Garden design ideas #1: Sarah Fletcher Gardens
Garden designer Sarah Fletcher runs her own practice, which is based in North Somerset. She designs gardens all over the south west, and her projects range from wetland gardens to period style and contemporary gardens.
We asked Sarah for her thoughts on how she’d incorporate this log cabin structure into the rest of a garden space if this was a real-life job for one of her clients…
“It’s important to think about how this garden room will link with the space it’s in, as well as the mood you are trying to evoke. With such a fantastic view of the countryside, blurring the boundary fence by introducing plants with a naturalistic feel will make the landscape beyond appear as though it’s an extension of the garden. Garden designers call this using the ‘borrowed landscape’.
Borders wrapped around the building and along the fence line - filled with meadow-like planting - will link the garden with the wider landscape and create an immersive experience; providing a sense of well-being and inspiration.
This sort of planting is great for attracting bees and other pollinating insects which can be viewed at close quarters from the garden room. It’s a good idea to pick out some of the colours, shapes or textures in the landscape, and echo these in the planting.
Ornamental grasses would work well here; as they will add texture and a gentle backdrop against which brighter plants will stand out. They look beautiful swaying in the breeze; stunning when backlit by evening sun, and they can often give good structural interest into the autumn and winter with their bleached foliage. Try ornamental grasses like Stipa tenuissima, Deschampsia cepitosa or Molinia caerulea for this purpose.
Include some tall, delicately-textured plants which will add height without obscuring the view or making the garden feel hemmed in. Verbena bonariensis, with its lilac, tightly-packed flower heads, gives colour throughout the summer into early autumn, and structure well into winter.It looks lovely partnered with the delicate, star-shaped flowers of Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’ which look like they’re dancing in the air on their wiry stems.
Sometimes, partially obscuring a large open view can make it seem even more enticing. You could do this by using small, delicate trees, or shrubs such as Amelanchier lamarckii along the fence line to frame the hill in the distance.
Adding some feature plants will also add interest and lead the eye. Tall ornamental grasses such as Stipa gigantica are lovely feature plants and could be planted at intervals throughout.
Don’t forget to use bulbs in the planting to provide a succession of colour. Summer flowering bulbs such as the intriguing wine-coloured drumstick allium (Allium sphaerocephalon) add rhythm and are interesting right through to the autumn with their seed heads. If you partner these with spring-flowering allium, you will achieve months of colour from May through to August…”