In September I went to the Adam Frost Garden School near Stamford, for a one-day masterclass. It was hugely enjoyable. Adam was with 16 of us for the whole day, partly in a special classroom in his new home and partly in his country garden which we have seen on Gardeners’ World.
I’m writing now about how I can use his ideas in my London garden. I’m going to look at three ideas, each in a separate blog.
To remind you, both the front and back garden are 6m wide and about 11m long.
This is a see-it-all-at-once-garden so I need to bear this in mind.
Thoughts on design
He suggested we think about what we want from this space, this room outside. In a home each room has a purpose – we don’t put the dining table in the bathroom – so it helps to stand back and really decide what we want to use the outdoor space for. Will it be for entertaining, a play room, a sculpture showcase or a cricket pitch?
For example, a dining table and chairs need a lot of space, more than one thinks. When we push our chairs back we don’t want to fall into the flower beds.
So here in the back garden the central focus is a table with colourful chairs left out all year round and with a red parasol in the summer. Before I decided to group pots at the end of the table we used to add another table if we had a larger group. Now we can’t do that but having a small space is all about compromise.
However, when I want to sit with a coffee I like to step just outside the back door to this small table and chair, again left out all year. I sit here even in the middle of winter just to get outside for a few minutes.
Your sunniest spot for a table might be at the end of a 100ft garden but will you really want to carry every glass of wine down there in all weathers?
I want the front garden to be a warm welcome for everyone coming to the front door – an inviting path that entices visitors in. I hope that the colour and scent encourages people passing by to stop and enjoy the front garden. There’s really no space for sitting as I gave away the bench to make room for more pots there. In the summer I will squeeze one chair in somewhere but there’s no room for a table.
Here by the front door I use the space for one colourful chair so I can sit in the sunshine like a Mediterranean granny.
So these are all ideas about how to use the space you have got. I think Adam’s point was to use it for what fits your life now and then change it as your life changes. Maybe one day you can chuck out the trampoline and get yourself a hot tub!