Garden Design

Plant ideas and inspiration

Plant ideas for your garden

Plant ideas and inspiration

When you’re creating or styling your garden there’s a potentially overwhelming array of plants to choose from. Thankfully there are options to suit every kind of outdoor space. At Emma Pulman Garden Design we have the expertise to help you find the right plants for your needs. For some inspiration, here are plant ideas for different kinds of gardens.

Plants for wildlife

Choosing plants that provide food and shelter for wildlife is a great way to create a garden that is teeming with life, increasing biodiversity. Some wildlife-friendly plant ideas include:

  • Herbs: Beloved by the kitchen gardener, herbs also attract and feed an array of wildlife. Perennial herbs like sage, thyme and valerian are easy to grow and produce flowers that attract bees and butterflies. These pollinators also love annual herbs such as borage or angelica.
  • Cimbers: Climbers can be excellent for cultivating wildlife as they provide shelter for butterflies, birds and bees. Many climbers also showcase beautiful flowers that bees can pollinate. Popular climbers include passion flower, wisteria and clematis, or if you’re looking for non-flowering options consider ivy and hops.
  • Pond plants: Include a pond in your garden and you’ll soon share the company of frogs, toads, newts and birds. Native plants – those found in British streams, ponds and waterways – provide a vital wildlife ecosystem. Choose a mix of oxygenating plants (that grow underwater, providing oxygen), floating plants (growing on the surface, providing shade) and marginal plants (that grow on the edges of ponds and provide shelter and attract insects).
  • Hanging baskets: If you choose the right plants, a hanging basket can tempting for bees and other pollinators. A wildlife – friendly hanging basket should be lined with plants such as lawn moss or conifer branches, that provide hiding places for insects. Then, fill with single-flowered bedding plants, like verbenas, petunias or lobularia. These plants are attractive to humans and insects alike.

Plant ideas for sun-baked gardens

Sunny, hotter gardens are great homes for a wide range of plants to give your outdoor space colour, personality and variety. Plants that thrive in these conditions tend to need less watering, which is a good choice for the environment. It’s also convenient if you’re after a lower-maintenance garden. Drought-tolerant plants that love the sun include:

  • Palms: Whilst most palms require tropical or sub-tropical conditions, some can do well – and add a touch of glamour – to warmer, dry British gardens.  These include the chusan palm, the dwarf fan palm and the Mexican blue palm. Give them the warmest spot in your garden and plenty of space, as they don’t do well with other plants competing around them.
  • Mediterranean plants: Plants native to the more arid heat of the Mediterranean are resilient, colourful and bold. Low-maintenance options are aromatic herbs like lavender and rosemary that thrive in hot, dry weather. Or for more colour, the beautiful bright hibiscus or hooded phlomis flowers are gorgeous options. If you have the space, Italian cypress trees can also be a striking addition to a more formal or Mediterranean-themed outdoor space.
  • Colourful, flowering plants: Many sun-loving plants tolerant of drier conditions have stunning, vibrant blooms to add pizzazz to your garden. These include echinacea, penstemon, beardtongue, hardy geraniums and rock roses.

Shade – loving plant ideas

It’s common to have shady spots in your garden, particularly in north or east-facing spaces. However, there are thankfully plenty of plants that can tolerate or even thrive without as much sun:

  • Bulbs: Bulbs like snowdrops, daffodils, dog’s tooth violet and lily of the valley can be excellent for shady spots. They can also add a charming woodland-like touch to your garden with their delicate drooping flowers.
  • Perennials: There is a vast array of perennials to choose from, depending on the level of shade in the area you’re populating. For deep shade, consider bear’s breech, toad lily or the geranium phaeum ‘Lily Lovell’. If you’re dealing with lighter or more dappled shade, ‘Flight of Butterflies’ siberian iris, Hosta ‘Frances Williams’ or Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ are suitable plant ideas.
  • Ferns: Used to growing on forest floors, ferns are well-suited for darker garden corners. Painted lady fern, harts tongue fern and copper shield fern are good options for damp, shady spots. For drier shade, it’s better to go with plants such as the scaly male fern, soft shield fern or the christmas fern.
  • Grasses: Many ornamental grasses thrive in low light, and also add structure and movement to your garden. They’re also easy to grow, low maintenance and available in many styles and shapes. The great wood-rush ‘Aurea’ does particularly well in light shade, or if you’re after an elegant aesthetic for for your shady spot, pheasant’s tail grass or blue fescue ‘Elijah Blue’ are good options.

If you’re looking for plant ideas or inspiration for your garden or if you’d like to find out more about our garden design services please fill out the contact form below or contact / 07889356003