Pond Life

Having seen some fine examples of ancient Persian gardens recently from the neighbor’s holiday snaps, it’s clear they are the world’s original gardeners. From the fabled Hanging Gardens of Babylon to the surviving rose and water gardens still beautifying their cities today, they had ponds down pat. But we Brits have been known to rustle up a fairly decent pond or two ourselves, done in unmistakable English style with scads of water lilies, rockeries, waterfalls and picturesque planting, expertly made to look incidental. To get to the kind of level we’re going to celebrate here takes years of forward planning and patience, but everyone has to start somewhere, and there’s no reason not to have a go on a more modest scale. Water in the garden adds so much calm and loveliness. Have a go. We’re rather good at them!

First start yourself off with some lilies. We found ours here


Plus, a pond provides a habitat for all manner of wildlife. They just happen. You don’t even have to lift a finger. formal71

Great for attracting dragonflies, frogs and the occasional bird for a dip. Endless entertainment for your pets too…


And they’re just so…Monet. formal73Lots of plants prefer a very water based environment, not just bulrushes but Iris, Forget-Me-Nots (hooray!) Violets, Primula, Lobelia, many types of fern and more. This garden has a comprehensive array of water loving borders.


Add a fountain. No one’s going to stop you.  Sourceformal50

You don’t need a huge garden to start one. This London back yard is made elegant with a pond and a weathered urn. formal33

They can also be created to be a refuge as their own separate garden, when planted with privacy using trees and hedges. Heron optional. Found hereformal47

Loving this formality:


And this London elegance:

outdoor14The ultimate country house pond…



And this Victorian loveliness!




Statuary Rights

Now is the best time of year to be visiting historical gardens, as they’ll be in full bloom glory right now. If we manage to tear ourselves away from London Life and get to any, we’ll be sure to share them here, but in the meantime, we’re going to marvel at the historical grace and beauty the gardens of London and it’s surrounds are harboring quietly with an abundance of statues, grand and whimsical. There’s this gentle maiden among the flowers.


Romanesque ideal bordering a box hedge masterpiece here. formal1

Occupying a peaceful niche for a few centuries. (Americans, please…rhymes with quiche not witch). formal17

Soldiering on in a formal garden. formal18

Art gets its own secret little nook to honor it. Found hereformal44

Perspectives created skillfully…and right at the end, a Lion to entice you further. Sourceformal49

Right in the middle of London. We kid you not. Slightly bonkers, but nothing wrong with that. Foundformal70

Feeling the slight breeze. She’s reminiscent of an Art Deco bronze and we love her for it. Sourceformal74

A tiny London courtyard made beautiful by art and a brave mirror. Timeless beauty. statuary1

Different London garden, same flawless principle. Lush greens, plenty for the eye to wander over, busts, mirrors and urns. What’s not to love? statuary2

Bright Handed

Londoners don’t limit their palette to the flora…we also love a dash of color on the patio. Makes summer dining that much more cheerful. Some clever souls will beautifully integrate the colors of the outside to the themes running through the house, tying in their own personality to the whole property. We’re going to make it our mission to seek out festively vibrant patios this season, they’re already fun before you go about the business of having any. These days people’s ever increasing sense of sophistication in design and interiors doesn’t stop at the back door, thanks to the proliferation of social media sights with scads of innovative and creative expressions to plunder. Have a seat. We’ll be out in a minute with freshly made lemonade.

A zing of pinks boldly go where boring patio furniture doesn’t.

outdoor33But look how the deep pink is carried through from the outdoor vase to the inside orchids. Luvly. colorful1Boho cushions vamp up this London decking.

outdoor34More casual Bohemia in a great place to lounge and dine. outdoor18Why be up to your knees in mud at a festival when you can glamp in your London garden? We’re lusting after that gorgeous parasol

colorful2Fantastic shot of fuchsia lifts a backyard deck to a chic, modern space.  Source


The best ’til last…a slice of summer heaven in the middle of the city. LoveLoveLove this terrace!outdoor30

