Design Tips

The importance of creating focal points

3 Written by Lisa on 17th Aug 2015 in Design Tips

Bench in Homebase Garden RHS Chelsea 2014 Lisa Cox Designs

However large of small your garden is, introducing deliberate focal points will help to create a journey around your garden.

You want any focal points in your garden to be attractive and uplifting.  Rotary washing lines and trampolines are not part of this list, but they can demand your attention if they’re positioned in view.

Tom Stogdon Sculpture in M&G Garden RHS 2015 Chelsea Flower Show Lisa Cox

I have a thing about washing lines and I’m really strict about putting ours away when it’s not being used.  Apart from the fact that they’re far from attractive, they tend to be placed in the middle of the lawn so when you gaze through the window, they block off what’s beyond even if there’s no washing handing out.

Prestige vase by Poterie le Chene Vert

When I’m tackling a new design for a garden I always think about key viewing points, from the kitchen window for example.  You want your garden to look good, but you also want it to invite you outside.  Focal points will help to do this.

wild summer garden Lisa Cox Garden Designs

Benches make great focal points as they really do lure you outside.  Equally, something like a bistro table and chairs set beneath a tree will do the same job.  It doesn’t even have to be fully visible, but it does need to give enough of an impression to make you want to go outside and take a closer look.

Grandpa's bench by RozSheffield Flickr image

But focal points can be anything.  If you’re clever, you can use them to create a journey around the garden, one focal point leading you on to the next.  They keep the garden interesting.  So, for example, you may get to the bench at the end of the garden and find a sculpture hidden in the planting that can only be seen when you’re sitting on the bench.

Majestic oak tree in Surrey hills Lisa Cox Garden Designs

You could have a garden mirror mounted on a wall with climbers scrambling all around it.  Or, it could be as simple as a beautiful tree with amazing bark or fabulous foliage.  The oak tree above is out in the landscape, but hopefully you get the idea.  In fact, borrowing things in the landscape can be a neat trick too.

The possibilities are endless, but the results will be the same.  Your garden will not only look amazing but it will also speak to you too!



Fences won’t work for a windy site

0 Written by Lisa on 28th Jul 2015 in Design Tips

Elder in flower Lisa Cox Garden Designs

What you can always guarantee when you live high up on a hill is a breeze.  A couple of weeks ago when the sun was blazing hot we certainly welcomed it, but on other days it can make things a little chilly. Read more

Softening the edges in small gardens

2 Written by Lisa on 6th Jul 2015 in Design Tips

Grass mounds Hauser Wirth Somerset Lisa Cox Garden Designs

Using curves in small spaces can be a challenge as often there just isn’t the space to allow the curve to be what it is. Read more

Planting – getting the colour tone right

0 Written by Lisa on 12th Jun 2015 in Design Tips, Plants

RHS Flower Show Cardiff 2015 Lisa Cox A Front Garden for Victoria Park Mazda

When I designed the garden at RHS Flower Show Cardiff I really thought the crowd would be divided about the planting because of the warm and vibrant colours.  But I couldn’t have been more wrong, everyone seemed to love it! Read more

Some golden rules when choosing your paving

2 Written by Lisa on 25th Feb 2015 in Design Tips

New terrace East Horsley Garden Design Lisa Cox

I went to Southampton for a meeting about RHS Cardiff yesterday and one of the main things to decide were the hard landscaping materials.  It’s so important when you’re choosing your materials that you check they work well together, and are in keeping with whatever materials are already on site otherwise you could be looking out onto a garden that makes you cringe! Read more

Looking beyond your boundaries

0 Written by Lisa on 16th Feb 2015 in Design Tips

Majestic oak tree in Surrey hills Lisa Cox Garden Designs

Borrowing the landscape is a garden design trick of old.  Even if you’re not lucky enough to have a great view, it doesn’t mean that you can’t borrow some of the features from the neighbouring landscape. Read more

Do you really know your garden?

2 Written by Lisa on 27th Jan 2015 in Design Tips

Snowdrops Lisa Cox Garden Designs

We ventured out into the garden yesterday to do a bit of clearing up. The house had been empty for almost a year before we moved in and before that was rented out for a few years so the garden has really been left to its own devices. Read more

Tackling really small gardens

0 Written by Lisa on 25th Nov 2014 in Design Tips

Bletchingley courtyard sketch Lisa Cox Garden Designs

I’ve just been working on the designs for a client in Richmond who has the tiniest of gardens, just 25m2 to be precise.  Spaces this small can often be more challenging to design because it’s every square inch counts. Read more

The power of yellow…do you love to hate it?

0 Written by Lisa on 4th Nov 2014 in Design Tips, Plants

Yellow day lilies at Loseley Park hemerocallis

When I first start to talk to clients about plants, the majority of people say that they don’t want any yellow.  From experience what they actually mean is that there’s a particular plant with a particular tone of yellow that they don’t like or want in the garden. Read more

The best gardening gloves in town

1 Written by Lisa on 24th Oct 2014 in Design Tips


I’ve recently ordered a new box of Atlas gardening gloves and it wasn’t until I was placing the order that I realised the last batch lasted me 5 years!  I was first introduced to them when I worked with Garden Designer, Fiona Stephenson, and I’ve used them ever since. 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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