London - Property websites are full of the most incredible homes. Yet even a house that manages to tick all the boxes can be spoilt by its garden. This is often because it is scruffy, boring or lacking structure, but an attractive plot can also let the side down if the style is out of kilter with the architecture.
Over the years I have seen plenty of houses that sit so awkwardly within their surroundings that I’ll never forget them. A new-build property with a classical, formal garden dotted with Italianate statues, and a seaside-inspired plot behind a chocolate-box cottage in the countryside were pretty bad. But arguably the worst of the lot was an Arts and Crafts house that overlooked a 1990s landscape.
The gorgeous late-19th Century house, with tall chimneys, a low pitched roof and exposed beams, was at odds with an expanse of decking, gravelled areas and Japanese planting scheme.
Whether you’re planning on updating an existing scheme or giving your garden a complete overhaul, it pays to think carefully about how the house and garden work together. Select plants, features or a design that suits the age, architecture or location of your home, and they will complement each other perfectly.
A period house in a rural location is the perfect candidate for a traditional cottage garden with neat lawns, twisting stone paths and beds packed with an exuberant mixture of bulbs, perennials, shrubs, roses and fruit trees. Plants are generally arranged close together and hit their peak in high summer.