People always say to me “You’re a garden designer, I bet you’ve got a lovely garden”.
Well, I have a confession to make: I don’t (yet) have a lovely garden.
I have the beginnings of a lovely garden, but it has a way to go. It is a work in progress – a bit like a builder’s home.
Like so many of our clients, my husband and I have concentrated our efforts (and vast sums of money!) over many years on getting our house the way we wanted it. Along the way, I have prepared plans for the garden, which have enabled us to start shaping borders and doing some planting. But the main garden elements – patios, paths and veggie beds, have largely had to take second place to the house – until now. With the house largely complete (in so far as anything is ever complete), we have turned our attention to completing our back garden (the front garden is next year’s project).
ALDA’s most difficult customer yet?
So, at the beginning of January the ALDA landscaping team spent several weeks working with a very difficult customer – me! The garden is not yet finished – the guys will be returning in a week or so to complete the hard landscaping and border preparation and lay a formal lawn.
So currently, much of the area looks like something akin to the Somme after all the rain – any clients reading this will no doubt think that perhaps I am getting a dose of my own medicine! But it won’t be long before I can turn my attention to the planting – all very exciting.
A good reminder
Working on my own garden plans over the years, and monitoring their implementation has been – and will continue to be – a very humbling experience and has reminded me that:
- The final design of a garden is inevitably a compromise. And there is nothing wrong with that. It is, for example, very difficult to locate every component of a garden in what is theoretically an ideal spot. In a recent blog I pronounced that vegetable beds should not be located in a windy spot. My two new large raised veggie beds (currently incomplete, empty and resembling enormous coffins) are sited in a wind tunnel. It is a lovely sunny spot, close to water, shed etc, easily accessible, close but not too close to the house, and the beds fit neatly in with the semi-formal design of this part of the garden. But it can be very blustery there and I will have to adapt what I grow accordingly. The veggie beds are also ideally located for the pigeons – half way between the bird feeding station and the bird bath, so perhaps my love of the birds and bird feeding will wane over the coming years!
- What you want from a garden changes over the years. People’s tastes alter over time, as do their needs, so it makes sense where possible to keep things a little flexible.
- The hardest garden to design is your own – because you know it too well and it can be hard to see it differently. This, of course, is good news for us at ALDA Landscapes!
- Gardens are transient, particularly the planting. However well designed, if not maintained, nature will very quickly take its course.
- When it comes to plants – you never know enough. There are always new plants to discover – how good is that!
- And when it comes to growing plants – don’t be afraid of failure. If something doesn’t work, try something else, and learn from the experience. Don’t beat yourself up.
Coming up next month: more details and photos of my new back garden (particularly the veggie beds and what I am planning to grow in them)!