know how

Land­scape de­signer Franch­esca Wat­son’s tips on how to make your gar­den work for you

Condé Nast House & Garden - - CONTENTS -

a prac­ti­cal ap­proach to large gar­dens

‘Make your plant­ing less com­pli­cated – large swathes of the same plant; less fid­dly bits with fewer species’

Keep it sim­ple Think hard about any­thing that re­quires ex­tra ef­fort. don’t throw it all out but limit the el­e­ments that need more at­ten­tion, such as mixed bor­ders of peren­ni­als. Keep th­ese el­e­ments only in high-im­pact ar­eas – maybe close to the house and ter­race. har­den your heart and sim­plify the rest.

min­imise The ef­fort Make your plant­ings less com­pli­cated – large swathes of the same plant; less fid­dly bits with fewer species. re­peat good, easy ideas that you know work in your gar­den. You may have per­fect con­di­tions for hy­drangeas, for in­stance, so ex­tend the plant­ing and com­bine it with an ev­er­green ground cover for the win­ter no-leaf times. Choose only easy, for­giv­ing plants that per­form well and you know how to keep happy. This should limit the amount of spe­cial feed­ing and pest con­trol you have to keep up with.

Know your re­sources

By this I mean time, wa­ter, labour and money. do some se­ri­ous plan­ning and tai­lor the space to suit your main­te­nance re­sources. any­thing that is too much should go and be re­placed with re­al­is­tic el­e­ments so that you can keep the gar­den look­ing its best easily.

The aes­thetic If you are se­ri­ous about sim­pli­fy­ing your gar­den, you may have to re­lax and let your pre­con­ceived ideas go in or­der to spend less time on fre­quent care and wa­ter­ing. While not en­tirely hand­ing over to na­ture (al­though this is pos­si­ble, too), if you choose plants that are suit­able to the con­di­tions of your area, they will even­tu­ally be able to look af­ter them­selves, with less of your time and in­ter­ven­tion. The more you can leave things be and live with the shag­gier, wilder ef­fect, the less ef­fort is in­volved.

fine Tun­ing Be aware when mak­ing de­ci­sions: de­cid­u­ous vs ev­er­green trees – do you have time to clean up all those leaves? are you re­ally go­ing to edge the ground cov­ers around all those step­ping stones? don’t choose a sur­face for the ter­race or around the pool that needs scrub­bing down too of­ten. how many pots do you re­ally want to hand wa­ter? You get the idea.

wa­ter a good ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem with the zones well dif­fer­en­ti­ated and drip lines where ap­pro­pri­ate will save you wa­ter and a lot of ef­fort. and you can then turn down or switch off those zones need­ing less care. Com­pli­cated wa­ter fea­tures are also a source of end­less ef­fort and frus­tra­tion – again, se­lect a well de­signed one and keep it as sim­ple as pos­si­ble. They can be as self­suf­fi­cient as a pot filled with wa­ter and a sin­gle wa­ter lily. Franch­esca Wat­son % 082 808 1287 n 8 franch­escawat­

Keep time and main­te­nance in the gar­den to a min­i­mum by re­defin­ing lawned ar­eas with hard sur­fac­ing, and lim­it­ing slightly more main­te­nance­heavy planted bor­ders to ar­eas around the home and ter­race

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