Grey gardens: the downsizer’s guide

Growing old doesn’t have to mean giving up gardening, Jo Thompson explains how to adapt your patch

Our gardens are often the product of many years of love and labour, but, as we get older, maintaining them can become a daunting prospect — all that grass to cut and borders to maintain. Will we ever get up again after a hard afternoon’s weeding?

Create a romantic garden

In the mood for romance? Fill your garden with beautiful blooms, seductive scent and a hint of mystery.Sometimes you find yourself in a garden where you want to stay for ever, such is the all-embracing prettiness and the feeling of lushness; a place full of mouthwatering planting, with surprises round every corner. What constitutes a romantic garden will be different for each of us, but for me it’s that feeling of abundance, of a story slowly to be revealed. Whether your garden is large or small, city or country, rooftop or rolling fields, there are some key ideas to bear in mind if you’re aiming for that touch of romance.

Create a kid-friendly garden

Making your garden fun doesn’t mean is has to look like a play park. A multifunctional approach keeps everyone happyThe trickiest garden-design clients I’ve ever had? My own family. On moving to a new home, to my own wish list of overflowing herbaceous borders and bowling-green-smooth lawns were soon added the desirables “goalposts”, “treehouse” and “labrador”. We finally had the chance to make the family garden we had dreamt of — the challenge was to make it look good without casting household democracy out of the window.

Accessible garden design in any space

Accessible garden designWhen asked to design features for a specialised space, my first step is to find out what the space is now and who it’s for. What it is to be comes later on in the design process.

Turn the concept of food production on its head

Food productionI’ve recently become uncharacteristically absorbed by an organisation called Metropolitan Agriculture; a group describing itself as ‘an innovative response to the problems within the food system’.

Designing communal spaces

Designing green public spaces.In my previous article, I used the Piazza del Campo in Siena as an example of a great outdoor public space. Why do spaces such as this one work, and what can we take from them to apply to the development of our own public or communal spaces, green or otherwise?