Six on Saturday: Garden survey

This week I started a three month Garden Design Diploma at the English Gardening School based at the Chelsea Physic Garden, an oasis of calm in the city. The course involves surveying and designing for a project garden and one of the first things we have to do is take plenty of pictures as a visual aid. So I thought I would practice today by photographing my own garden. Usual apologies apply, garden is a mess, I have been busy etc etc

I am delighted as ever to be joining in with The Propagator who encourages us to feature six things from our garden each week – a very useful tool for documenting its progress over the year.

  1. View from the house

The advice in our course textbook (The Essential Garden Design Handbook by Rosemary Alexander and Rachel Myers) is to start by standing looking out from the house and then take photos from 180 degrees before doing the same looking back at the house. From our French windows we can see the curved herbaceous border which is need of a good tidy as well as our curved steps. I would like one day to replace this whole terrace with limestone paving and get rid of the curve, but apparently they are very expensive to put in, so I am in two minds.

2. View from the steps

As our garden is on at least three different levels I have paused half way up at the top of the first set of steps and the bottom of the stepped terrace to look around. As you can see our lawn is in dire straits, not helped by the massive trampoline and I am thinking of getting the experts in to help sort it out in Spring. Our terraces are, er, interesting, but there is rather too much of them and hopefully once I have completed my course I will have some ideas for revamping this area.

3. Play area

In Spring I plan to give this area a good trim and make it a more attractive place for the kids to play with bunting and outdoor cushions.

4. Top terrace

Lots of work to be done here to turn this into a dreamy Mediterranean terrace and herb garden. Maybe one day we will turn the shed into a studio… one can dream!

5. Looking back to the house

This is a view I don’t often think about, so it is interesting to look from this perspective. The terrace gets rather dank being at the bottom of a north-facing garden, so I hope that one day we can extend the back of the house like our neighbours have done and replace it with something that is more of an outside room.

6. Front garden

Again, lots of work to be done here. I did a bit of trimming back in the sunshine today, can you tell? I am looking forward to next-door’s building work coming to a close sometime in 2020 (they have spent 12 months building a path!) Am wondering whether to replace the bark chips or go for something a bit more permanent like gravel or slate chips between the raised beds.

Sorry, total cheat, that was more like 29 on Saturday. Will revisit in June to see what progress has been made. If I include a picture of the first snowdrops coming into flower as my cover, that makes it 30 on Saturday. Back to six next time, I promise.

16 Comments Add yours

  1. How exciting that you’re doing a design course and I’ve enjoyed seeing pics of your garden. I’m not always brave enough to pull the lens back and do some wider shots so bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. fredgardener says:

    Well done for getting started with Garden Design lessons. Observing your own garden and modifying it is always interesting. Now you have another look and it will be useful. From what I read today, you have a lot of projects and things to do in the spring … or / and in the summer …

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Similarly, what an exciting course. Any design course years ago would have been helpful for me, as you can tell from my structure featured this week. I learn by my mistakes, so I learn a lot!! When I was teaching, the items I saw which had been designed and made. by the students doing Design and Technology were very impressive. I don’t know whether my Maths lessons were quite as impressive? 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Heyjude says:

    6 different areas is fine, I don’t think the Prop is too fussy about the number of images. I often use more than 6 photos and it is really interesting to see the wider views of people’s gardens instead of just the flowers. You seem to have quite a difficult plot there with all the levels so it must be a lot of work. Good luck with the Design Diploma, that will be interesting and fun too. Do you actually go to the Physic Garden to do the course? Now that must be a lovely garden. If you do you must do a post about it. I look forward to seeing how the course alters your ideas about your garden.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I do go to the Physic Garden. Such a wonderful place – I’m sure it will inspire a post or two. Their snowdrops are just coming out which I am very excited by.


      1. Heyjude says:

        Lucky you! I hadn’t realised you live in London or close to.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. East Sussex – it’s an hour by train which comes into Victoria then it’s only a 20 minute walk to the Physic Garden.


  5. Keith says:

    Good luck with the course. I think it must be hard to look at your own garden impartially and to see it as others would. We all spend so much time looking at our own space that it is hard to be completely detached from it. I know what it is like gardening on many levels – a blessing and a curse. It automatically gives you more depth and you can appreciate a wider variety of plants at eye levels. But it is a right nuisance for getting a wheelbarrow around!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Looks like a great process for thinking through your garden.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a wonderful garden you have. Look forward to more information on how the design course turns out.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lora Hughes says:

    As I looked at the photos, I kept thinking, o that’s so great & then you’d write about how awful it was, then I’d look at the next photo & think that’s a really interesting use of space & you’d go, this really sucks, how have we ever lived here with this monstrosity for so long? So while your garden looks fine to me, you must feel like a change & what a good opportunity to learn about design & get what you want from your space. Shall we agree the snow drops are beautiful?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha. We all see the faults in ourselves and our gardens and forget about the good bits! Snowdrops are always lovely.


  9. Enjoy your Diploma ! I studied Landscape Architecture over twenty years ago, it was fascinating, I am sure your diploma will be too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It is inspiring already.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. tonytomeo says:

    I am sorry I missed all 29 two and a half weeks ago. I had to skip ahead to February 5. At the rate I was going, you would have been done with your projects long before I read about you starting them.


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