Garden Design

This video guide shows how a north facing back garden can be transformed into a family friendly garden with zones for both adults and children.

All explained by Garden Ninja, Manchesters Garden Designer and blogger Lee Burkhill. He’s an RHS winning garden designer and expert panelist on BBC Radio Manchester’s Saturday morning garden phone in.

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It can be a tricky balance designing a garden for both children who want to play and adults who want to relax as well. Creating a garden that meets both the needs of active children and wearied parents is entirely possible with careful thought. This example of an overlooked, underloved and uninspired garden in the suburbs shows how using zones allows you to meet the needs of both children and parents.

In a small garden, it’s easy to try and cram as much in as possible. We established that they definitely wanted a substantial lawned area for the children to play on. This would become the children’s zone which could evolve over time and wasn’t too precious being used by an army of screaming children, a wendy house, battlefield or makeshift football pitch.

The adult zone was designed as a raised terrace area which would be screened off in part by planters and raised borders on each side. There was careful access planned should a parent need to quickly get to the children zone and to help provide flow around the garden. These beds and borders helped also break up the neighbouring views giving privacy. They also needed storage and access for bikes. By using cut-through paths to the children’s lawn, it allows movement between the zones and helps join the garden together. Yet encasing the zones in borders with various heights it gives the feeling of privacy when in each zone.

The raised beds around the children zone contained a mix of super tough hardy herbaceous perennials, grasses and shrubs. In addition to this they also had woven through them some beautiful delicate specimens. Thus giving a more sophisticated feel than just bedding plants and evergreen shrubs. These borders were designed to encourage visitors to want to investigate these plants further, ask questions and become engrossed in the drifts of planting rather than focusing on the small size of the garden.

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