Practical garden design

I have been thinking a lot about garden design recently. True: the RHS Chelsea Flower Show was on TV and was as ever full of great ideas, but it’s the practical side of design that prompts me to write.

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The all-important wheelbarrow

I’m the first to admit to loving symmetry and tidy borders, but the day-to-day need for a variety of garden tools, sacks, pans, compost and water has made me realise that I am going to need a garden that ‘works’. Add to this the busy running of a B&B and you soon realise efficiency is going to be key!

We have been extremely fortunate to have had seven days of uninterrupted sunshine which has been instrumental in helping clear many an important seasonal job. I’ve spent hours¬†trimming lawn edges, staking and trimming overgrown hedges, heaving compost into bags, weeding flower beds, potting up summer plants, thinning out vegetables and herbs, scrubbing moss off the old patio, and brushing down garden furniture… the list goes on and there’s always that unexpected job each day. But the point here is I’ve probably spent half the time traipsing backwards and forwards collecting or depositing ‘things’!

So in considering the workability and aesthetics of the garden at The Little Grange, here’s my practical design priority list:

1. Water butts in a variety of locations (fed by guttering from house, greenhouse, etc.)

2. Greenhouse for growing on new plants and for winter pot storage; ideally with a built-in earth bed

3. Tool shed attached to greenhouse as well as a similar storage solution closer to the main house

4. Potting shed attached to the main house

5. Kitchen garden within easy reach of the main house

6. Duplicates of key tools for those jobs that take you to the far end of the garden

I will keep an eye out for bargain buys at my local auction since there seems to be a constant stream of old tools, garden pots, lawn mowers, ladders, etc. You never know, I might even find that all important garden shed! SCH

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