Podcast: The Plotting Shed

This is a useful podcast for those interested in designing their own garden and are new to garden design.  Presenter and designer Rachel McCartain discusses how her aim is to cover areas not discussed in other publications and takes a very practical down-to-earth approach to the subject.

There are episodes on everything from what to consider when designing differently-shaped gardens, such as how to divide up the space in long thin gardens using barriers and repeat planting in a zigzag so that the eye moves around the garden.

Other episodes include discussions on using colour with suggestions such as using two colours per season or splashing out on colour in spring, with a sinuous line of bold, vibrant red and orange bulbs around the garden, for example.  The episode on boundaries looks at all the practical considerations such as the fact pleached trees need a lot of maintenance.

There’s a good episode on lawns and how we need to re-evaluate them, suggesting leaving some unmown areas as a way of assessing which bits we use most.  Rachel makes the point that while we often think children need big expanses of lawn to run around on, by leaving some areas unmown, kids can lie in the long grass, pick flowers and watch all the insects and butterflies.  And in the same vein, a thought-provoking episode explores thinking of lawns ‘in reverse’ so that instead of borders around the edges of a lawn you bring the planting into the middle of the garden, with seating areas amongst the planting to help you feel immersed.

The episodes are short, tackling specific areas and giving you plenty to think about in that time.  They aren’t step-by-step guides to garden design, but are more about presenting the basics of what to consider.  Rachel’s approach is clear and practical and worth a listen if you want to make more of your garden but are stuck on how to start.