Posted 15th Jul 2013
Whether you've got a garden that needs an uplift or an entire overhaul, the brilliant book, Why Can't My Garden Look Like That? by John Shortland, answers all your gardening needs. From picking the right plants and adding in a patio, to controlling pests and giving your garden year-round colour, the book has everything you need to create the garden of your dreams. We're giving you a taster of this inspiring book below, but to read more about it click here or for your chance to win a copy click here!
Reviewing what you already have
Even if you are content with the layout of your garden and only want to alter the planting, it is still a good idea to review the whole garden periodically. You may discover the need to make a few adjustments and it is far better to do this now than to disturb new plantings as they are becoming established. Do get into the habit of writing down or drawing your ideas.
For a new garden or one that requires change, the review process helps you analyse any issues and requirements that you may have and helps you avoid making costly errors.
Get snapping: taking photographs
Before you even consider what needs to be done with the garden the first task is to photograph it. You don't need to be a David Bailey, just snap away. First of all, take photos from every window of the house, followed by various shots from around the garden including looking back at the house itself. Make sure that you also include individual or groups of plants that you like and also those that you do not. These photos will all become a reminder of how the garden used to look. Later, you will also find them useful with the review process and with forward planning. Once this is done it is time to take a long, hard look at the garden itself.
Choosing your flowers
You have probably given some thought to the colour theme of your garden long before you started the process of creating it for, as the title of this book suggests, you will have seen gardens that you have admired or wish to emulate. There are numerous theories about colour, what goes with what; which colours should be close to the house and what colours are a definite ‘no-no' in polite society. In garden design books, colour wheels and charts abound often accompanied by complicated instructions in how to use them. For every advocate of using soft, pastel colours, there is another demanding the use of fiery reds and strident yellows. This suits many people but not those of us who just long for a simple way to work these issues out - and, of course, there is a simple way.
In nature,colour clashes are moderated by the greenery of stems and leaves so you can be more adventurous in the garden than you would be indoors.
Providing you have the confidence to put colours together who is to say that you are wrong? Much of what is considered ‘acceptable' where colour is concerned is to do with fashion which, by the nature of the beast, is constantly changing. Follow your own instincts, be a free thinker and let others follow you. The joy of gardening is in experimentation and when you get a winning combination of plants you will be spurred on to try other mixes; likewise if it doesn't work, the offending plant can always be replanted somewhere else and another tried in its place.
But perhaps you do want to follow a fashion trend or recreate the colour scheme you have seen elsewhere. There is nothing wrong with that either for, with gardening, you can change the plants (and your mind) as often as you wish and budget allows. You may decide that, every few years, you want to create a completely different look to the garden which involves the total removal of all that is there. This would be a pity for much pleasure can be obtained from watching a garden develop and mature over the years.