This time last year, I had just returned from a family Christmas in South Africa. I had wandered round vineyards, explored botanical gardens and generally lounged outside and in the pool. It was a truly magical time.
Although I always shed a tear or two at the end of big holidays (I know, I don’t think I ever really grew up), I’m so lucky to come back to a home I love. Last year however, my garden was a very different story. After a holiday of bright sunlight and colour, the return to my grey, dead garden made me feel sad.
Now, I know gardens don’t look their best during the Winter. But I’m not just talking about a garden out-of-bloom and bedded down for the season. I’m ashamed to say it, but it verged on actual neglect.
I’m a designer. I also like a challenge; to give things a go. But with a crazy busy start to the year, and not a green finger or toe on my body, the garden was a step too far. That’s when I got garden designer Melissa Morton on-board, and boy am I glad I did!
Not only was this the start of Project Garden Revamp, but the start of a discussion about design both inside and out, and how to ensure consistency between the two. It was also the start of our #colourconversation (a series of collaborative blog posts on colour).
I have a large sash window in my dining room which looks out over the garden. I confess, I had been known to leave the roman blind down so that visitors couldn’t see drab space (and decaying plants) outside. It’s amazing how the external space can impact on your enjoyment (or not) of your interior space.
One thing I love doing in rooms, is using a dark background against which I contrast more vibrant colour. My dining room is painted with Farrow & Ball Down Pipe and I play with a palette of more vibrant yellows and pinks against this. During our consultation, the first thing Melissa suggested doing was to paint the fence a dark grey to match the dining room walls. A simple idea but one which had never crossed my mind (even though I’ll happily paint any wall inside dark). Yet the result is transformative. It gives the whole space a more contemporary feel and provides a fabulous background against which the greens come alive, and other colours have a real vibrancy.
In order to develop this consistency we chose a colour palette for the planting which echoed my dining room scheme. A spectrum of pinks, accents of yellows as well as some whites to add balance. Clearly there’s more to garden design than colour choices (just as there’s more to interior design than choosing your wall colours) but even some simple changes and an eye to consistency between inside and out really helps create a more refined scheme.
As an Interior Designer I get to style up my finished rooms straightaway and show you the results. Melissa needs to be more patient (as I am learning to be) for nature to do it’s thing; for plants to flower and mature. With my now green-ish fingers, I’ll be sharing some shots of the colours in my garden as they emerge. And with Spring just around the corner (fingers crossed!) hopefully that won’t be too long now.
Keep an eye out and do join our #colourconversation. We’d love to hear how you enjoy incorporating colour in your homes and gardens.