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Home and Gardens

Published on April 13th, 2020 | by The Town Crier


Garden Styles for Modern Houses

You do not have to live in an architectural award-winning house, or even a new build to enjoy ultra-modern architecture. Many older houses are extended to create an open plan living space with bi-fold doors to the garden.  This effectively means creating a garden alongside a 21st Century sleek metal and glass façade where previously you were looking at 1930s brick for example.  Your need for space to relax, entertain, play and grow plants remain the same but you will certainly want your garden to complement the house.  The key questions are: Do you have to transform your garden into an equally sleek, contemporary installation? And what exactly makes Chelsea Show Gardens look so ‘new’ and stylish, if that is the look you hanker for?

The first answer is “No” you do not have to match garden to house but you have a much more pleasing result if there is a visual link between the two. You want a sense that they belong together and that whatever you create it looks as if you meant it.  The answer to the second question is that those show gardens reflect contemporary architecture with straight, clean lines, unfussy materials and simple colour schemes, contrasting light and dark.

Happily, there are simple ways to update a traditional garden for a modern look without necessarily starting from scratch.  For example, a contemporary take on a cottage garden might see exuberant, colourful planting within strong rectangular shapes and smooth surfaces.  Alternatively migrate your planting to a limited, even monochrome palette such as green and white within the existing layout.  Both choices will pick up on key elements of modern design to complement a modern building.

Updating your garden after moving house or a major building project may seem like a daunting prospect but the jackpot is a beautiful and usable outdoor space to match.  Use pictures of contemporary gardens, permanent or temporary, local or abroad, to inspire you.  Choose a ‘look’ and that will guide your decisions on shapes, colours and textures from paving and fences to plants.  Just make sure that you select plants suitable for your location if your inspiration is a picture of a garden in California!

Hardening Off

You might think that with April we are ‘out of the woods’ for frost tender plants down here in the South East of England, but nighttime temperatures are still low even without a frost.  And there is one final stage to go through before summer plants can fend for themselves outside: Hardening Off.

Plants grown or overwintered indoors or in a greenhouse need to be acclimatised to life in lower temperatures, particularly at night. A period of hardening off reduces the shock to small plants of a sudden change in conditions and ensures new growth is sturdy, although slower at first.  Over a week or so, gradually increase airflow to the plants and their exposure to the great outdoors.  Start by opening the greenhouse door during the day, or place plants outside in a sheltered position and bring them back under cover at night.  Then leave them out in a cold frame, cloche or under fleece overnight. Finally, plant out into their permanent positions but have protection ready in case of a late frost.

Happy Gardening from Alison!

Alison Marsden lives in Southborough providing advice to gardeners onsite and online. She teaches Adult Education gardening courses and gives talks to clubs and societies. 

There is no long term commitment – just all the advice you need an hour at a time.  Find out more at www.gardeningbydesign.co.uk or call 07803 045327

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