Garden Design, Garden styles, Uncategorized

Garden Styles

Garden Styles

When you’re designing your garden, choosing the style of your outdoor space is the first key decision to make. Then, you can identify the most suitable plants, features and furniture to bring your garden vision to life. There are many garden styles to choose from and here at Emma Pulman Garden Design we can help identify the perfect style for your tastes and space.

Contemporary Gardens

As the name suggests, contemporary gardens have a modern feel to them. Think clean minimalism, simplicity and crisp lines. This style make use of timeless materials like concrete, stone, slate and porcelain, with minimal and carefully considered planting. When it comes to plant choice, bamboo, grasses and echinacea work well. With fewer plants, this kind of garden is a great choice if you’re after an attractive but low-maintenance option.

Mediterranean Gardens 

If you want to replicate a relaxing holiday feeling all year round, this style is for you. Inspired by the hot, dry climates of Southern France, Spain and Italy, Mediterranean gardens are characterised by soft, earthy colours and fragrant, hardy plants. Here, olive trees, herbs and succulents meet gravel paths and patterned tiles to create a laid-back, inviting atmosphere. This is one of the more versatile and low-maintenance garden styles – any outdoor space can reflect a Mediterranean atmosphere.

Cottage Gardens

Garden Styles

If you dream of a romantic, colourful and informal outdoor space, the cottage garden could be for you. This traditional English garden style tends to be free-flowing with a charming profusion of plants spilling out onto narrow pathways. Flowers and bulbs nestle alongside herbs, vegetables and fruit bushes, complemented by rustic furniture and stone or brick features. Whilst a cottage garden is undeniably lovely, do bear in mind that given the profusion of plants, it can be higher-maintenance option.

Japanese Gardens 

A Japanese garden is a serene, calm space of reflection. The meticulous, harmonious design features balanced asymmetry, textural contrast and a variety of carefully placed objects and plants. Additionally, these gentle gardens often incorporate meandering pathways, stepping stones and water features with restrained planting – such as bamboo, grasses and other Japanese plants. A Japanese garden works well in a restricted space, so it can be a good option if you’re after a small but perfectly formed urban retreat.

Natural Gardens 

A natural garden puts sustainability at its core and is designed to be an effective, minimal-intervention ecosystem. Therefore, these spaces typically include a diverse mix of plants to offer food and habitat to wildlife. Accordingly, any materials are renewable and recycled and pesticides are eschewed in favour of biological controls and ecosystems. Natural garden features also include compost heaps and wild-life friendly habitats like bee hotels and ponds.

Formal Gardens

Formal gardens take inspiration from the classical architecture of Greece and Italy, and are popular in stately homes across Europe. This show-stopping style is characterised by balanced, geometric design. A core tenet of a formal garden is a central axis or pathway, which draws attention to focal points such as water features or sculptures. Then, to complement this, planting in a formal garden features lawns and clipped hedges, to help define spaces and edge borders.

Foliage Gardens 

Texture and shape are the dominant design features of a foliage garden, with contrasting plant varieties and forms chosen to give a lush, jungle look. This style casts aside hard edges and formality in favour of organic shapes, dense vegetation and winding paths. With its variety of leaf style and colours, a well-designed foliage garden will look stunning all year round.


If you want to learn more about garden styles or to find out more about our garden design services please fill out the contact form below or contact / 07889356003 


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