Colm Joseph low maintenance planting design Evening Standard London small garden.jpg

Planting design ideas, evening Standard Feature

18 OCTOBER 2018

Colm Joseph Landscape + Garden Design was featured in the Evening Standard’s Homes & Property this week, offering low maintenance planting design ideas for a small London garden. Read the full article here

Homes & Property writer Ruth Bloomfield has just finished adding a rear extension to her north London home. Expanding her kitchen and living space has reduced her south-facing garden to 21ft by 10ft. Homes & Property invited Colm Joseph to propose some planting ideas for a small garden with high impact but low maintenance planting design.

Our proposed planting embraces seasonal change and creates a sense of the natural and wild. It is simple and bold, delivering strong visual impact with low-maintenance plants. Two multi-stem crab apple trees (Malus ‘Evereste’) are added to the existing pear tree to bring height and structure through the year. These fruit trees offer delicate, fragrant blossom in spring, followed by fruit and fiery colour in autumn. The boundary fence is softened with the evergreen star jasmine, Trachelospermum jasminoides, which also produces delicate, fragrant white flower and rich autumnal colour. 

The perimeter beds are planted with a simple, bold combination of Korean feather reed grass, Calamagrostis brachytricha, and perennials including Gaura lindheimeri and Symphyotrichum novae-angliae' Mrs S.T. Wright' to create a soft, inviting atmosphere around the dining terrace. This billowing, airy planting provides texture, colour and movement throughout summer and autumn, with the ornamental grass retaining its structure deep into winter.  

Flowering bulbs can be used to create an evolving display in late winter and spring, before the ornamental grass and perennials get going in summer. The bulb planting should also be simple, bold and elegant. A mass of snowdrops (e.g. Galanthus ‘Blewbury’ or ‘Straffan’) followed by white daffodils (e.g. Narcissus ‘Petrel’) will create an elegant display in late winter and spring, complementing the blossom of the fruit trees. Transitioning into early summer, Camassia (e.g. Camassia leichtlinii subsp. suksdorfii and Camassia 'Blue Heaven') and Allium sphaerocephalon will form a striking display of white, pale blue and claret hues, before the main perennial and ornamental grass planting takes over.

This contemporary planting offers exciting ideas for a small garden. These ideas create a low maintenance courtyard garden that still provides a close connection to the changing seasons.