Winter’s over, and before we know it we’ll have summer. Chances are your garden’s not looking at its best right now, but you’ll want it in shape for the whole family to enjoy, whether that’s you entertaining or the kids playing. Perhaps it’s time to think about how you can improve it.
What’s Landscape Architecture?
Landscape architecture can refer to anything from designing major public spaces to organising your garden the way you want it. The principles are much the same, even if the scale and budget aren’t. The essential thing is to decide what functions you want each section of the garden to fulfil, and create the appropriate environment.
It’s quite possible to do this yourself, but you may prefer to get some input from a professional, such as London landscape architect Liz Lake Associates, who practice landscape architecture in and around Chelsea.
A Few Tips
- Looking after your garden doesn’t have to be a full-time job. Even the Royal Horticultural Society recognises that many people need a low-maintenance garden and give various recommendations. Crucial choices will include the type of flowers and shrubs you plant and how you organise your lawns — regular shapes with straight edges take less time to mow, or you could even invest in high-quality artificial turf.
- You can still create an effective garden even in a very small area, as long as you think creatively. If you don’t have room for separate sections for each function, find ways of combining them, such as laying a paved patio around small flower-beds.
- Speaking of flower-beds, make sure there’s something in the beds to look good in each season — you don’t want a stunning display for a couple of months, followed by a sad-looking mess for the rest of the year. And, if you want to keep work to a minimum, the BBC website recommends the best low-maintenance plants.
- Among its other uses, the garden is a playground for the children, so you need to think like a child when designing it. In the Guardian, celebrated playground designer Günther Beltzig suggests that “a perfect playground ‘gives room for exploration’. It works like a theatre stage, where you can change the scenery and – more importantly – discover what lies behind the curtain.”
- A garden can be more than a playground for the children, though. If you involve them in an entertaining way in caring for it, they can learn all about plants, insects, worms and the like, while having fun and enjoying your attention.