Q&A with Jo Willcocks: Garden Design Tips & Trends
We sat down for a chat with award-winning, Cheshire based garden designer, Jo Willcocks. Jo shared her top tips for your garden this season.
What are your top tips for someone wanting to improve their garden right now?
Look for gaps in your borders and infill with some new perennials, annuals or small shrubs. Choose plants for pollinators where possible. If your planting seems ‘bitty’ repeat some of your favourite plants throughout the border to give a feeling of harmony and continuity as it’s more restful on the eye. If you are missing some late summer colour now’s the time to plan and plant.
If you are short on space then containers may be the answer - be creative and don’t just limit them to shrubs, annuals and perennials, you could grow fruit and veg too! Think about contrasting leaf shapes and textures and as a general rule when planting, have a tall central plant, a downward trailer and a medium height filler. Group some of your pots together for a pleasing combination.
Seating is very important - make sure you have somewhere nice to sit, relax and enjoy time with family and friends. There’s a wide range of garden furniture available to complement your home and lifestyle.
Visit gardens, garden shows and Okells for ideas and inspiration - be inspired by small planting combinations and try them at home.
If you’ve just moved, then take your time and get to know the garden first before you make any major decisions. If you are in need of colour then use annuals like cosmos or perennials for a burst of colour in the border. Perennials can easily be lifted and moved to their final place when you’ve sorted out the garden.
On a practical note, keep on top of weeding and dead head perennials to ensure continuous flowering and now’s the time to prune any spring shrubs that have finished flowering.
Are they any garden trends for 2022 that you're particularly excited about?
I’m really excited to see that more and more people are realising the benefits of an outdoor space and how relaxing, calming and uplifting they can be. I’m also delighted to see a continued trend towards biodiversity and sustainability and how we might apply this in our own gardens:-
‘Rewilding’ - there’s a move towards more natural, wildlife gardens and the desire to be immersed in nature. It doesn’t have to be scruffy - you can still retain that formal structure but use softer, looser wildlife friendly planting as well.
‘Re use’ existing hard landscaping materials in a more imaginative way or keep it local and source materials closer to home if possible. If you want or have to source new, make sure it’s ethically sourced. There’s a definite shift towards more natural, sustainable materials and permeable surfaces.
‘Re-balance’ - try and balance your hard landscaping with plenty of soft landscaping, its better for you, the environment and the wildlife. I love plants - they go a long way to creating the look and feel of a space. The use of colour, scent and texture is so important especially for the pollinators... and you! Generally, warm colours are very uplifting and bring vibrancy and energy to a space whilst cooler colours are more calming and restful.
What are your top five favourite plants for the Summer season?
Gosh, there are so many gorgeous plants to choose from it’s going to be hard to narrow it down, but here goes!... Find Jo's favourite five here.