1. Don't rip everything out

Don’t rip everything out and start with a blank canvas. Personally, I think it’s the worst thing that you can do. Stripping the garden bare will take the personality out of it, and it’s also going to take you a lot of time and a lot of money to establish new plants and a garden. So it might just be a case of giving things a good prune or tidying them up a little bit, cutting them back to make more space.

When you get a new garden, live with it for at least one season if you possibly can. And then look at what flowers each month, what bulbs come up and what can be done with the existing plants and work backwards from that.

2. Views & garden lighting

My second tip would be to consider the views from inside the house. So in the UK, we spend a lot of time sitting indoors in the winter. By adding some garden lighting, you can create a whole other atmosphere and look for the garden.

Keep garden lighting subtle, only illuminate key features of plants or trees that are interesting and attractive, and never illuminate humans because then you have completely killed the vibe. And by adding to the garden, whether you are indoors or out, you’ve got an interesting space. 12 months of the year.

3. Follow the sunshine

My third top tip for garden design would be to consider where the sun is in your garden. So whether you’re a sun worshipper or not, it’s important to look at where the sun changes, not just through the day, but throughout the year. Don’t just focus on creating a sunny area where the sun is at the optimum time. Consider what your lifestyle is. Study where the sun goes. Don’t be held to it just because you think that’s the best place to sit.

If you’re a plant lover, give your plants lots of sun. If you’re a sun worshipper, make sure that you can move a lounger around or move seating around to appreciate the sun throughout the whole day.

4. Embrace plants

My fourth tip for great garden design would be to include as much planting and greenery as possible. Don’t be afraid of plants. Choosing the wrong plants might mean that you have in the past got some monstrous beasts that have taken over the space or died within the first week, but don’t let that scare you off!

You can get lots of advice either from a garden designer or through websites such as the RHS. Fill your garden with greenery, make it really feel like a true garden, and don’t just make it feel like a backyard full of synthetic surfaces and paving.

5. Live & cook outdoors

My top tip number five would be to create a space where you can truly live outdoors. And for me, that means having the kitchen in the garden, and cooking outside. I personally live in my garden as much as I can, and that doesn’t mean mowing the grass or weeding the borders. That means appreciating nature and sitting outside and in the warm and cooler temperatures, being able to cook and enjoy dinner outside with family and friends.

Who is Tony Woods

Tony has a diverse background in the garden and landscape industry from plant production to design. He founded Garden Club London in 2012 and has worked hard to put the company firmly on the garden design map as one of the leading urban design studios in the UK.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gold medal winner, Author and passionate horticulturist, it is Tony’s job to create the company’s garden design concepts and develop planting schemes with his expert eye for detail and creating a sense of atmosphere in a garden. Tony is a fully registered member of the Society of Garden Designers and an accredited BALI Designer.

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