The Garden Makeover
I watch the gardening celebrities transform someone’s rather sad patch into a glorious haven in a weekend. Why does there always have to be a time limit? I have had customers come to the nursery trying to emulate this and it always seems to take them considerably longer. Makeovers work well on houses (but usually take longer than a weekend).
Gardens are better if they evolve with time. You sow a seed or plant a shrub, and if you are lucky it grows. The real art of gardening is planting something in a place that it will happily grow bearing in mind how big it will get.
The main exception to this is a hedge because we interfere by cutting it to the size we want. If you look at a beech tree, then a beech hedge you can see the difference, (but why do the dead leaves stay on the hedge but not the tree?) The thing to consider when choosing a hedge is the rate of growth, not maximum height it can get to. So for a low hedge a slow grower like box or lavender are good, or a tall one a faster plant like laurel or conifer are more suitable.
The only time a makeover on a garden works is when you are trying to sell a house. So what you do is stand on the roadside pretending to be a prospective buyer. The usual exclamation is ‘Oh My God we have got to do something about this!’ The objective is to draw potential buyers off the road and into the house with their cheque book. It is no coincidence that house builders always landscape the front garden but rarely do anything at the back, but bury rubble. What is usually required is a good tidy up, then put a few large attractive plants in strategic positions to achieve the desired effect of creating a welcoming exterior. These specimens can be in pots and move with you.
I remember visiting a house that had had a TV makeover a year or so after it had been done. The real problem was that the proud owner had preserved it as it had been originally done, so it looked tired. Gardens are alive and have to grow and change with the years and seasons.