in the winter.

Disguise the ugly bits: every garden has a view or wall you shouldn’t be looking at. Use plants and paths to lead your eyes away from them, distracting you to look elsewhere.

Boundaries are key: Use hedging to frame a sharp and clean lawn or a well defined border. This will produce neat shapes that will help to keep maintenance to a minimum and will make the garden look crisp and fresh.

Let the plants speak for themselves: don’t overcrowd them but give them space to breathe and to get established. Think about it in terms of layers of vertical interest and bring some taller perennials towards the front to break the mould and create a dynamic border and more interesting look.

Be bold: choose more of the same thing, so for instance put together two plants of the same colour (such as bronze fennel and black phormium) to create a good textural foil for the rest of the garden. You can achieve a comparable result by repeating similar shapes at different levels (such as round pots, round lawns, allium heads etc.).

Don’t be afraid of grasses: grasses add a softness and a texture that is invaluable to any garden and they have very good longevity too, especially the ones with interesting seed heads.

Use splashes of colour to draw attention: but keep the overall picture harmonious by restricting the colour palette. The effect you are trying to achieve is pleasing and not a muddled mix!

Garden 2Jon and Emanuela in the show garden they created for the Istanbul Flower Festival in 2016

Profile: Alladio Sims

Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Ltd was established in 2015 after Jon Sims and Emanuela Alladio collaborated on a Silver Gilt winning show garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. The two directors continue their collaborative approach throughout their practice with Jon’s background in interior architecture giving distinctive spaces and Emanuela’s passion for plants and photographic eye adding great texture and contrast.

essence info
Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Limited
Unit C Willow House, Dragonfly Place, London SE4 2FJ
Website: www.alladiosims.co.uk
Email: hello@alladiosims.co.uk
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