Battersea Flower Station Presents: Our top 10 tips for your garden

(And that’s a real photo, taken on a not expensive phone, just last week, at Battersea Flower Station!)

  1. Be bold, be brave – good design is never half-hearted.
  2. Size doesn’t matter. Don’t ever think that you can’t have an amazing, show-stopping garden just because you’ve only got a balcony or a back-yard.
  3. Clear up the clutter. A lot of gardens and balconies would be half way there just by clearing up accumulated junk and introducing a sweeping brush. Throw away old paint tins, deflated footballs, car tyres, broken pots, mattresses etc. Don’t use your garden to park things you don’t want indoors.
  4. Think big. A few large things (pots, plants, furniture) will make your urban Eden feel more spacious. Lots of small things will make it feel … small. We’ve all got used to filling our rooms with hulking great sofas, floor-to-ceiling mirrors, and statement wall art but we lose the plot as soon as we move outside & worry that we don’t have room to put a mug down. You do.
  5. Don’t be blinded by flowers. We all love a flower, especially if it promises scent as well, but don’t let it be the only reason you buy a plant. Flowers can be terribly fleeting, doing their thing for a few brief weeks a year. The plant left behind when they’ve faded might be the dullest thing on the planet.
  6. Be selective. The plants you choose should earn their keep for as many days of the year as possible – especially when they’re in full view from the window.
  7. Be ruthless with half-dead & horrible plants. It may have been lovely once, it may have been a present from your first dog – but if it’s half dead and ugly it’s time to move on. You wouldn’t have a dead vase of flowers on the kitchen table (would you?) so why have a dead plant on the table outside.
  8. Repeat, repeat, repeat and keep things simple. Repetition helps to pull a space together, make it feel calm, comfortable and easy on the eye. There’s a reason we like fields of wheat, cornflower meadows, bluebell woods – they’re simple, bold and there’s lots of repetition. Having one of this, one of that and then one of the other does nothing for a space.
  9. Get as much greenery and structure into the garden as possible first – you can always add colourful flowers later. Nothing will make your space feel more like a garden than if it’s bursting with verdant, lush growth.
  10. Focus your ‘colour’ on one big pot, and whatever you think big is, it’s not big enough. One huge pot which is always full of colour – whether it’s a mass of white tulips or lipstick-red geraniums – will have the wow factor.