35 Comments
Apr 13, 2023Liked by Jo Thompson

Hahaha and yes DFDS 🙅🏼‍♀️

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I'm glad you get it!

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Apr 13, 2023Liked by Jo Thompson

So so clever!!! Utterly magical. I really appreciate your process of sitting in the clients space and tapping into that energy and intuition of their space. I do this with my interior design too. It’s ideal if you can visit when the client isn’t there on occasion to really take it in x

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Yes, having the quiet time to absorb it all is really important

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Jan 17, 2023Liked by Jo Thompson

What a very wonderful garden that definitely embodies the original concept of family and romantic adventures. The sculptural seats are objects of surprise and beauty and I really found your DFDS! notion very interesting.

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I hope it comes in useful!

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What was the overall project cost? Did your clients ever consider doing the work themselves? Did they not have any interest in growing their own food?

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Hi Lisa - yes, the clients have indeed become very keen gardeners and do indeed grow their own vegetables in raised beds in the play area, and the children participate too!. I can't disclose budgets as I'm sure you'll understand

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Jan 8, 2023Liked by Jo Thompson

Thank you Jo - an inspiring design and planting I admit to coveting! Thank you too for including RHS blurb on Amelanchier as am in research and sourcing mode for a dappled space alongside a fence. Once high enough top will be in full sun.

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I'm glad it's helpful! Thank you Ruth

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Jan 7, 2023Liked by Jo Thompson

What a beautiful garden with ingenious solutions for accommodating the whole family! I love hearing about your whole design process and why some good ideas get thrown out in favour of something slightly different, and even more brilliant!

Can I ask some questions about the picture of the Chelsea garden you’ve posted on instagram today? Which rose and which astrantia are prominent? And the beautiful multi-stemmed tree - is it a hornbeam or something else? Thank you.

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Thank you Sara!

In the instagram pic that indeed is a hornbeam. The roses you can see here are Tuscany and Tuscany Superb; the astrantia are Roma and Claret

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Beats the water slide my children had !

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Oh I don't know, Patti - the simpler the better !

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Hi Jo

Thank you so much for sharing this process with us the garden is absolutely beautiful.

The idea of the bench and pebble seats as art as well as practical use are truly inspiring.

I am always so amazed at the vision you can create from a blank space something personally I find daunting. I am really looking forward to learning so much about the inspiration behind a design as well as the process.

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Jan 7, 2023·edited Jan 7, 2023Author

Thank you Stephen - the inspiration stage is a really exciting one, and what I want to do is share those light-bulb moments, as well as being honest about things that weren't quite right along the way!

It is often daunting right at the very beginning, but once you jump in, that's where the fun happens!

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Hi Jo

As with any project it is the process of that inspiration I am looking forward to discussing.

As a Greenkeeper ask me to design a feature on a golf course and I will have a reasonable chance of doing so although the sketching may be a bit ropey to your standards the finished result would blend into the style of the surrounding landscape.

Thank you again for starting the gardening mind it truly is a breath of fresh air for us amateur gardeners

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I'm not sure I'd be any good designing a golf course - that's fascinating, Stephen!

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Having spent more than a decade as an interior designer I can relate to your process. This is a truly beautiful result. It could so easily have been over-designed. Thanks for sharing.

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Thank you Yasmin! Yes, I imagine you go through a very similar process as in interior designer - there's just so much you want to include at the beginning isn't there? You're full of excitement and plans, and then you just have to stand back and remember clearly what the endgame is

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Jan 7, 2023Liked by Jo Thompson

Jo this is utterly magical. The fountain idea is brilliant. I often take my kids down to King’s Cross to play in the fountain in granary square, so the idea of having something like that in the garden which everyone can enjoy and is beautiful is genius!

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Thank you Rebecca - and I love that water feature at King's Cross - on such an incredible scale it's beautiful, fun, absorbing and a destination within a destination - fabulous!

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Jan 7, 2023Liked by Jo Thompson

Thank you for this account of how you took inspiration from your clients for this wonderful garden. I absolutely love your style. When finished it looks so easy and natural and we all know that’s the hardest thing to achieve!

As a novice garden designer I need to reign in myself to not to fall for DFDS. There is always the urge to show I can come up with clever ideas. Your story about the rill made me come to understand why.

Still, it’s easier with clients then with my own garden. I am much better at prioritizing design features for my clients than for myself. It’s too hard to let go of my little clever ideas when designing my own garden Perhaps I need a garden designer to do that for me. 😂

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Rebecca I still have parts of my not-huge garden where I think I need a garden designer - the pitfall is that you're aware of so many possibilities and that quite a lot of them would work!

You're so right - the urge to be clever and show that you know what you're doing is always there - you kind of have to take yourself in hand and just pause, and then peel away the things which feel a bit much. The actual moment when you do this is so so hard, but then once it's done - there, it feels ok. And then it feels right. So follow your instinct!

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Jan 7, 2023Liked by Jo Thompson

Thanks Jo, that is a huge relief to know that it´s not only me who struggles with that.

I was just thinking, if this is a problem that some people here are facing, perhaps we should swap gardens and attempt a design for someone else and get a design for ones own garden in return? It might be fun, also giving us the opportunity to team up with somebody in our area, meet in person and discuss our gardens with a cup in hand. Also, I am sure there are different skills out there that might be combined for our mutual benefit. For example, I like to think I am ok with giving a garden structure but have much to learn on all things plant related.

Anyone interested?

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This is SUCH an interesting point. If you're working in a studio this is exactly what happens, but many designers work by themselves and it can be a solitary process. I'm really hoping that people who might be interested in doing something like this see your comment - I will create a new thread regarding this as I think it's a great concept!

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Jan 7, 2023Liked by Jo Thompson

Thats fabulous, Jo, thank you!

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Beautiful design and I loved learning about your process, so interesting. The shape of the curves intersecting also looks like the double helix - the essence of biology. Natural organic shapes echoed in furniture and the arcs of water jets - its humming on so many levels 💚💚

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Thank you Catherine - layers and levels in the mind are what 'my' gardens (the gardens I design!) need in order to draw you in and along that exists in reality. I hadn't thought about the double helix until you pointed it out and there it is! Thank you so much for sharing this observation

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I love the natural curves which take you around the garden , seeming to make it twice as long . Love the surprises as you meander down the path . Best of all the water jets ! What fun ! I assume ( being practical and a mother of 4 ) that they can be switched off mainly , and then suddenly a water garden springs up to play in on a very hot day .

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Yes that's absolutely right! They're off most of the time (although switched on regularly for short bursts for maintenance`).

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Jan 7, 2023Liked by Jo Thompson

Oh, I love that 2016 RHS Chelsea garden of yours, definitely one of my all time favourites. It's wonderful to see it used as inspiration for a family garden. I fully understand the issue of DFDS and I know I'm guilty of it in my own garden (I even contemplated a rill too). Keeping it simple and elegant is definitely the right way.

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It's so easy to go down that route - the excitement of all the possibilities and wanting to try them all out - it's just so tempting. But once you stop yourself for a moment - a very painful moment as you realise you're trying just a tad too hard - and take out that thing, whatever it is, then it all tends to fall into place.

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Jan 7, 2023Liked by Jo Thompson

Looks utterly natural, a slightly tamed wild. Maintenance as little or as much as you like. Brilliant.

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Thank you Marsha - always a bit wild!

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