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Make the most of the room outdoors

PUBLISHED: 10:20 24 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:25 20 February 2013

Make the most of the room outdoors

Make the most of the room outdoors

You can add a whole new aspect to your house simply by improving your outdoor space. Garden designer Adrian Crowe has some tips

You can add a whole new aspect to your house simply by improving your outdoor space. Garden designer Adrian Crowe has some tips



There are vast numbers of media articles and programmes produced each year aimed at those with a keen interest in their homes and lifestyle. Varied comment is made on the importance of the kitchen with its style and feel, especially given the amount of time spent by families in the engine room of their home. Thoughts for the bathrooms, conservatory and loft conversion usually follow.
Building new homes and renovating houses excites and enthuses people and they have a better knowledge now than at any time on what they want and how to achieve it.
But dreams shouldnt be confined to realising the potential of the inside of your home. It is reported that a private garden as part of the home accounts for about 13% of the total value of the property and that most buyers are after a good sized plot. However, a garden doesnt have to be big to offer real benefits to its users, but it does need planning and maintenance.
Usually, hard landscaping accounts for the largest proportion of any outlay on an outdoor project. Materials and labour, including elements such as garden lighting are not cheap. The long established idea of the room outside brings with it the equivalent costs of a room indoors. It does not however follow that to get the garden done requires massive amounts of hard landscaping to be undertaken.
If the underlying structure of a garden works with regard to function, movement and practicality, why change for change sake? Simple tasks like power washing paving and pathways can offer an instant lift. Pools and ponds might need refreshing but if the location is fine, leave it. Timber structures or buildings if structurally sound need not be replaced but can be refurbished and brightened.
After the structure comes the planting. Consider the cost of a standard specimen herbaceous perennial plant. Once purchased, correctly placed and planted, it is likely this will perform with relatively little effort for upwards of three years. After that it may benefit from losing a little weight and require division, resulting in free plants and off we go again. The value is obvious financially and in enjoyment of spectacle and displays over time, priceless.
Some believe a tree is planted for the generation of grandchildren and a trees value cannot be over emphasised. There are not many purchases in life made that should outlive us, giving countless years of enjoyment, marking the passing of time. Hedging is the same both add to improving our environment and wildlife.
If the underlying structure of a garden is fine, look at the current planting. Does it inspire, excite and give pleasure? If advice is needed then seek it fresh eyes compliment evolving thoughts and ideas. The resources of highly knowledgeable nurseries are available and there to be used, as are garden designers.
So when it comes to move or improve, it might be better to maximise the potential of what we have rather than look to where the grass may be greener. Here are three core planting design considerations to consider when reviewing your planting.


Structure
Look at how the garden is divided into various areas. Are there spaces of seclusion or expanse? Structure will create and control the movement through a garden and link and unify the garden.


Focus
Focal plants in a garden need to be accentuated. They also control movement by enticing people on to investigate or create a pause in which to reflect and admire.


Decoration
Consider the shapes, textures and colours of the planting. What is the most important characteristic of the plant, is it the leaf shape, the plant shape or the flower shape? How does the texture of the plant look beside its neighbour? Colours, well everyone has a view on colour.


Adrian Crowe, tel: 01787 228147, www.crowegardendesign.com

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