Gardening with Charlie Wilkins — A garden makeover
Life & Style

Gardening with Charlie Wilkins — A garden makeover

SOMETIMES, you may catch me yearning secretly for winter.

I dare not express this aloud in the company of those who do not garden, but between you and me, the work involved in the garden in summer and autumn can sometimes become wearisome.

I get tired in late October and as my age creeps ever upwards I take longer to do the kind of things most take as a matter of course.

I’m curling at the edges and facing another way. But let’s all be honest, don’t you sometimes enjoy the thought that soon there will be a ‘quiet’ season, a time to come inside and rest?

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But even indoors our lifestyles have changed dramatically, and it is nowhere more evident than in our almost compulsive obsession with the latest interior fitting or decoration.

This has now spilled out into the garden and even the tiniest space is at last deemed worthy of thought and preparation for a garden makeover.

Irrespective of what size garden you have, it is always best to try and keep things as simple as possible.

Some gardeners will prefer a minimalist, open, sun-filled outdoor space, others will amass plants as if they were building their own botanic garden.

The trick with both is to make the most of the space available, and to stick to your basic requirements.

The chief function of a modern, tidy-sized, family-orientated garden is almost entirely domestic, and the owners expect there to be room for essentials such as the oil tank, rotary washing line, compost bins, and small storage shed without compromising on what they see as their dream outdoor space, precious in every respect and full of charm and beauty.

The most difficult gardens to plan and design are the mini-plots given with today’s mass building projects, also those attached to houses built in the 1960s and 1970s.

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Architecturally, both can be rather nondescript but they will benefit from a strong and sleek style that emphasises modernity, to bring out the building’s simple strength.

I like to use rounded shapes against a backdrop of unrelenting straight lines and this works best when the scale is bold.

Designing with compact evergreen shrubs or clipped box, I feel, makes for a really neat garden and these add structure, reinforce the layout, and once established, require little maintenance.

For all that, many today want something better and they’re turning to advisers for help in just the same way as an interior designer will come to your home to make suggestions and offer advice.

They approach a member of the Association of Landscapers with a view to re-arranging their new or existing garden.

Members of this association can transform a garden so if you would like a ‘proper’ garden makeover, then look up the yellow pages and get in touch with a member before spring.