Create a Garden Sanctuary

Tuesday, August 04 , 2020

Create a Garden Sanctuary

Gardens have increased in significance this year with people seeking sanctuary in their outdoor spaces. Properties with gardens are in greater demand than those without any outdoor space, adding 20-40% onto the value.  But how do you transform your garden from an average plot to something really special? Here’s our guide to creating the perfect haven in whatever outdoor space you have. From growing your own produce to a potted courtyard or large family lawn , here are some idea starters. Remember your garden is your space, so why not create something unique that makes your heart sing? There are no wrong answers so enjoy something beautiful for you to escape into.

Chilstone sundial plinth in a large flower bed,

Remember what you love!

The first thing to consider is what do you love best about your garden? Floral opulence with magnificent blooms and wonderful fragrance? Secret areas to slowly discover as you walk around your garden, like your own Wonderland? Or an extension of your living space for alfresco dining and relaxing? Whatever it is that makes your heart sing should be the focus of your garden and build your plans out from there.



Wisteria hysteria is legendary in late spring with Instagram going crazy for these climbers! With William Kent urn

Follow the sun

Before you start your transformation it’s important to spend some time sitting the garden to observe which areas receive the most sunlight. A south facing garden will be drenched in sunshine for most of the day, while a north facing garden can spend a number of hours in shade. This will have a large impact on the plants that will thrive in your garden. It’s not just about the plants, you may want to position your patio or garden bench to capture the sunshine at different times of the day. Early risers may enjoy breakfast in the sunshine in an east facing spot while a table in the west is perfect for dinner or drinks in the evening light.

A frog checks out a sundial at Chilstone.

Growing Delights

If growing is your thing then you need to maximise your flower bed space. If you have a courtyard garden or balcony you can grow vertically to show off your blooms without sacrificing precious floor space. Herbs and salad can be grown in wall mounted planters and for extra colour these can surrounded by flowering climbers.

A growing wall is an efficient use of space.

Why not add a mix of perennials like Jasmine and Clematis with annuals like Morning Glory and Thunburgia for that summer wow factor? If you have a more traditional garden with a rectangular lawn you can soften the edges by cutting in deeper beds and adding mixture of different textured plants. Who needs excess lawn when you can max out on blooms?

Flower beds don’t have to be straight. Add planters for interest and perennials with interesting heights, textures and movement. Garden designed by Kate Ball featuring Chilstone’s Harewood Jardiniere on Lion’s Feet

Build up borders with old railway sleepers brimming with rich compost. Make sure you plant it carefully with taller plants and trees at the back. Plants with height like Crocosmia and Hollyhocks, Foxgloves look great towards the back of boarders, with Nicotiana, Alliums and Dahlias in the middle and Rudbeckia, Petunias and tumbling Nasturtiums at the front. Plant Peonies in groups for fragrance and beauty, but these only flower for a few weeks so remember to consider plants for each season so you have year-round interest.


Dahlias and Foxgloves together. Group the same type of plants together for greater impact.

Raise the interest

Even if you have plenty of space, using planters on pedestals not only makes use of all the available space but it draws the eye up to create interesting floral displays at the edge of paths and hedges. They can create a dramatic entrances in pairs leading up driveways or on either side of a front door. They are also great for older gardeners who don’t like to bend for long period of time when planting. Fill them with annual blooms with different colour combinations for every season!

A well planted Tazza on a pedestal adds an elegant focal point.

Hanging baskets flower ladders or shelving can combine a mixture of materials with foliage that wraps around it in a glorious combination. The options are limitless. English country gardens are charming but not the only option. Sleek or box shaped planters can add structure and define otherwise boring corners in a courtyard garden.

Add sleek, statement planters like the Chilstone Large Semi-Sphere planter

Plant them with topiary evergreens for low maintenance style or house statement trees like Magnolias if your garden soil is not suitable for them.

Contrast the detailing on the Octagonal Gothic Jardiniere with classic topiary for timeless style.

You can even place planted urns on pedestals between formal hedging to add a pop of colour!

Make a beautiful feature with an ornate urn that contrasts with formal box hedging.

Plants for every season

It’s important to consider foliage and blooms for each month of the year.  Statues can be added to fill the gaps so your garden never lacks a focal point. Think about each season and which plants stand out the most. Whether that’s Witch Hazel in January, through to Daffodils and  spring blossom to Holly berries in December until you have a list by season.

Cascading Rambling Roses have an even greater impact with a well placed statue to draw the eye.

Don’t forget to consider autumn leaf colour, but also what will your garden look like once the leaves have dropped. Research the growing requirements and shortlist those plants that will thrive in your garden. Think about the height variation and plan your borders. You can impulse buy at the garden center once you have your seasonal base planted, but without a little thought you may have barren sections of the garden for some parts of the year. Consider the space and height needed for your plants and the growth rate. A Magnolia “Susan” grows very slowly while a Clematis Montana will smother your fence in blooms in two years!

