Size and placement


Small Garden Design : Size Matters


This person has clearly thought about their front garden and has planted a really well looked after box hedge, and they have bought two specimen plants the phormium and rosemary for the inside. 

size and placement


There a a couple of issues here, firstly that the plants don’t fill the area despite being big, so a tiny ophiopogon lily (the black plant) has been planted which unfortunately now looks rather dwarfed. If you are only having one specimen per area – why are both offset in a corner.


Secondly, are both these plants really beautiful specimen plants? The box hedge is designed to frame the space and like a painting, if you have a lovely frame, you want a lovely picture in it.


To improve this and really make it stand out more, you could either contrast the solid frame with a fluid centre or you could paint a colourful picture to ‘put in the frame‘. 


Creating a fluid middle, this would be designed to waft in a breeze, but you don’t want it to flop all over the hedging.  Fill each area with soft airy grasses like deschampsia or a stipa tenuissima – then use bulbs and delicate plants to provide interest over the seasons, such as alliums, tulips, nigella, catananche, schizostylis, galanthus, astrantias and maybe some pennisetums too.


Alternatively, a colourful picture can be created by using a limited colour palette.  Stick to two flower colours along with green.  As the hedging here is a more yellowy green, I would avoid pastel shades and choose strong blues with yellows, purples and oranges or acid yellows with creams and whites.  Then choose your base plant (evergreen, not too tall, non floppy), and get plants in your chosen colours that flower at different times of the year to ensure year round colour


For example, I want strong blues and yellows, my base plant would be a geranium ‘Johnson Blue’ to which I would add crocus, muscari , narcissus, salvias, iris yellow tulips and achillea tomentosa (summer), echinacea sunrise (late summer).


The result – a picture that steals the show rather than the frame!


Geranium johnsons blue


Salvia Blue Queen


Iris yellow (1)


muscari (2)





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