Planting Design: by Chris Cooper-Hayes

On June 6th we were treated to a thoroughly interesting talk by Chris Cooper-Hayes a garden designer who shared with us his top tips to create a garden to suit your individual taste.

Chris is the proud owner of an RHS Gold Medal for a winning entry for Best Beautiful Boarder at BBC Gardener’s World Live.

Here is an outline of the presentation.

Chris explained how initially it is vital to have a clear vision as to what you wish to achieve from your garden, whether romantic, calming, vibrant etc.  It’s important to consider the style too,  whether Cottage, Formal, Contemporary and how much time and funds you can allocate to the change.  After this decision has been made there are seven further steps to ensure you have the perfect garden for you.


Chris Cooper-Hayes   Planting Design

Chris talked about the importance of creating a Strong Backdrop such as evergreens and hedging and to unify boundaries. A very useful and relatively unknown fact is the aim to have black or very dark grey fencing to enable plants of all types to stand out.

The right plant in the right place. Consideration should always be given to the types of plants and their suitability to the type of soil, and aspect of shade or sun.  The rule of thirds plays a big part too.  Chris suggested that 30% of evergreen plants is a good mix, although this 30% mix also depends on the type of garden you want to produce.  Creating Unity with house and garden possibly by limiting the colour pallet can help to bring home and garden together which is a pleasing effect.  It’s important too to look at the type of foliage and the shades of the various greens as these will colour the garden far longer than the flowers.  It will again depend on what you wish to create but often its good to limit the shades of greens, consider texture and leaf shape if simplicity and calm is desired.  On the other hand, Sometimes it may be good to mix it up if you wish to have contrast with colours and add various shapes of flowers.

Chris went on to explain that creation of depth is important and this can be achieved by having perhaps vibrant flowers in the foreground and pastel shades towards the back.  We should aim to make the garden interesting.  This can be done by having focal points of interest that are only visible as exploration of the garden is made.   The addition of a large item such as a bush or tree in the centre can add to a sense of depth too.

Chris Cooper-Hayes   Planting Design

Thank you very much Chris for an enlightening and captivating presentation, and for your offer to come back and talk to us again on another topic.

If anyone would like some advice/help with their garden please contact Chris who I believe can also provide suitable plants to suit the overall desired effect.

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Address:     The Loft, Woodburner Workshop,  31, Market Street, Lutterworth, LE17 4EJ