Published Press articles

Guardian - The play's the thing (22nd June 2012)

How to make a garden a great play space without finding yourself swimming in plastic.

"When we tell our children to play outside, the result can be alarming. The loud shrieks of joy you can just about live with – there are earplugs for coping with that kind of thing – but what of the mountain of plastic toys, trampoline and other gigantic play equipment dominating every corner of your former garden paradise?

"But don't despair. It is possible to accommodate play without killing the garden aesthetic. One solution, provided you're lucky enough to have a large outside space, is to contain the chaos by setting aside a dedicated children's area where offending articles are kept; this can then be softened with the help of some screening. If you totally block out the space, it's hard to supervise play, so it's far better to introduce a semi-transparent divider made from materials and plants such as trellis, tall grasses or pleached trees."

Read the full article here.

Guardian - Spread the love (20th April 2012)

In praise of self seeding plants - which to chose and how to accommodate them.

"Self-seeders have developed an unfortunate reputation in some parts of the gardening world. The phrase "may become invasive" evokes Viking-style raids with borders overrun by interlopers. But these plants are rarely so aggressive and given the largesse they offer to gardeners, open arms rather than open warfare seems a more fitting welcome.

"Free seed is their most obvious benefit. Invest in an initial packet of love-in-a-mist, honeywort or pot marigold and you should never need to purchase again: perfect if you have space to fill but a small budget. Best of all, given the right soil and aspect, you don't even have to scatter the seeds yourself. Self-seeders find the ideal spot to grow without you needing to consult nursery labels or gardening books."

Read the full article here.

Guardian - Out of this world (22nd July 2011)

These days garden parties are stylish affairs – think outdoor standard lamps, flat panel LCDs and tea light chandeliers and make your backyard the best venue in town.

"There was a time when a garden party involved nothing more than pulling out a couple of extra chairs and opening a bottle of Lambrusco. But these days entertaining outdoors can be a stylish affair and, with a bit of planning, your backyard can be the best venue in town.

"If you entertain regularly, it's worth planning some permanent party spaces. An outside dining area is great for dinner parties, but for more relaxed affairs you could consider a conversation pit. These sunken spaces with seating all around are a great way to create a sociable area and, if you put a firepit in the centre (look at Stainless Steel Firepit, £88, from, it can keep you sheltered and warm; make sure you install some drainage so it doesn't turn into an unplanned pool party."

Read the full article here.

Guardian - Love me render (7th May 2011)

A look at how designers inject colour in garden features from walls and fabric to screens and artwork.

"Gardeners work their green fingers to the bone trying to coax colour from plants, but as anyone with a few grey hairs will tell you, sometimes nature needs a little help. So why not add some permanent colour or a few highlights to liven up your outdoor space?

"As with so much in design, less is more, so sticking to a single colour will give the garden a sense of unity. It pays to purchase sample pots and paint old offcuts of wood. These can be placed around the garden to judge the effects of light, weather and associated planting, all of which can change how colour performs."

Read the full article here.

Guardian - Full Frontal (9th April 2011)

"Struggling with a tiny front yard full of bins? Designer Dawn Isaac offers her solution with a cut-out-and-keep plan for the classic Victorian terrace.

"The angles of this bed are designed to echo those of the bay window, tying garden and house together.  Planting an evergreen shrub such as camelia or ceanothus, provides some privacy, while the deep side bed gives space for lush, low-maintenance planting, and year-round interest.

"Moving the gate towards the centre of the front wall and doing away with the traditional straight path creates new planting and storage areas to either side. Note that the front gate opens away from the storage area, allowing bins to be moved out with ease."

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