What's hot in the world of horticulture.....
In my life before garden design, gardening was the one hobby that could distract me from the stresses of my old job. Somehow putting my hands in the soil, and nurturing a new seed or plant, helped me to feel totally absorbed in nature.
More and more people now agree that gardening is good for the soul as well as providing gentle exercise which releases feel good hormones.
Many people I meet are keen to develop gardening skills and I love to help them and enjoy seeing them get more confident with their plants. Designing a garden for someone, which suits their needs and lifestyle, is often the first step to helping them on their gardening journey and, potentially, the first step to their well being.
And let’s not forget about climate change. Trees are great weapons against this - they absorb huge amounts of carbon dioxide and pollution and trees in cities help to keep the climate cooler too. Smaller plants are good for the environment too with many flowering species attracting birds, bees and butterflies.
So what are you waiting for? If you are keen to start gardening, but are not sure where to begin, why not start with a few raised beds? You could try growing easy vegetables or some uplifting flowering plants. I’ll add some ideas to a future blog so watch this space.
Just loving the rendering capabilities of my new software. I can now show you what your garden looks like through the seasons as well as at night!
The design process often starts with sketches of the site to explore various design possibilities but rapidly progresses to a 3D model. As a designer, I need to understand how your garden works in detail, with level changes, and 3D modelling enables me to do that.
Producing a model in 3D makes it easy for me consider the garden from all angles. I can move features such as garden seating with the click of a button! It also helps to flag design issues before any serious money is spent. So, if you are thinking of investing in your garden this year, you should be thinking of a 3D garden design and, if you are doing that, why wouldn't you want to use the latest modelling techniques to make the design as visually accurate as possible?
I usually spend some time discussing the plants and colours my clients like right at the outset of a new job. Invariably, conversation turns to providing year-round interest.
What does year-round interest actually mean and how easy is it to achieve a garden for all seasons? If there is space, it is good to include plants which flower/have berries/fantastic foliage at different times of the year (and also into winter) to extend the interest. Bulbs are also great for providing early spring colour in February and March when other plants are only just starting to wake up. However, a garden which has just one or two plants flowering at any time would be dull. So, it is also important to plan for a border to have enough plants which flower at the same time to have a proper dramatic effect. That is the basic formula for success but we are just getting started on the process.
When I begin drawing up a planting plan I analyse the soil for pH and texture. I assess the surroundings for sun, wind and shade. Then there is the question of style. Would a particular planting style suit the garden design I have in mind more than any other? Do I need the plants to perform a function? Are they there to provide scent? Do they look good in death? Then we are back to the client’s favourite colours and, of course, the colours they don’t like are equally important.
The planting of a garden is never an after thought at Jo Manfredi-Hamer Garden Design. If you would like to achieve year-round interest in your garden you can contact me to make an appointment to see your garden and I can take it from there.
One of the questions I am often asked is whether I can see through the clutter of an outdated garden and bring out its potential. The answer is “of course” as that is what I am trained to do and is actually what I love best about my job.
I won’t assume that we have to remove everything but neither will I assume that everything stays. Often cost is an important factor but it is not the only factor. Some existing features (say, a tree) might be important to retain whilst others (like old sheds in a prime position) might have to go. It is all part of the design process and it is one I am more than happy to lead on and guide you through. In addition, because I 3D model your garden you will easily be able to see what your new space will look like and, having seen it, if you wish to change it, that’s easy to do.
Let me transform your garden for you and make it a space you can enjoy. I have experience redesigning all sizes of gardens from new builds to larger country gardens.
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Jo Manfredi-Hamer is open for business and operating within Covid-19 restrictions.
We are conducting initial consultations outdoors whilst maintaining a 2 metre distance. Alternatively, initial consultations can be carried out on Whatsapp or via Zoom, with or without a follow up visit to the garden. Surveys are carried out on our own in the garden and designs can be presented via Zoom/Whatsapp or in the garden.
Planting plans can be provided entirely remotely if dimensions of a bed or border are provided and we can help you to test your soil. Spring is one of the best times to get planting so don't delay as it is just around the corner!
Landscapers are incredibly busy so, if you would like a new improved garden space for 2021, contact us today.
Testing soil for PH and to find out its structure is crucial to any planting scheme.
Many plants that would thrive in acidic soil would struggle in alkaline and vice versa.
It is also important to know whether your soil is clay, sandy or loamy in structure. Some plants love the high moisture content of clay soils whilst others need free draining conditions to succeed.
Knowing the type of soil you have will help to inform what sort of design scheme would suit the site. There is no point dreaming of a Mediterranean scheme if your site is wet in winter and slow to dry out in spring.
Jo Manfredi-Hamer Garden Design will always do a soil test and assess the light and shade in different parts of your garden. Only then will a planting plan be prepared.
Many people don't realise that the autumn and winter months are great times to plan a new garden for the following spring/summer.
You can take your time to really think about what you want to do in your garden next year and discuss your ideas leisurely with your garden designer. Then, when you've got a plan, they can seek quotes from trusted landscapers who will then be able to book you in to their busy schedules next year.
Often clients do not come to me until late spring but they then find themselves in a queue for good landscapers and, before you know it, the summer is passing by. So, whilst you may be stuck indoors unexpectedly more often over the next few months, why not use that time to think about increasing the value of your outside space.
I am permitted to work outdoors during lockdown where necessary to carry out a survey on my own and can work completely remotely to you. We just need to be able to discuss your needs and wants and that can be done on WhatsApp or Zoom or even on the telephone.
We are open for business and observing Government guidance on working outdoors. Initial consultations can be conducted outdoors whilst observing the 2 metre distancing rule. This does not prevent normal business and subsequent surveys etc.
If you are shielding and do not wish to meet we can take instructions over the telephone or via email, WhatsApp or Zoom.
We hope all our clients are keeping safe and enjoying their gardens at this very difficult time.
In these strange times during lockdown Jo Manfredi-Hamer Garden Design can still offer garden design services online. There is no need to visit you and potentially increase risk of infection.
Everything can be done via whichever online services suit you best or even by telephone and email!
I always drew up my 3D designs by computer anyway.
Let's stay in, stay safe and stay gardening! (And protect the NHS)
In the never ending uncertainty that is BREXIT I have found that people are not wishing to risk their finances by moving house. Instead, it seems the trend is to invest in what you have already which means that people are extending their houses and investing in making their homes more valuable.
Adding a great front and back garden is a really savvy way to add value to your home so now is a great time to consider that.
I also have been inundated with requests to visit houses in the process of renovation and I have learnt some key wisdom which you might bear in mind when renovating: