Design solutions Smarten up a small plot with topiary and hedging. Here’s an easy knot design for those who love the formal look
Smarten up a small garden with box hedging and topiary, says Dawn Isaac
QHow can I create a formal knot garden in my small suburban garden?
SINCE THEIR HEYDAY in the 16th century, knot gardens have been a favourite feature of traditional English country gardens. The key element is to create the impression that the low hedges are in fact knotted together – a horticultural trick of the eye. You can use high-contrast colours such as purple berberis and silver santolina to amplify the effect, or go for a more restrained palette with standard and variegated box as we have here. There are many other ways to give a standard knot garden a more personal stamp. For a looser and more relaxed effect, choose shrubby herbs instead of box because these tend to form a softer hedge line. The spaces inbetween the hedges also offer opportunities. Here we’ve used a rill, pool and fountain to add movement and interest, but equally, you could use different-coloured gravels and mulches to provide interest. Our knot design includes box-edged parterre beds around the edges – a fitting accompaniment to the knot garden. However, in parterres, the spaces between hedges are typically filled with seasonal flowers such as spring bulbs, roses and lavender, which brings an extra layer of interest to the design.