Iris Jardine talks to Carolyn
Parker, interior designer, and her
associate Cindy Ritson, landscape
gardener, on gardens becoming
more integral with the house.
Blending home and garden is important
For the house, Carolyn feels that this trend
is largely due to the influence of the many
interior design and gardening shows currently
on television. Where a house has a terrace
or a courtyard, it is comparatively easy to
carry this through with garden furniture
Flooring is also one of the areas which
can be carried through from the inside to
the outside. Where curtains are involved,
she sometimes lines them using a fabric that
she then also uses outside.
She cites her own home as an example
of this trend. A brick barn, which has a
very traditional structure, has been given
a contemporary feel inside, with lots
of suede and leather, chrome and glass.
This is reflected outside with chrome water
features, glass fittings and contemporary
The main living area and the terraces are
all of the same lime stone flooring, with
glazed windows so that when you look
through, you see the same flooring. The
gardens, with uniformed and structured
planting in the foreground, have a less formal
look further back with a woodland setting.
In the garden, Cindy feels that when
considering designing your garden you
should also look at the architecture of the
house. For example, an old Victorian house
needs to have its imposing features carried
through to the garden with a formal structure.
This means plenty of greenery and
evergreen with appropriate statutes or a
fountain to accompany it. Sometimes there
are restrictions on what you can do.
In Carolynís case, although the garden is
in the country, there is a wall which can not
be removed, so the design has to blend it in.
The exterior of the house has a terrace with
a formal area complete with pond and
topiary. With an acre to play with, Cindy
has broken the garden into rooms with box
hedging. That is, enclosed areas linked with
pathways, where you go through a gate into
another area. Although not finally
completed, it is envisaged that one area will
be a pottager; a formal vegetable garden,
with a herb bed in its centre.
Other parts of the garden are likely to be
more child friendly, with a lawn area for
children to play in. At the rear, she has
created a more natural area to blend in the
back of the garden with the woodland,
which is on the other side of the wall.
She has achieved this by planting tree
shrubs with various natural plantings of bulbs
underneath the trees, and has included an
arbour to provide a seating area. The wall is
to be covered with ivy and climbing plants.
Lighting is also an important element
to consider, so that your garden can also
be used and admired in the evenings. If you
are starting from scratch, it is worth asking
a lighting expert for their input at the
However, before you consider asking
someone to come in, it is important to plan
exactly what you would like to do. Even if
it is just a statue that needs to be lit, you must
decide where you are going to position it.
Putting a summer house in the garden,
with fabrics co-ordinating with the
house and your terrace/patio is another
consideration. Lighting it properly will also
entice you into going out there even if the
weather is uninviting.
Carolyn works all over the country and
can be contacted on: T. 01937584601
Cindy Ritson: T. 07774474801
Web site created by Mark Griffin