Planning a new planting scheme – some tips to help you get started

0 Written by Lisa on 5th Feb 2016 in Design Tips

Now’s a great time to be planning for what’s to come in the garden and it seems more urgent this year with the rather early appearance of some of the spring bulbs.  Even on our windy hill we have Narcissus ‘Tête-a-Tête’ in flower already and primroses too, which have virtually been flowering since Christmas.

Helenium at Hauser & Wirth Somerset Lisa Cox Garden Designs

I hope that we’re not being lulled into a false sense of what’s around the corner as, in a way, I’d just like some of those crisp bright days rather instead of the mild wetness that seems to have been the feature of the year so far.

But whatever is around the corner, spring will be with us soon enough and so it’s a great time to be working on planting plans so that you’re ready when the spring does arrive and you can get outside planting.

Here are a few things to consider if you’re planning to tackle a new planting scheme…

Know your site

Soil, aspect and drainage are the keys to getting the planting right.  You need to choose the right plant for the right place in order to create a planting scheme that will thrive. So, if you have a sunny expose site you know you’re not going to be able to grow plants that are delicate or shade-loving.  You need to choose plants that are robust enough to withstand being exposed to the elements.

Shape, texture & form

Gardeners who love plants often get tempted by the delicate qualities of individual flowers, but when I’m approaching a planting plan first off I’m thinking about the plants I’m going to use in a different way.

I tend to consider the shape, texture and structure of the plant before I think about the colour of the flowers.  So I may not even know which plants I’m going to select at the very beginning.  Once I know what job I need the plant to do then I can successfully choose a palette of plants that will do the job I need them to do.


Colour is important as it absolutely affects the way we feel about our gardens.  Rich warm oranges and reds will give a much different mood than soft yellows, creams and purples so you need to consider the overall colour effect of the planting scheme if you are to achieve a harmonious planting scheme.

If you’re mixing colours, try to choose those which have the same tone.  Thinking of the seasons will help you here.  For example, spring colours are generally warm and vibrant, think colourful swathes of spring bulbs which always look amazing together, or, if you’re more drawn to pastels, think of roses and flowers with cool muted tones and the mood you’ll create will be much calmer and serene.

Use tried and tested plants

This may be stating the obvious, but using plants that you know are robust will make for a much more successful planting scheme.  Using plants that have been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM), will stand you in good stead as it’s the RHS’s seal of approval that the plant performs reliably in the garden.

Buy some big things

Shrubs and trees will take much longer to reach maturity that herbaceous perennials so it’s always a good idea, if your budget will stretch, to invest in a few larger things from the off.  Herbaceous plants generally establish within a year or two of planting whereas trees and shrubs in some cases need up 10 years or so to make an impact.  Buying a couple of specimen-sized shrubs or trees will make an impact from the word go, so it’s worth the investment!

Dealing with sloped gardens – five things to consider before you start

2 Written by Lisa on 25th Jan 2016 in Design Tips

Surveying kit

I’ve just started working with a new client who has a small but tricky garden because it slopes quite steeply and there are two pine trees that are subject to a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). Read more

Bird feeders for the style conscious

0 Written by Lisa on 13th Jan 2016 in Garden accessories

koziol-pip-bird-feeder-green Red Candy

I’ve started feeding the birds now that it’s finally getting a bit colder.  We get so many more species than we did in Leatherhead including woodpeckers, tree creepers and even a fat pheasant who seems to have successfully avoided the fortnightly shoot so far! Read more

The importance of being inspired

6 Written by Lisa on 5th Jan 2016 in Inspiration

Pot of gold in Kilgwrrwg valley Lisa Cox Garden Designs

Happy New Year!

Pot of gold in Kilgwrrwg valley Lisa Cox Garden Designs

On this day last year, we packed up our house in Surrey and started our move to South Wales.  We shed a tear when we locked up the house, but since we moved into our new home on 7th January it’s been pretty fabulous and we love being here. Read more

Happy Christmas!

0 Written by Lisa on 18th Dec 2015 in From the drawing board

Rose hips at dawn Christmas Lisa Cox Garden Designs

This time next week most of us will be getting ready to sit down to a big feast.  I still feel as though there’s lots to get ready, but it’s all creative stuff including making a garland and doing some more baking, so not such a hardship. Read more

Blowing my own trumpet!

4 Written by Lisa on 9th Dec 2015 in From the drawing board

MSGD certificate Lisa Cox Garden Designs

I hope you’ll indulge me by allowing me to blow my own trumpet today as I have some exciting news to share with you. Read more

Make your garden festive with lighting ideas from Cox & Cox

0 Written by Lisa on 30th Nov 2015 in Garden accessories, Inspiration

outdoor light up tree tower by Cox & Cox

I’ve written about Cox & Cox before as I love their products and garden accessories. This Christmas they have some gorgeous lighting products for the garden to make it really festive. Read more

5 gardens with Christmas markets

0 Written by Lisa on 26th Nov 2015 in Inspiration

Chelsea Physic Garden Crafty Christmas Creations

Can you believe that Christmas is just four weeks away?  It always has a habit of creeping up on me and when I was in Cardiff earlier this week it seemed to be packed with shoppers already. Read more

Late autumn colour at Westonbirt Arboretum

0 Written by Lisa on 15th Nov 2015 in Inspiration

Autumn leaves at Westonbirt Lisa Cox Designs

I’ve wanted to go to Westonbirt for years and never seem to have managed to arrange a visit.  But last week I had a friend staying and because I’m now reasonably close, we decided to pay a visit. Read more

10 garden accessory ideas from Black Country Metal Work

0 Written by Lisa on 6th Nov 2015 in Garden accessories, Inspiration

Wrought Iron Kadai Fire Bowl Black Country Metal Works

I have recently been in touch with Black Country Metal Works.  They’re a family run company based in Shropshire and home to the country’s largest outdoor display of decorative metal work, as well as the county’s only interactive forge offering visitors the opportunity to learn more about the craft of metalworking. Read more

Lisa Cox Welcome

I specialise in helping families to turn their gardens into an extension of their home and into a space that can be used and enjoyed all year round.

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