Design Tips

Working with curves

0 Written by Lisa on 27th Jan 2017 in Design Tips

I’ve been drawing the design for a large garden in Hurley this week and it involved rather a huge chunk of time working out where all the radius points of my free-hand curves were.

You may ask why I need to spend time doing that, but without knowing the exact location, the landscaper won’t have a hope of being able to set out the design on the ground.

Curves can be tricky beasts to work with, but in large informal gardens you wouldn’t really imagine anything different so it’s really helpful to know some of the rules before you get started.

When I’m starting any design I lay a piece of tracing paper over the survey. This allows me to get a real sense of the space and how the garden connects to the house and the areas immediately surrounding it.

There’s something about the connection between brain, hand, pencil and paper that really allows you to get a sense of the space and the way it flows so if I ever get around to moving over to using CAD, I’ll always go through this process first.

When I work with curves I move the pencil a lot, creating arcs that feel right within the boundaries of the garden.  It’s always easier to use them in large gardens because they have the space to breathe.  In smaller gardens it can often be tricky sometimes to keep them comfortably within the confines of the space.  Somehow they just don’t feel as comfortable to work with.

When you design a garden you have to trust the paper.  If it feels right on paper, it will feel right on the ground, but remember that you won’t be looking at your garden from above so the perspective of a curve may feel very different when you’re looking at it head on.

A true circle on plan for example will look elliptical as you stand and look at it so you may have to adjust the shapes in order for it to look how you intended it to from a three dimensional point of view.

Circles and squares can be tricky to marry up too, often better kept separate and linked in an elegant way.  The most important thing in this situation is to ensure that any linking spaces run into the radius point of the curve.  This will ensure that the connection is comfortable and balanced and you won’t be left with any awkward angles in the adjacent planting beds.

Why are gardens forgotten in house renovation projects?

0 Written by Lisa on 25th Feb 2016 in Design Tips


Have you been watching the BBC2 programme The £100k House – Tricks of the Trade?  I love it! It’s so inspiring to see what people do to their homes with modest and sometimes really small budgets. We’re certainly getting some great ideas for our own house. Read more

Protecting our precious trees

0 Written by Lisa on 12th Feb 2016 in Design Tips, Plants

Oak tree from the wood floor taken with wide angle lense by Lisa Cox

I’m currently working on a project where we have few trees on site that are subject to a Tree Protection Order (TPO).  Obviously I need to be absolutely sure that I create the new garden in a way that will ensure that the trees aren’t damaged so I’ve been taking advice from a professional arborist to ensure that we’re doing things right. Read more

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

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

Helenium at Hauser & Wirth Somerset Lisa Cox Garden Designs

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. Read more

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

It’s bulb planting time!

0 Written by Lisa on 1st Oct 2015 in Design Tips, Plants

Golden narcissus at RHS Garden Wisley Lisa Cox

I’ve just returned from Surrey after 5 long days planting my project in Weybridge.  No photos yet I’m afraid as it wasn’t looking very photogenic without the lawn and with the protective boards down on the terrace.  But I’ll be popping back at the end of October armed with my camera so I’ll share the pictures with you as soon as I can. Read more

The importance of creating focal points

5 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. Read more

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

4 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

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.

read more >

Sign up to the Newsletter
Thank you for signing up.
Let me create the Right Garden For you click here >
Find me elsewhere

Websites by Flourish, Guildford, Surrey