Help your mental health in 2020

As an adult we all strive day to day to make sure that we are well, but as the WHO 1948 put it; being well is not merely the absence of disease or physical illness but being in a state of mental and social well-being too.
Spending time outdoors and indeed gardening has recently been gaining interest form the medical and mental health community for its benefits on wellbeing whether that be physical, intellectual, emotional or social.
Physically gardening has a whole host of benefits. The very action of gardening burns off calories and gets your heart rate going, which in turn is good for heart health. Muscles that may not have used in a while start to strengthen and research at the University of Pennsylvania suggests that gardening aids sleep, which as is becoming more and more apparent has been shown to have lots of health benefits.
In terms of emotion and mental health, gardening has been shown to develop good self-esteem – just creating a garden brings a huge sense of achievement and therefore improving self-esteem. Research has shown that there are changes in our mental health at the physical level too – time spent gardening, after a particularly stressful task, was shown to reduce levels of cortisol (yes you know – the hormone associated with stress). Also scientists have found that by gardening or walking in the great outdoors we inhale a healthy bacteria called M.vaccae. Breathing this in causes the body to increase levels of serotonin (yes you know – the hormone associated with feeling happy).
We all feel happier and more relaxed in a space that is well ordered, surrounded by things that we love and appreciate (we often apply this to the rooms in our house). It might be time to apply that same mentality to your garden or outdoor space – get rid (or recycle) those old broken pots, sow some seeds, plant some new borders, grow some fruit, salad and vegetables, create a new seating area in your outdoor room and spend some time in the great outdoors.
A tip to get you going –  1. Take a pot, plant some peppermint and watch it grow… 2. Pick a few leaves and steep in boiling water 3. Sit back and relax with a relaxing cup of peppermint tea.
Emma and Cheryl would love to help bring you that step closer to your ‘dream garden’!
For ideas of how you could transform your outdoor space go to

Our Bespoke Planting Plans

Get Garden Ready for Less than you think!

Ok so here we are January… Christmas is rapidly becoming a fond held memory – the planning, the time spent with family and friends, the presents, the food, the drink and so on…

It is about this time that we start to plan – holidays, DIY and interior decorations projects, and certainly by far the most exciting (well for us here at Home of Gardens) – planning how to make your garden that relaxing/entertaining/party space that you keep meaning to get around to. Because, as our blog ‘How Many Rooms?’ highlighted your garden is most definitely a ‘room’ to spend time in, to make memories, to relax, to play and to have fun. But to do that it needs to be an inviting space, a space that you want to spend time in, to share with your family and friends.

Creating beautiful spaces in your garden takes time, and can be a daunting task. Many of our clients say they just don’t have that time or don’t know where to start , from choosing the right plants to understanding what will thrive in their garden environment. Many of our clients don’t want a whole garden make over but are keen to have a beautiful border to enhance their outside space, and this can be no less daunting than an entire garden!

Of course, we do offer a full Garden Design Service, which includes; visits to your home and garden, site surveys, concept diagrams, meetings with yourselves, full design (including hard and soft landscaping) and planting plans, construction and planting of the garden and information regarding aftercare. As you can appreciate the list above is pretty large and is really for people wanting a brand-new garden from scratch or a large area of garden redeveloping. But what if you already have your patio in place your borders already dug, but just don’t have the time or knowledge to choose plants best suited to that site?

Here at Home of Gardens we have the answer and it could cost a lot less than you think!

              Border Size                     

Design Cost

Upto 5 sqm

Upto 10 sqm

Upto 20 sqm

Upto 30 sqm

Upto 40 sqm






Send a brief email to and we will send you out the simple questionnaire to get your Bespoke Planting Plan underway. We will advise on  soil type, direction your garden faces and amount of sun your border is likely to get, and not forgetting; understand what style of border appeals to you.

If you prefer give us a call on 07540096234 and we can discuss our Bespoke Planting Plans, and whether this is right for you and your garden.

If you are struggling for time, lack plant knowledge then this is the package for you. If you would like your garden to be ‘Summer Ready’, then now really is the right time to start thinking about it, because as I am sure you can appreciate gardens do need a bit of time to grow!

