Published on May 11th, 2013 | by Aspen FAYE0
How to Create a Small Town Garden
This plan is for a small town garden for a family with teenage children in which one or more members of the family suffers from allergies. The garden was designed for the National Asthma Campaign and built for the Chelsea Flower Show in 1993, and was the very first low-allergen garden ever created. The colour scheme was bright yellow and deep blue, which was very striking and lent the garden a feeling of warmth and sunshine on even the dullest days. Accordingly, the plants had yellow or green foliage with blue, purple and yellow flowers. The garden features followed the colour scheme, including the paint used for the trellis, gazebo and furniture. The paving, a combination of blue engineering bricks and yellow-buff paving slabs, was chosen to complement the basic choice of colours.
Tranquillity in Town Garden
The space was designed to incorporate a relatively large area of water to provide reflections of the sky and surrounding features in order to give a feeling of tranquillity. The water replaced the traditional lawn as the calm centre of the garden, while the gentle waterfall was added to lend an unintrusive touch of excitement.Generous paved areas allowed room for entertaining, eating outdoors or just relaxing, and an adjacent gazebo provided welcome shade on the hottest days. Painted trellis surrounded the garden, to avoid the use of hedges, and additional trellis within the garden created secret areas just waiting to be explored.
Gravel was used both as a mulch in the planted areas and as part of the surfacing at the rear of the garden, where the pattern of paving slabs and bricks would look too formal. Plants, chosen for their strong shape or elegant habit, were planted in pots and placed on the paved areas to add extra colour and interest. The soil at the top of the pots was covered with gravel to retain moisture and contain any fungal spores.
All the plants selected were low-allergen plants, apart from ceanothus, lupin and wisteria; visitors to the show suggested that these plants caused problems and so they were not used in our subsequent low-allergen gardens. To reduce the need for maintenance, extensive use was made of ground cover plants. These plants often look dull, so care was taken to select cultivars which displayed variegated or coloured leaves and attractive flowers.
Adapting the Plan for your Town Garden
- The plan is for a garden that measures 9m sq (30ft sq), but it could easily be adapted for a larger space by increasing the size of the planted areas or the secret area at the back, or extending the paving. For a smaller garden you could reduce the size of the paved areas and the pools.
- The vibrant colour scheme will not suit all tastes and could look out of place against some buildings – for example, a red-brick house. The use of a paler blue, with pink to replace the yellow, would lend a softer look. In the original garden the trellis was backed with painted boards to block out the view of the adjacent gardens, but these could be left unpainted or omitted altogether.
- The low side trellis with openings was a requirement of the site at Chelsea. This could be readily replaced with taller trellis without openings. The paving to the opening could be removed or left to provide a space for a garden seat.
- The hexagonal gazebo could be replaced with an enclosed summerhouse or shed, particularly if a lockable store is needed.
- If you have difficulty in getting electricity into the garden for the water pump, or prefer to have a simpler water feature, keep the top pool but brick in the waterfall Hp and put a flowerbed in place of the lower pool.