Landscaping Ideas

Landscaping Ideas, Garden Themes and Construction

The annual Royal Horticultural Society flower show in the south grounds of the Royal Chelsea hospital could be the most famous flower show in the world. Of course, there is much more to see than flowers. Landscaping Construction such as paving and wall construction seemed to big a big garden theme throughout the show. Over 150,000 visitors during the 5 days, and daily prime time television coverage, it provides huge exposure for the landscape designers, plant nurseries, industry suppliers and some trending landscaping ideas.

“Space to Grow” Garden Themes

This year’s flower show featured 26 amazing garden themes and landscaping ideas, including a garden theme, “Space to Grow” gardens. This new garden theme aimed at creating landscaping ideas and inspiring gardeners to “transform their urban, compact or unusual spaces”. The Chelsea flower and garden shows off all the latest landscaping ideas, garden themes and excellently executed construction by some of the best Landscapers and Landscape designers in the world. On display there were many great ideas for small gardens.

Although, the landscaping constructions at Chelsea have an enormous budget, there are many design ideas that the average gardener can incorporate into their own garden. The eight gardens in this “Space to Grow” theme were certainly inspirational, these landscape designs would be a breath of fresh air for the Gold Coast townhouse construction companies, and the green thumbs of the Gold Coast Region.

Urban Flow Garden Designed by Tony Woods. Gold Medal and Category winner. Salvias, euphorbias, astrantias, lupins and iris are used in the garden while the leaves of the Ginkgo biloba tree cast beautiful shadows
Urban Flow Garden Designed by Tony Woods. Gold Medal and Category winner. Salvias, euphorbias, astrantias, lupins and iris where used in this garden. The leaves of the Ginkgo biloba tree cast beautiful shadows. Vertical gardens soften the walls. The outdoor eating and cooking areas are very practical for the small urban garden.
Outdood Kitchen and vertical garden
Outdood Kitchen and vertical garden – Urban Flow Garden Designed by Tony Woods.

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Landscaping Construction

These gardens are enormous accomplishes for the landscape designers, horticulturalists and the landscape construction companies. Building these gardens and creating unique structures in a number of weeks requires great skills in the landscape design and construction industry. The hardscaping elements such as paving, retaining walls from brick, block and rock, lighting, outdoor entertaining and feature ponds had no expense spared. The plant placement and planting, right down to the spread of mulch were not left to last minute either, time and care went into the presentation of these beautiful gardens.

For many of these gardens, the designers visit plant wholesalers all over Europe to hand select plants for the show. Three batches of plants are ordered to ensure flowering at the right time for the show. The cold snaps in the European spring, including the beast from the east, has made it especially difficult this year. The estimated costs of creating these gardens range from $500,000 to $1,800,000 Australian dollars.

Winner of the People's choice, a gold medal, and the category winner, Mark Gregory's "Welcome to Yorkshire" garden.
Winner of the People’s choice, a gold medal, and the category winner, Mark Gregory’s “Welcome to Yorkshire” garden.
After 30 years and 97 gardens, Mark Gregory of Landform Consultants Ltd has a well deserved win in the people's choice award
After 30 years and 97 gardens, Mark Gregory and the team from Landform Consultants Ltd have a well deserved win in the people’s choice award.

The Artisan Gardens

On a smaller scale to the Show gardens, are the Artisan Gardens. These are smaller plots showcasing the design and build skills of master craftsmen and master craftswomen. Traditional hard landscaping skills are on display in these gardens. The 2018 show featured 8 of these inspirational gardens each with an underlying theme.

"A Very English Garden" - The focal point is a dry stone half domed niche.

The Great Pavilion – Flowers and Plants from around the world

The great pavilion features stands from the best plant nurseries from Britain and around the world. There are also floristry exhibits, science and education exhibits. In the center of the pavilion, the Royal Horticultural Society had their “RHS Experience” center. This included the opportunity for visitors to get free horticulture advice from gardening experts.

Amongst the specialist plant nurseries were Hardy Eucalyptus who have been growing eucalyptus trees in the UK since 2000 and are now the UK’s largest supplier of Eucalypt trees. They have a great passion for the Gum tree, and are able to help with advice on the selection, planting and care of your eucalypt. Another plant nursery with some Australian plants was Kells Bay from the stunningly beautiful Ring of Kerry in Ireland.

Heliconia Rostrata by the Barbados Horticultural Society, a bright and stunning plant to spark any landscaping idea. A very vivid red flower.

Judging the Gardens

The gardens are judged by a panel of highly experienced judges and the medals are awarded corresponding four different levels. The Gold medal, the Silver-Gilt medal, the Silver medal and the Bronze medal. In addition to the medals, special awards are given for Best Show Garden, Best Artisan Garden, and Best “Space to Grow” garden. Show gardens are judged on the delivery of the client’s design brief. The judges consider if the imagined client would be happy with the outcome, and if the garden design objective have been met.
Additional judging criteria is as follows;

  • Design;
    • How original is the garden design?
    • Does the layout of the garden work for its supposed purpose?
  • Overall impression;
    • Is the choice of materials aesthetically pleasing and does it complement the garden?
    • Does the garden work as a whole?
  • Planting;
    • Are the plant associations shown in the garden correct according to species and cultural relevance?
    • Does the planting work together visually to create impact?
  • Construction – A superb finish and attention to detail are expected across the whole garden;
    • What standard is the build quality?

Conceptual gardens are also judged on;

  • Concept;
    • To what extent has the theme/message/concept been realised.

In addition to these awards the BBC also a people choice award for each category.

Garden Trends

The emerging trends and landscaping ideas that can been seen in these photos include rich, earthy colours such as rusty steels, walls of dry stone, rammed earth and terracotta. Sarah Price’s garden below, inspired by Monet, contains many drought tolerant plants. This is why the mediterranean look is popular with many Gold Coast landscapers. There is also the use of naturalistic concrete in various shades of grey with an almost brutalistic touch in some of the other gardens.

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kin deep garden designed by Robert Barker and built by Terraforma Landscapes. A wonderful and unique landscaping ideas
Skin deep garden designed by Robert Barker and built by Terraforma Landscapes.

In landscape construction there is also the use of natural wood colours, mixed colour plantings including blues, pinks, reds, purples and especially yellows and creams. Also prominent were vertical gardens, especially edible and herb gardens. One very common garden theme is the use of water in tranquil garden ponds, flowing streams or fountains and other water features.
These were very low maintenance gardens in that respect. Even the border hedges were not as tightly trimmed as you might expect with the typical English or European Garden design. There were many gardens with Eco-friendly landscape design ideas. The green roof below is an exceptional example. Another common theme was the use of rocks and existing land contours to create contrast and illusions in the garden.

Landscape Ideas & Design by Catherine MacDonald, the Seedlip Garden uses plants from the peas family Fabaccae. The Lupin Flower helps to attract bees.
Designed by Catherine MacDonald, the Seedlip Garden uses plants from the pea family Fabaceae, (also called Leguminosae) This includes the colourful lupin flower. Fabaceae plants strengthen and fertilize neighboring plants in the garden by capturing nitrogen. They also attract birds, bees and are an absolute must have for any English garden.

If you are planning a trip to the UK, we recommend including this flower show in your itinerary as the photographs don’t really do these gardens and landscape ideas justice. These gardens provide amazing landscaping ideas and give you great insight into the latest landscaping trends.

More information on Garden and Flower Shows

Royal Horticultural Society Shows and Events.
Construction of the rammed earth walls.
For information on the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden Landform Consultants Ltd

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