Design Tips

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!

Most of the clients I work with ask for plants that have muted pastel tones and I wonder if that’s because they’re a little scared of the prospect of something a little bolder?

Loseley Park Rose 1

Loseley House Garden May 2011

Summer as a season is all about muted and cool colours in nature, but as much as my clients yearn for the calmness of a colour palette with soft blues, creams and whites, they can usually appreciate the warm and vibrant tones that show themselves in the autumn and they tend to love the bright zingy colours of the spring bulbs.

Spring crocus at RHS Garden Wisley Lisa Cox Designs

Using different colours in the garden is all about getting the tone right.  So you can use orange and yellow and red together as long as they have the same tone. After all, Autumn is all about those colours, especially on a bright sunny day when the leaves are aglow.

Autumn Acer

In the summer these colours will manifest themselves as pinks, creams and peachy oranges and they work harmoniously together because they all have the same soft cool tone.

Sisyrinchium striatum & Lavander - Leatherhead front garden by Lisa Cox

Winter by contrast is stark and the colours are bold, but they’re also cool – whites, reds and greens that shine out in the winter sunlight.  Think holly and the bark of silver birch or the red stems of cornus.

Winter Garden at Sir Harold Hillier Garden

So I ask you, do you really only want soft creams and blues in your garden or are you willing to be a bit bolder and introduce a bit more warmth and vibrancy?  There’s no reason why your garden has to stay the same all year round either – think about nature and how it changes and plant accordingly.

Helenium in flower garden at loseley park

Sure, have soft creamy roses and lavender in the summer, but why not inject a bit of warmth with burnt orange heleniums or zingy spring bulbs to see you through the seasons and give you garden a bit more interest?


(Images: Lisa Cox)

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

5 trees that work hard in all seasons

0 Written by Lisa on 21st Oct 2014 in Design Tips, Plants

Autumn colours in Wales Lisa Cox Garden Designs

I love the autumn when the leaves start to turn and the colours become warm and vibrant.  This year it seems to be taking a while to get going, in fact yesterday it was a barmy 20 degrees in Surrey, but there are some signs that the trees are turning. Read more

Big flowerbeds are better

1 Written by Lisa on 2nd Sep 2014 in Design Tips

The Flower Garden at Loseley Lisa Cox Designs

Often when I’m working with clients they are concerned about turning too much of the garden over to planting.  This is especially the case when they want a low maintenance garden.  Although they often become interested, many of my clients don’t start off as very keen gardeners and the reason they want to work with a professional is because they don’t have the first clue about plants and what to do with them. Read more

Plans for small gardens – circles can be tricky beasts

0 Written by Lisa on 19th Aug 2014 in Design Tips

Cobble paving by Maggie Howarth at Gresgarth Hall

Small gardens are often more challenging to design because generally people want to fit in the same list of things they’d want if their garden was half an acre. 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