Having shared part one of our Question & Answer feature with Professional Garden Designer, blogger and RHS exhibitor Lisa Cox last week, today we reveal part 2 of our interview. Packed with invaluable advice regarding low-maintenance gardens, outdoor trends and contemporary designs, it has never been easier to create the perfect extension to your home with Lisa's expert tips.
3. How do you expect garden trends to evolve in the future?
Fashions change whatever the industry, but in the garden it tends to take a while to get going and feed out to the masses. For example, outdoor lounge furniture is now seen everywhere – ten years ago, this would have been something we saw on holiday, rather than in our own back gardens.
I do believe that we are only just scratching the surface with sustainable design and that construction techniques and design will only get better, making it easier and cheaper to create sustainable gardens to last long term.
There is certainly more interest and understanding that gardens enhance wellbeing and also provide an extra living space. I’d love to see more people falling in love with their gardens so that they’re valued living areas rather than spaces that are considered as an afterthought.
4. What are the best ways to create a timeless garden that won’t date?
Gardens should be designed so that they fit with the architecture of the house and the surrounding environment, but they should also connect to the owners. There will be some things that go out of fashion of course (crazy paving springs to mind!) but essentially a garden should be uplifting and inspiring to its owners.
If the backbone of the garden feels right for the setting then it’s always possible to update and change the planting or replace the furniture for something different. It’s the same inside the house, everyone wants to put their own stamp on things, but it’s not always about knocking down walls and building extensions…sometimes it’s just about choosing a new paint colour for the walls.
Lisa's designs compliment the architecture of the house and the surrounding environment to create an inviting outside space.
5. For those with busy lifestyles, what are your top tips for a low maintenance outside space?
Most clients I work with want a low maintenance garden. Choosing a mixture of shrubs and perennials will help to keep the maintenance down but gardens are living things and will need some love and care if they are to stay beautiful over time. Lawns are one of the cheapest garden elements but they’re also the most time intensive in terms of maintenance because you have to do something to them at least once a week in the summer.
Gardens don’t have to be high maintenance – choose the right materials and plants and you may need to spend only a few days a year keeping things in check. But remember that sweeping the terrace once a month or clearing up the leaves is no different that vacuuming or dusting the house. In fact they need to be done less frequently – all gardens will take a bit of effort.
If you create a garden that inspires you then you’ll want to be outside. I have clients who never had an interest in their garden until they decided to make it look better – now they love to be out there pottering!
Lisa recommends shrubs and perennials for those seeking a low maintenanceâ€‹ garden, as featured on last week's style post.