Lush Designs of the English Garden

Six ways to transform your garden into the English countryside.

Christina Symons gives some insight into all things English in the garden

The garden scene in the United Kingdom is as lush as it is legendary. Jump at any chance to take a garden trek through the rolling hills of the English countryside, especially in the southwest. A venerable Eden on earth, many of the grandest gardens in Devon and Cornwall were once private estates and manors. Now the grounds are open to the public, offering a wealth of garden wisdom and inspiration. On a recent tour, we learned some valuable lessons.

Lesson 1: Underplanting trees

heritage trees in english gardens
Heritage trees are revered in English gardens, almost as much as the diminutive spring Hyacinthoides, commonly known as bluebells, grown underneath them. The effect is most dramatic when the bulbs are planted en masse.

Lesson 2: Hedges and walls

english gardens use hedges as design features
Never an afterthought, hedges and walls are utilized brilliantly as major design features
throughout the U.K.

Lesson 3: Focal Point

Stone features are focal points in english gardens
Restraint is the key to creating a strong focal point. One or two key features only, if you please.

Lesson 4: The English rose

heritage blooms are seen in contemporary english gardens
The English are not as obsessed with roses as we think. More popular mainstays are heritage blooms, such as Crataegus (hawthorn, above), and more contemporary selections, such as Cistus (rock rose).

Lesson 5: Architectural antiques

Garden antiques and pots are used in outdoor spaces
Garden antiques, including urns or architectural elements add a sense of history to outdoor spaces. Make new pots look ancient with milk paint or mossy accents.

Lesson 6: Make the most of small spaces

layering plant textures to create an english countryside landscape
English garden style makes the most of tight spaces by layering. Carefully tailor plant textures, colours and heights to add allure throughout your landscape.


More on English gardens:

Make your own wattle fences
Some of the best gardens the U.K. has to offer


Style series: Garden designs of the world

Aesthetic elements of the Japanese garden

A touch of Italy in the garden

French flair in the garden