We share our expertise on how to develop and maintain your garden – right from the design stages up to how you can maintain and develop your space in the years to come. Read on to discover our 5 top tips to develop your garden…
1. START WITH THE DESIGN
How you’re going to look after and develop your garden really starts with the design of it. You should consider the amount of time (and money if it will be maintained by a gardener) you’re prepared to commit to maintaining your space. For example, there’s no point in telling your designer that you love cottage garden borders if you also want a low maintenance garden! This will really define the planting scheme of your plot.
Likewise, think about when you’ll actually spend time in the garden. If you’re usually away in the summer, you won’t want to miss the action of summer-flowering plants for example. Seasonal planting is another consideration – these can be integrated into pots, window boxes or even parterres or sections of more formal garden designs. And some of these elements will need to be replanted seasonally, so it will need careful planning and will be a long-term commitment for you.
2. WORK OUT WHO IS GOING TO DO WHAT
How keen a gardener are you? Perhaps you’re happy to hand over your garden maintenance to someone else and just have it looking great. Or perhaps you want to be more involved – discussing planting choices with your designer and regularly meeting your gardener to talk about how the garden will be looked after and developed over the longer term. Alternatively, you might want to get down and dirty with some areas. We have one client where he does all the lawncare (a keen cricketer) and she does all the vegetable gardening. We tend to the rest, but with regular meetings to talk through options. There will be a solution out there to suit you, but it takes a bit of consideration to know what will work best for you.
3. CHOOSE THE RIGHT GARDENER
It usually makes sense for whoever planted the garden to look after it for the first 12 months – this allows for any problems to be put right by the team who did the installation. After that, you’re free to move forward with the same team or switch to someone else. It always helps to get recommendations – either from the designer, friends, or neighbours locally who have gardens you admire.
It’s worth considering the match you need – if you have a lot of borders, you’ll need someone who has good plant knowledge and experience in how to manage them. Likewise if you have a lot of roses or a large kitchen garden.
4. PLAN YOUR PRIORITIES
Talk through with your gardener what’s important to you – what are you looking to achieve in the short term and with a longer view? Are there particular areas you want to develop? Do you want to garden organically or would you accept some use of chemicals when absolutely necessary? We’d also advise not to scrimp on time. A monthly visit isn’t enough – some pests can devastate a garden in a couple of weeks unless swift action is taken. We’d recommend weekly visits during the growing season and fortnightly visits over the winter months.
5. ENJOY THE PROCESS
Regular meetings with your gardeners are always a good idea – establish your priorities and tasks at the beginning of the season and then have regular slots to catch up with progress. The team will also be happy to offer their suggestions on what you should be thinking about and how they could be spending their time most effectively. Value what your gardeners’ opinions – this is what they love doing, so listen to them.
Part of the process is that a garden never stands still. Accept that some things will need replacing and others will need radical pruning. Not everything will succeed – there will be disappointments, but also delights. But most importantly, enjoy this process – watching a garden change and develop over time is one of life’s great pleasures!
If you’re feeling inspired to develop your garden further – we’d be delighted to help with our garden aftercare services, with our team of skilled horticulturists who tend gardens to ensure a landscape to last. You can find out more here!