Shabby English Gardens

Here in the UK we have such a rich source of antiques to mine and creating the Shabby Chic look is effortless. We love how that principle is carried over into the gardens, spiced up by gently decaying furniture artfully arrayed. Or household antiques employed in a surprising way. What it does is extend the home personality into the outdoors, and in many cases, creates a room-like feel to the garden, applying the same space and area delineating techniques, just as you would in a house. It’s the inclusion of furniture (and faux walls and lighting) that does it and makes the difference between a cottage garden and a true shabby chic one. Lucky for you we have some lovely examples to share, which we hope you enjoy as much as us. Oh, and a few animals won’t hurt either.

Delicate paint tones, dainty potted flowers and vintage fabric here.


Vibrant custom painted wrought iron chairs and antique bedstead complement the blooming Forsythia wonderfully. Sourceshabby2

Grand French antique bed decadence in this London garden. We suspect the cat has been painted to match the bleached wood decking. shabby3

Rule Britannia all over these shutter doors, which create a faux and private walled areashabby4

This garden has it all – dovecote, country borders separating the upper and lower parts of the garden, rusted, mismatched furniture, two poodle-y things and a disdainful cat onlooker. We are in awe of the details, especially the brightly colored washing line pegs. shabby5

How to fully take advantage of owning a garden, ably demonstrated by a black cat. How’s that camouflage fur been working out so far? A garden for de-stressing and shutting the world out. Found hereshabby6

Source Vintage glorious color that makes you want to buy a thrift wardrobe just to hang outside, even if you’re not legitimately doing the laundry. The hens seem to be enjoying the ambiance. shabby7

Lastly, a little London Flour pot. OK, we’ll get our coats. shabby8



Modern Love

It’s not all quaint cottages and Tudor-y buildings in London, you know. The most cutting edge design goes on here too, evinced yet again this year by the Chelsea Flower Show, which just happens to be the most prestigious in the world. You don’t achieve that caliber of envelope pushing without some serious native gardeners in the country, and they in turn have plenty of customers for their handiwork and many others taking the germ of an idea and translating it to their own domestic spaces.

London also spearheads modern garden design and we’re delighted to bring you some cool examples, whether it be in use of furniture, color, planning or accessories.

We’re digging this swathe of color in East London:

ImageAnd also this impressive silvery water feature that must be the star attraction in this garden:


But skillful and innovative planting and uberhip furniture and statuary gets there in exactly the same vein…


and also here…making the garden look and feel like a lounge by having a proper fireplace and chimney!


We fully approve of how this garden has combined the wildness of a country cottage with up to date contemporary confines.


Adding these super cool pieces into a white themed gardenmodern6used

Or this monotone theme which looks crisp and fresh; Source


Alternatively, a contemporary approach can create a well defined social activity area, becoming a must for any London garden when space has to be utilized at a premium. If you have an outdoors, you’re mad if you don’t take full advantage of living in it, as has been done here:

modern2And finally, two very different but equally appealing spaces perfect for partying… The modern take on a courtyard:


And the extravagant ultra lounge in chic whites: Gorgeous! London? You bet!



In An English Country Garden

Cottage gardens have a reputation for being cultivated chaos, but really they’re meticulously long-term planned and continually maintained to get the rambling look so many people love and emulate. The great thing about them is they can be done with any size of land or random patch.  This beach cottage dispenses with a garden plot because it has the luxury of having the sea as its back yard, but nestled close to the house is a little border of cottage climbers.


This cottage garden has made perfect use of the steep incline it was dealt, gradating the planting to fabulous advantage.

cottage4 cottage5

We also adore their ‘secret garden’ rusty gate embraced by generous lavender Found here


Something like this would take years to mature…but how rewarding when it does!

cottage26However, if you had a small London courtyard such as this place, you can evoke the feel of a cottage country garden just with abundant and multi-level planting.

cottage13usedAlso bang in the middle of London…although you’d never feel as if you were, having tea in it..

cottage12usedLastly, we’re going to leave you with another little slice of London tucked away. It can be done, and accomplished superbly!