Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Elemental Gardening: Earth, Water and Fire

Image Credit: Pexels

Creating a beautiful garden is about more than adding a few shrubs and mowing the lawn throughout the summer. It takes planning and a keen eye for detail - just as your interior does!

Lots of people are put off designing their garden because they are worried that they don’t know enough about gardening to do a good job. This is entirely understandable but just like the first time you slapped a coat of paint on your bedroom walls as a kid, you have to learn through trial and error.

Of course, you can fast-track your learning by following some simple gardening rules. All good things come in threes and for the garden, those things are earth, water and fire. Combining these three essential elements is the best way to create zones in your garden so that you can enjoy the space and make the most of what you have.


When you’re dealing with nature, earth is obviously an essential element. The type of soil you have will definitely impact on the type of landscape you can create and which plants will suit your garden best. It’s always a good idea to match your plants to your soil rather than try to change the soil which will be a costly option.

Choosing the plants you want to put in your garden is an essential part of the process. Some plants bring color, others bring height and structure, some offer different textures. How you combine your plants will create a wide range of different effects and you should always plan where you would like to build planted areas carefully. Always think about how you want to walk through your garden when you plant up and use a range of sizes so that wherever you look, there is something to admire.

To design your garden, you should always draw a scale(ish) version of your land. Then, you can use colored pencils to add in some details. The beauty of drawing your design first is that you can change your mind quickly and easily and try new ideas while the only consequence of a bad plan is a wasted sheet of paper. Experimenting with different shapes first can help give you see how the space could be separated out and give you a more interesting design.


Water is the next essential addition to any garden. But we’re not just talking about putting in some lawn sprinklers in here. Your garden could be the perfect place for a secret hot tub surrounded by tall bamboo or a family swimming pool you can all play in throughout the summer. It has to be said that poolhottubs.com is really selling the lifestyle!

Running water is a well known relaxing sound and whether you go for an ultra-modernist concrete fountain or a meandering stream with a tiny waterfall that runs through your garden, the sound is simply amazing. Indeed, the sound of running water can even help you sleep! Modern fountain designs can be quite striking and add an element of glamour to any garden. Giving this feature real pride of place with clever and subtle planting is definitely going to create a striking centerpiece.

Creating a water feature is all about planning and preparation. Get it right and your water will sit beautifully, bringing texture and movement to your garden but get it wrong and your garden won’t feel balanced. The best way to create a natural looking feature is to work with the natural gradient of your land and place your rocks carefully. You are essentially creating a gentle staircase so take your time in designing the best look and listen for the water too - you can spend a lot of time working to create the perfect babbling brook!


Now you might not immediately think of fire when the subject of garden design comes up but that’s okay. The fire here isn’t accidental, it is entirely functional. Adding a bbq, fire pit or chiminea is a great way to add warmth to your space, tempting you out to eat in the evenings and even cuddle up to look at the stars later on at night.

Cooking outside is about as elemental as you can get in the garden and the bbq is favored around the world. Designating a particular area of your garden to create a cooking and dining space is a really good way to bring your family outside and give the effect of adding an extra room to the house. Make sure you have a table and chairs in this area or a wide enough wall to add some cushions.

A chiminea is safe to use straight away and doesn’t need too much work either - a huge advantage in anyone’s books. You can use a chiminea simply as a heat source or you could cook with it - it is perfect for all the regular bbq foods and can also be used as a small pizza or bread oven. The biggest advantage here is that the smoke will go up the chimney and the small fire is easier to control.

If you aren’t so worried about cooking but do like the idea of toasting s’mores under the stars, a fire pit will work perfectly for you. Building a fire pit is much like digging a pond: you want the fire to stay contained within its confines. You can build all kinds of different fire pits - square, round, raised, sunken - but do remember that the main purpose is to create a heated area. Do think about spacing your seating at a safe enough distance around the pit and factor in any wind that might affect the fire.

Garden design is all about balance. Whether you are a fan of urban jungles or minimalist chic, balancing your needs and the garden’s needs is essential. Earth, water and fire might be a crude way to measure success but generally, if you’re surrounded by natural beauty, feeling relaxed and warm enough to sit out, you’re going to enjoy your garden.

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