A statement urn (Chilstone Longleat)  will look impressive all year round to compliment your planting and as it weathers it will attract lichens and moss.


Vegging Out

Vegetable plots have been on the rise for a number of years, but this year demand sky-rocketed! The seed shortage this spring shows that growing your own is firmly back in fashion. Vegetable gardens don’t have to be in traditional boxed rectangles. You can plant crops between flowing perennials and annuals to encourage bees and keep pests at bay. You can even use tactical flower additions, such as French Marigolds to help tomatoes, Nasturtiums to deter white fly and aphids, there are many other helpful planting combinations!

Some vegetable plants look amazing if you let them flower, it will reduce your yield, but bees adore the globe shaped blooms of leeks and the delicate yellow flowers on Purple Sprouting Broccoli. It’ll also creates seed to collect for next year. Sweet Peas in your vegetable garden add fragrance and colour too and butterflies love them!

If you have room for a traditional vegetable patch, that’s great, but remember that you can make the edges of your raised beds into benches to maximise space and make a double functioning feature.

Clever garden design creates a practical and usable space.

Use your imagination to pack as much into your garden as you can. Vegetables can be grown between your flowers in pots or window boxes. You don’t need acres of space. Don’t forget your front gardens. You can grow fruit trees, herbs like Bay look great in planters around front doors and crops like strawberries and blueberries can be grown in pots or hanging baskets.


Don’t get overwhelmed by too many gardening rules. It’s easy once you get started. Remember that your garden should be a place to escape into not a place of hundreds of chores. If you don’t like weeding, plant statement shrubs or ground cover like Geranium and Phlox with bulbs that will grow up between them at different times of the year.

Keep it simple and low maintenance with a stone bench that wont rot or need painting

This year more than ever, without a relaxing holiday (or perhaps now with 14 days quarantine to fill for returning sun seekers!) it’s important to find ways to counter the stresses of the world. We all know that gardening is a mood booster and aids mental well being, so transforming your garden into a place of tranquility could be an antidote to the current situation. It doesn’t have to be a major overhaul. Start small. Fill your patios with multiple planted pots or troughs around your garden furniture and benches. This offers flexibility, move things around to see what works. Use a mix of foliage and flowers to get the look you want. Add pots around your alfresco table to add that holiday feel at home.

Add climbers. pots and foliage round your patio.

Don’t forget sensory planting. Tall Gaura flowers almost dance in the breeze to soften the edges of your patio or flower beds, while Jasmine smells like Mediterranean holidays, especially in the evenings. Tropical Banana leaves, Hibiscus flowers and Bougainvillea can be planted in pots to transform your patio into a bright summer paradise that can be moved inside or to the greenhouse once the cooler weather arrives. Potted herbs can be picked fresh for cooking.

Recreate the holiday look at home. Add a chiminea or fire pit for cooler evenings.

Try paddle-sized leafed Strelitzia Nicolai around your garden corner sofa pilled high with soft cushions, Planterina style (think veranda jungle!) Or go more cottage garden with bright pots overflowing with Pelargoniums and Gazanias  (with Cyclamen and tulips in autumn and spring)  Build a trellis covered in a grape vine for some shade. You could even add hammock and some fairy lights for magical evenings and a truly holiday vibe!

Shop around for banana plants bred to be more frost tolerant or cover them with mulch and fleece before the frost. Combine your planting with hardy perennials like Rudbeckia and Coreopsis.


A water feature is the ultimate in tranquility. The soft sound of flowing water is calming, perfect for a garden retreat. Fountains come in a range of styles and sizes from free standing to wall mounted, so don’t think that your garden is too compact.  We’ve even adapted our statues and planters into fountains for our clients! Fountains look great as stand alone features or incorporated with your planting. If your fountain sits in a pond why not add Water Lilies for added colour? A fountain in your garden will encourage wildlife, from bees to dragonflies and more!


Best selling Chilstone Kew fountain surrounded by climbing roses.

With warmer summers you could go all in and build a swimming pool with lighting incorporated into your hard landscaping. Steps, balustrade, coping stones, pool surrounds and statues combine a quality finish with opulence to create a garden that dreams are made of!


Open by appointment

We are open by appointment, are friendly staff have years of experience and are happy to advise you. We have a wide range of garden ornaments from planters to fountains on display at our show gardens. For architectural and hard landscaping products we can provide free CAD drawings. What are you waiting for, your garden sanctuary awaits!

Chilstone handcraft garden pavilions and temples to order.




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