Tweens to Teenage

I am the mother of a tween. I only heard the word tween quite recently; my daughters friend informed me that a tween was the time in between childhood and becoming a teenager.
Then quite coincidentally we had a meeting with a client who’s main aim in redesigning her garden was to encourage her tween and teenage children to spend time at home and more specifically in the garden; to create a space that would entice them in and lure them away from loitering around the streets and as us adults perceive it ‘get into trouble’!
It got me thinking about gardens. There is a whole host of information on how to develop a garden for babies, toddlers and small children – sandpits, ball pits, slide, swings, climbing frame, dens, trampoline, water play, chalk play… the list goes on. But what about when your tween/teen have grown out of all of this? A mass retreat indoors – to the screens, THE SCREENS!!! Whether it be TV, Xbox, Nintendo, PlayStation, computer, iPhone, iPad, smartphone, tablet etc, etc and if not, then sometimes congregating in groups in streets and parks where, let’s face it they may be susceptible to activities that we don’t want them to become involved in (legal or otherwise).I’m not saying that all of the above shouldn’t happen from time to time (we don’t want to mollycoddle them), but just that there could be other options right on our backdoor step.
By providing a space and putting some thought into the design of the garden, that will encourage our tweens and teens to spend more time outdoors, in our own gardens will give them the space and freedom to spend with their friends in a more familiar and closer environment.
With that in mind I have listed below some ideas that might provide that elusive teenage retreat. First up – how about creating an enclosed seating area, a private cosy nook where your tween/teen can meet and chat with their friends away from a constant watching eye. Make it comfortable with all-weather seating and provide durable cushions and blankets for when its chilly, but dry.


How about a hammock – a good place to relax, listen to music, gaze at the stars, listen to the birds (probably not at the top of a tween/teenagers list, but you never know), a place to sulk even!!  A suspended chair or swing seat could be a good option too!
Now that we have considered the seating let’s think about what we might have in our gardens for the tweens/teens to do. Here’s just a few to get you started.  Maybe a slack lining set up, pull up bar and or parallel bars (upper body exercise), skateboard practise rail and small slope, swing ball, table tennis table, volley ball net, basketball hoops.
If you are wanting to devote a little more space and dare I say it… money then how about for movie nights; an outdoor movie projector and screen with smartphone and headphones so as not to disturb the neighbours, a BBQ or Fire Pit (When they are fully old enough) or an all-weather teenage den/garden room. A place to relax and chat with friends maybe a soundproof space for the budding star!
As I’m looking back at these ideas for use in my own garden as my tween starts to progress towards the teenage years I’m beginning to think to myself – hmm I used to love Swing Ball and shooting hoops, I’d even like to have a go at slack lining, but maybe not the skateboarding!! I could certainly be enticed into a hot tub or snuggle up in a hammock or swing seat and certainly make myself at home in a ‘teenage’ den. So maybe it isn’t all just about the kids, but ideas that might appeal to us parents too. But hey let’s give the tweens/teens a go first – it just wouldn’t be cool to go ahead and join in after all the whole point was to gather ideas to create a space to engage those tweens and teens!!

From Beginning to End

It all started on a cold, snowy, Grey February day. There we were fingers so numb we could barely operate the tape measure! Toes buried in freezing, slushy snow! Ah the glamourous life of a garden designer!! Even in these conditions we were excited, as we had been asked to design and develop a beautiful, large garden, which at the time was mostly laid to an expansive lawn with fabulous mature trees (the size that you might find in a parkland) and rich, dark green hedges, providing privacy and evergreen structure.


Her vision was to have a garden that one could journey around, spy new and hidden things around corners and just out of sight, to use the space in its entirety (not just the terrace adjoining the house). After collecting measurement sand completing the ‘site survey’ I set to work on the Concept Diagrams. Any space can be used in myriad ways and this garden was no exception. Would the client choose rectilinear, diagonal, circular or a curved theme?

Our Client, a fabulous lady, talked and we listened. So after meeting number 2, a walk around the garden, laying out and visualising the different spaces and how they could work our fabulous client went for a rectilinear design. The final design would end up having a few more curves than this, but we had a layout to base the full design on.
I went away and started to think about all the elements that would go into this design; wait for it… lighting, cabling, hard landscaping, paving, building, glasshouse…and finally planting (but more of that later).

After a number of hours (I won’t mention how many). The design was set. The client had gone for a beautiful formal structure with evergreen hedges to separate the rooms. There was to be a shady lawned area closest to the existing terrace (at the top of the picture) with some planting either side. Then a central pathway leading down through the middle of the garden into the relaxing and secluded Cotswold stone chipped garden (think Parisian park).

The work began in earnest with our fabulous contractors marking out, digging out and creating the structure of the garden.

Cables went in for the electricity and lighting, the pond was dug, lined and filled and the Glasshouse structure was started.

The garden progressed from the above to starting to look like the finished article in only a few weeks. The hard landscaping went down – a beautiful pale grey stone to complement the existing wooden terrace just outside the house.

