There are many stunning public gardens in the UK and worldwide. If you’re planning a major garden revamp or redesign, you’re sure to pick up some great ideas from someone else’s landscape. Here are five of the best gardens to visit in our wonderful country, and why they draw crowds of visitors from all over the world.
1. Kew Gardens, London
What you might think of when considering a classical English garden with its lush lawns interspersed with colourful flower beds.
It has 30,000 different species of living plants – the world’s largest collection. Although you won’t be able to have anything like that many varieties in your garden, you can follow the ‘a little variety can go a long way’ principle.
2. Harewood House, Leeds
This garden offers an interesting mixture of landscape styles and the spacious Garden Terrace is a particular attraction. It’s a great example of how landscapers can use a space to good effect without creating a cluttered environment.
3. Stowe Gardens, Buckinghamshire
This National Trust attraction, with its multitude of monuments, rolling lawns, winding paths, lakes, buildings and its sheer size, creates a whole world of its own.
You could easily spend an entire day walking around these vast gardens and probably still not see everything! Stowe proves that it really is possible to create a ‘garden within a garden’ – the designers have created something with exceptional imagination and creativity, and with the right execution, you could achieve this in your own space, too.
4. Croome Park, Worcestershire
This garden, commanding superb views over the Malverns, put famous landscape architect ‘Capability’ Brown on the map; it was his first commission.
Along with lovely walks along some lakeside paths, there are five acres of walled gardens containing superb border planting, a rose garden and vegetable plots.
If you’re interested in creating – or making the most of – a multi-use space, then Croome Park is sure to give you a great deal of inspiration.
5. Audley End Gardens
Audley End is another ‘Capability’ Brown-designed space, and is rated as one of Essex’s finest stately homes. The grounds overlook the Essex countryside and possess wonderful examples of bedding plants. If you want to see how to achieve effective bedding, then look no further.
There’s a walled garden, too, and this is geared towards the needs of the kitchen with its totally organic fare.
How you can Learn from Landscaped Gardens
Sometimes a few guiding principles can help you decide what to take into account when planning your own garden. Designing a garden to suit your own unique tastes is important. If you want to spend time in your outdoor space and intend to use it a lot – perhaps for entertaining – then pathways and patios might be a better investment as opposed to rows upon rows of bedding and borders.
In some cases, a riot of colour and even a casually-planted plot look good. There’s no law to say everything has to be totally manicured. After all, Claude Monet planted flowers according to colour and left them to grow freely.
Perhaps you want a garden that complements the look of your property? A classic ‘lawns and borders’ style might clash with a more modern property that could benefit more from a garden with straighter lines and bolder paving slabs.
If you’re creating a ‘me’ space, think about what it is about your environment that’s going to help you relax and unwind. A little terrace? Some paving or patio so you can add a table and chair and dine outside? Some tall growing plants to give you an ‘enclosed’ feeling and ensure privacy for you and your family?
Your Ideal Garden
There are so many way to turn your garden into your own, bespoke space. Breaking things up with some patio, paving or decking rather than simply laying a tried and tested lawn is well worth considering, and there are plenty of colours and patterns to choose from.
You don’t have to stop there – various other eye-catching effects can be created with boulders and rockeries, stones and gravel, pebbles and cobbles.
Matt Coussens is the director of Milestone Supplies, who provide natural stone and reclaimed products to enhance even the smallest garden.