Garden for a Plant Lover

The clients invited me to visit their new house, just off the A9 near Auchterarder, to help them to plan a garden in a space which strongly resembled the exercise yard of a correctional facility. They had come from a mature woodland garden on the WestCoast and were at a loss as to how to begin to create a garden from such a blank canvas.  It was an interesting project, with budget restrictions, privacy issues and some strong personal preferences for shapes and plants, but as the structure of the garden was to come from the planting, I was in seventh heaven.  The garden was built and planted this spring but, as it contains many herbaceous plants and areas with ornamental grasses, it should look good this summer, and get better over the years as the trees and shrubs mature.  This is how it looks now, newly planted…


Borders have been created around the periphery of the garden, leaving a grassed maintenance path in front of the fences and allowing access to the borders from both front and rear. Good border preparation is essential in new build gardens, where builders’ rubble and compacted soil can be a real problem. The contractor dug lots of organic matter into the soil and it was left to settle for a few weeks before planting. Curvy shapes were important to one of the clients and this principle has been applied to the patio extension and to the borders. The rotary drier has been relocated to the dead space beside the house and trees have been positioned in the borders to block the sight lines to and from neighbouring houses.


A circular seating area has been added to catch the afternoon sun and this is encircled by a grass path so that the surrounding planting creates a sense of enclosure without seeming oppressive.

Once the trees and shrubs mature the fence surrounding the garden will virtually disappear from view. A Miscanthus ‘hedge’ will partially screen the caravan in the summer months and the ‘kitchen border’ will provide colour and interest on a year round basis.


Post script: Here is the garden in late August, 4 months after planting – the clients are absolutely delighted!

The clients were willing to experiment with new planting styles and are looking forward to their new naturalistic borders (with late flowering herbaceous perennials and ornamental grasses) as well as to the flowering of their favourite cottage garden plants. Even before the garden was planted the clients were delighted to see the shapes of the new borders said that the garden space seemed more comfortable. We are all looking forward to seeing the garden matures over the coming months and years…

Leave a Reply

Notify of