5 ideas to make your garden stand out

PUBLISHED: 15:49 08 August 2016 | UPDATED: 16:57 08 August 2016

Shapely style: Jo Thompsons crisp Chelsea Barracks Garden

Shapely style: Jo Thompsons crisp Chelsea Barracks Garden

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Naomi Slade highlights some eye-catching ideas to make your own treasured garden stand out

I will soon be venturing forth with editor Janice Raycroft and James Heron of Strutt and Parker to judge the Glorious Gardens Competition, so I took the opportunity to limber up a little at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. While these gardens are not exactly built on domestic scale and budget, it was a great chance to get my eye in and focus the mind.

Chelsea is a rich vein of things to appropriate for use at home, themes, ideas and trends. And to bring a dash of SW3 glamour to your home counties plot. here are my top tips.

1. Be bold

Strong ideas included a bright orange shipping container with a veg patch on top from Ann-Marie Powell for the RHS, and a striped path from Rosy Hardy of Hardy’s garden plants in Hampshire on Forever Freefolk, the Brewin Dolphin Garden. There was also a garden that worked as a hortus conclusus with plants and mirrors inside a vast block of granite. Confidence is always a winner.

2. Big sculpture

The RHS Chelsea gardens were going large with faces and figures. The human form was a repeated theme, but my favourites were the slightly stylised masks, as on the stand of Simon Gudgeon Sculpture.

3. Geometric forms

Cubed trees and clipped yew appeared frequently, including on both Jo Thompson’s crisp Chelsea Barracks Garden and that of Andy Sturgeon for The Telegraph, which also featured dramatic shards of rock and zigzagged hard landscaping.

4. Unusual plants

‘Samey’ planting was not a problem this year - Hugo Bugg boldly shook things up by sourcing seeds from Jordan and getting local nursery Hortus Loci to turn them into plants for his Royal Bank of Canada Garden. Likewise, newcomer Nick Bailey of The Chelsea Physic Garden specified plants that were fresh on the showground scene in the Winton Beauty of Mathematics Garden.

5. Focal points

Something at the end to focus the mind and the eye is always a bonus. Jekka McVicar’s rod of Asclepius – a snake-entwined staff, is a case in point, in her medical herb garden for St John’s Hospice, and there were many more.


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