Roots in to the garden!

I was lucky to have the opportunity to deliver a talk about the use of paths in creating interesting garden designs at Garden Show Ireland yesterday and I would like to thank the organisers for inviting me and other Garden and Landscape Design Association (GLDA) members to attend the show to both give talks and also run a popular garden design clinic where visitors could get free 15-minute design advice for their gardens.

classical symmetry, garden design, formal, gravel path, Travertine paving

The central gravel and Travertine path in my show garden at Bloom 2013

My talk yesterday focused on using paths and routes in to the garden and how these can be selected to be functional – they are a means of getting from A to B – but then, how they should also be considered as opportunities for improving the overall visual and atmospheric qualities of the garden.  I illustrated my talk with examples of my private garden projects, landscape schemes and my show gardens. 

Some key points from my talk, which went on for about 40 minutes would be:

1) Think about why you are creating the path?   Is it to get to the shed at the bottom of the garden or to a garden feature or deck area?  Well then, think about how you can make this route more interesting.  Is a straight line the best way to go or would a subtly curved path be more fulfilling?

paths, curves, traditional, lawn, flower beds, playhouse, family garden

A family garden, designed by Tim, with a curved gravel path drawing the eye down the garden and tempting the garden explorer onwards

2) What type of surface would be most appropriate?  Does it have to be durable so you can wheel the mower or bins across it or can it be a softer more forgiving surface?

3) In terms of material selection for your path there are a whole range of options from solid concrete or natural stone paving to brick paths, granite setts, hoggin, gravel, and wood or bark mulch.

brick path, classical, traditional, foutain, herringbone, kitchen garden

Using red brick laid in a herringbone pattern to create a classical garden path

4) Think about the edging details, how to hold you your path surface in place, whether with a metal or stone edge or indeed if it’s a hard surface perhaps no edge at all!

5) Think about your route in to the garden as an opportunity to create a journey: extend your time in the garden by using paths that meander through the garden with stopping points of interest on the way.

6) Straight paths can be used to direct you to a feature in the distance and work with formal designs, curved paths often work where a more relaxed flowing or traditional garden style is sought.

7) Use paths and routes to provide opportunities for exploration, maybe there is a hidden feature around the next corner?

red boardwalk, garden path, contemporary, showy, bog path, catwalk

Make a bold statement with a boardwalk painted in a striking colour!

8) Make a bold statement with your path (see above pic.)!

I had a friendly, good-humoured, attentive and inquisitive audience (always a bonus), which swelled significantly as the talk went on (I am sure to at least 300 people), as fortuitously Monty Don was the next speaker on the podium…so thank you Monty for giving my audience numbers a boost and in consequence for me receiving my biggest applause for a talk to date!

No Comments

Post a Comment