After a wonderful day at The Chelsea Flower Show with our client she went for beautiful shades of purple, whites and greens to provide a tranquil and relaxing space.
Two beautiful Acers planted in the stone chipped area they make a wonderful focal point in this space.

Then my favourite bit, the planting 100, 200, 300, 400 plants? yep you guessed it about 400 plants; all placed and planted ready to grow into their new space.








Beyond the Cotswold stone chipped areas and the perennial borders is now a large, fully stocked formal pond; reflecting light and sparkling like a jewel in the middle of this vast space. The journey then continues on through the formal hedges and opens out in to yet another ‘hidden space’ to reveal a sanctuary, a retreat, a home away from the home. A place to relax, a place to entertain, to work, to read…. The list goes on.

The journey ends up at the ‘Glass House’. A place to be used and enjoyed 24/7 and 365 days a year if the clients should so wish.

One of the contractors commented that this garden was like a mini Versailles!! I don’t know about that, but will agree, that it has certainly been a transformation, a transformation that will be enjoyed for many years to come. As the plants grow and mature our client’s vision of a journey, hidden spaces and new discoveries will continue to unfold.
The above begs the question – when will your garden transformation begin?

How Many Rooms?

So how many rooms/entertaining spaces does your house have? … 1, 2, 3, 4? Whatever your answer, you are not, quite right… Pause for thought…

Yep you’ve probably guessed that I am alluding to… The Garden, The Outdoor Space.

‘The Garden’ is often one of the least/last considered ‘rooms’ when designing the home and living space and, with the summer we have just had, here in the UK, the desire for us all to ‘live a little more’ outdoors has become ever more appealing.
Desirable or appealing?








Whatever the size and layout of the internal spaces of your home, the garden/gardens surrounding your property may be larger and have more usable space than anything inside, but even if this isn’t the case, whatever size and shape your outdoor space is, it should still serve as another all-important outdoor room.
There are myriad ways in which a garden can be designed and used; from what we all consider a ‘traditional’ garden to be; a space filled with lawn, trees and flowers to perhaps a more contemporary space with a hot tub, outdoor shower, living area, dining area, outdoor kitchen – spaces that reflect what goes on inside, but in ‘The Great Outdoors’. Or of course designs anywhere between.









How will your garden look?

So let’s take a look at some inspirational spaces and what makes them work.

If you are the kind of person who likes to get their sleeves rolled up and do some ‘pottering’ (or have a gardener) then a space filled with trees, shrubs and flowering perennials might be the garden style for you. These gardens often provide; year-round colour, scent, movement and sound in the garden. Just imagine the vivid purples, soft greens and sparkling whites catching your eye as you sit on your terrace sipping your favourite tipple (mines a G&T!), scent wafting around on a summers evening, grasses and wiry stemmed flowers gently swaying about in the breeze or the rustling of autumnal leaves on a crisp, blue sky day.
















Or how about…
A more contemporary space. Still some planting to provide colour and shape, but much lower on the maintenance front! The cosy fireplace and outdoor sofas and coffee table certainly make this space feel like an outdoor room; perfect for a morning coffee and the papers/magazines or a glass of something in the evening. The fire casting warmth and light around ‘the room’.

If evening entertaining is your thing then a well-lit garden should be considered to create that party vibe. Up lighters, down lighters, spike lights, posts… the list is long when trying to choose lights to suit your style!

Alfresco dining anyone? Of course, there is the good old BBQ (Which I love), but have you ever considered a full kitchen? Sink, storage cupboards, hotplate, stove etc – save running in and out of the house on long sunny weekend afternoons with friends and family. For those of you who love Italian why not a pizza oven! You could even cook the Sunday joint in one of these!

If you (or your family and friends) are water babies, then how about a quick dip. There is of course the outdoor swimming pool for those of you who might be looking to get in the daily laps. Or with a more natural feel a swimming pond; beautiful to look at and to swim in. If it’s a warm bubbly hug with a glass of something, at the end of a busy day then a sunken hot tub might be your thing.

Last but not least and for year-round use how about an actual garden room; an escape, a sanctuary, a party space, a hobby room or an office. Your outdoor space could be whatever you want it to be.

A well-designed garden will not only provide you benefit and pleasure when spending time out in it, but if well considered will provide that same benefit and pleasure when viewed from inside the house – indeed bringing the outdoors in and the indoors out, creating a home that flows well throughout both your internal and external space.

With the RHS and the NHS promoting the health benefits of spending time outdoors it might be time to get planning!