In my new looking blog (not long off I promise) I’m starting a weekly column on current obsessions. Number one current obsession – gardening. I went a little crazy over the weekend taking shots of our garden (below) and with the Chelsea Flower Show starting today it seems apt to yabber about them some more.
A peak through to the dutch oven, good for making all sorts of things like roasted tomato soup which I did on the weekend.
Some of us didn’t do so much on the weekend, other than snooze. I put dog beds out on the terrace, big loungy cushions but nope we wanted the table of course!
I wouldn’t call myself a gardener; ours has come together through total trail and error. My brief to myself was lush, forest-y, scented with the majority of the plants and trees green all year round as we have a double height glass wall and I don’t want to look at bare leaves in the winter. Nor did I want to see one neighbours window or roof so its super over grown, I’m out there at all hours feeding seaweed to the bamboo, tomato feeding everything else! As we don’t have curtains (can’t stand them) and I never close the shutters (have this weird problem about being shut in) the garden is our screen at both the front and the back of the house.
Figuring out your scheme depends obviously on the vibe you want to create. I wanted a secret garden whereby you can’t really see what is in front of you because there is so much planting in the way. It raises the heart rate when plants are not just planted around the perimeter. I took each section of our garden individually rather than looking at the thing as a whole and started from there. Installing the outdoor kitchen you can see above totally changed the vibe, it enveloped the terrace making it feel way more snug and hang out able! Whether you have a balcony or a garden there are a number of tricks I’ve learnt along the way.
Restrict your colour palette. This is my personal opinion obviously, some people prefer a riot of colour for their balcony or garden but I’ve found when I’ve limited the palette to a few hues – in my case blues, deep purples and white with green as my predominate hue it makes the space feel extremely sophisticated. If you’ve got a small garden or balcony then I would encourage you even more to think along these lines otherwise it can appear a little too busy. Same goes for containers actually, if each container is a different hue it can read as confusing whereas if you restrict it it will read and look way more cohesive. I’ve got black and gold pots and that is pretty much it.
Create a lively rhythm. The same principles that apply in interiors also apply with gardens – handy no? In interiors like in gardens in order to make the space feel cool we need to create a lively rhythm which means you don’t want all pots or plants the same height, as this reads as boring. Instead you need to create depth. To do this on a balcony for example you put smaller pots in front of larger pots, small plants in front of tall plants like bamboo, cross them over, butt them together and don’t make them too gap-y. Also the minute you move plants away from the edge and into the centre of your space you will actually increase the sense of space! No body ever believes me until they do they it, but I promise it works.
For further ideas check out Isabelle Palmer’s book The Balcony Gardener. Isabelle is fab at transforming small spaces into tantalising, intriguing spaces here is one of her designs below.