Re-thinking the Layout

Previously I talked about building an outdoor living area, the gazebo, which has the advantage over simple decking, as it is cosy, secluded and out of the weather.

It was sitting in this spot to escape the summer heat that I had a chance to take a long look at how things were developing in my garden.

The thing with clay soil is that plants take time to get established, but once they start to grow, they really thrive. This was certainly the case with my broad and runner beans. Rather than removing the old concrete washing line posts that followed the original concrete path to the end of my garden I decided that I could use them to my advantage as an absolutely solid prop for beanpole wigwams, the foliage being ideal for hiding the unsightly concrete.

Considering other aspects of the look to the garden I found that something wasn’t quite right. Having seen various designs through the seasons I felt rather uninspired by my river look to the cascading lawns. That’s when I had the idea to go with circles of lawn and expanded flowerbeds.

To do this, I used a peg as a centre and two lengths of wood as radius markers for two sizes of lawn, cutting into the existing grass with a spade to mark the edges of the circles and the points where paths should join them.

If you have children in your garden at any time, you may wish to bear in mind their need to play and the opportunity to feed their imagination. My fondest childhood memories of gardens were those that involved twisting, turning paths and areas that mimicked the wider natural world. On a practical point, lawns large enough to accommodate a small tent are ideal for just that purpose. Kids will enjoy using a tent like a playhouse on hot summer days, leaving you free to enjoy a good book and the fruits of your labour, so to speak!

‘The Folks’ advised me to develop the garden slowly but I haven’t quite thrown off the impetuousness of youth and completely revamped the look of the garden in an afternoon of digging.

Being clay it took the plant species we chose some time to get established in the new beds, but the result was worth the wait. I particularly enjoy the electric blue Lobelias that Mrs Pauper planted around the main circular lawn. The effect is of passing through a packed arena, all eyes on you…finally!

By being bold, and breaking with tradition to rid myself of lawn space I achieved a more dynamic layout, more space for interesting plants and an awful lot less mowing to do. So why not take a look at your garden and think how to change those parts which no longer inspire you? The worst that can happen is some time spent putting it all back again!

Next time: I satisfy my obsession with waterways with a little, child friendly water feature.

This article was written by Joe Munford.


Filed under Garden Design.

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