The Property Magazine Oxfordshire Spring/Summer 2019

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Once you have made your list on how you want to

use your garden and who you are designing it for,

it’s time to get some practical ideas. Magazines,

catalogues, books, ‘Pintrest’ and the TV are all a

great source of inspiration. Here you can glean

insights into some of the top gardens in the

country from the comfort of your own sofa. Visit

some gardens. Friends and neighbours are often

pleased to show off their horticultural delights and

thousands of private gardens are opened every

year under the National Garden Scheme. Look for

gardens that are open to the public in your area

and pinch some ideas! Go to a garden show, it

doesn’t have to be Chelsea, there are lots of local

garden shows in summer months that make a

lovely day out.

Once you have some ideas and a list of

your needs, you can start to design

your garden on paper or using a

CAD package. Draw out the

outline of your garden to scale.

The first things to include

onto your drawing are the

‘must haves’ drawn in to

scale. These could be the

garden shed, children’s play

equipment, vegetable beds,

a seating area or a water

feature. A note on sheds...a

common mistake is to put them

at the bottom of the garden, thus

creating a focal point of the garden

shed. Unless it’s a very attractive building

this is not ideal. Try and think of another place

for it in the garden, preferably to one side. If this

is not possible, then design a trellis with climbers

in front to disguise it. Decide how many people

are likely to use your garden for outdoor eating

and entertaining and allow enough room for

everyone, including a table. If you haven’t already

got an outdoor table, this is a good opportunity to

design it the correct size and draw it in. The usual

place to choose for seating is outside the back of

the house.

However, if

that area is


it’s unlikely

to get much

sun. Consider

putting your

main seating area

in a west-facing

position to catch the last

rays of evening sunshine.

Easy-care plants that provide interest throughout

the year are an essential part of any garden. The

quality of your soil will affect your choice of plants.

Many plants will not grow in wet, heavy

soil, for example. If you have a

new garden or a neglected

one the quality of your

soil may not allow

your new plants to

thrive, so it’s very

important to improve the soil

before planting anything. Try to

include at least three evergreen

shrubs for permanent colour and

underplant with low perennial

plants to cover the bare soil. To

begin, use plants that you are

familiar with, look them up online

or go to a garden centre to see the

type of thing that appeals to you, create

a ‘shopping list’ first to ensure that you have

the correct range and balance of plants. You

need to consider all year round, not just at the time

of buying. There should always be something of

interest to see in a garden, no matter what the time

of year, so choose various plants for various seasons

and enjoy the results of your work.

Sheena Marsh is owner and designer at Oxford

Garden Design.

See or email


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