Designer Mark Gregory is affectionately known as the ‘King of Chelsea Flower Show’. Mark won the BBC RHS Chelsea People’s Choice award for Garden of the Decade for his 2018 Chelsea garden. He shares his top tips on maximizing your outdoor space and bringing the outdoors in...
Our gardens, patios and balconies have all taken on extra significance over the past year, showing us how important it is to take time out and appreciate our surroundings. Here are some simple ways to enhance our space – both indoors and out, to enable us to take some time out and reset.
Taking what is traditionally indoors outside is something that has risen in popularity over recent times. We have designed outdoor offices, kitchens and even an outdoor cinema for clients. Think about the elements you need and then simply transfer them outside using weatherproof materials.
This outdoor bar was designed to demonstrate how stylish a multifunctional space can be. Complete with bar stools, worktop, sofa and cooking equipment, this outdoor kitchen is suited to being outside, year-round.
Devil in the Detail
By echoing materials that are inside the house, outside, we can create a feeling of cohesion. Porcelain is very versatile and the floor tiles of the kitchen or living space can be mirrored outside with exterior grade versions. One fun thing we have done recently is hang porcelain tiles as artwork or create a living picture using plants as our paint.
Take it Personally
Adding little personal touches is the attention to detail that elevates a space. All the furniture in this garden was designed bespoke, and you can even get your paving engraved with unique detail, for example, signatures, geographical co-ordinates, or meaningful words. London Stone engraved this paving for a show garden for Hampton Court Flower Show in 2018.
The lack of a garden or balcony doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy plants and the many benefits that they can bring. Bringing the outside in, blurring those boundaries, is a trick that us garden designers have been using for a long time.
Make sure that the plants you select match their natural habitat or use. Bromeliads and orchids work well in rooms with high humidity, such as bathrooms. Plants that purify the air work well in bedrooms or living rooms, and herbs and edibles are best suited to kitchens, so that they are on hand for the chef to forage from.
Floor space is always at a premium indoors, so make use of your walls. Outside, we’re seeing more living walls for exactly this reason, so it makes sense to use the verticals inside as well.
As long as you have sufficient light and water, you can use a shelving unit and simply fill it with plants in pots, or you can make your own display by following ‘how to’ videos online. Choose plants with different leaf colour, shape, and texture - mass grouping the same plant can also be just as impactful.
The Sky’s the Limit
A lot of plants that flourish indoors will be found naturally in the trees, so with this in mind, creating a hanging garden will allow them to tumble naturally to the ground, and still leave precious floor space.