Garden design ideas from Chelsea Flower Show

white foxgloves and Chelsea flower show crowds

It is fairly essential for a garden designer to attend RHS Chelsea Flower Show if they possibly can. Arguably to go round saying “I did that last year!” as often as “Now there’s a good flower combination”.


But Chelsea is about more than the flowers, the stunning water features and the top end sandstone pavers.


It is about more than the show gardens; often you’ll find an original idea in the artisan retreat gardens. And the fresh gardens often have a tale to tell. This year we saw an oak tree covered in a shroud; a reminder of the devastation that oak processionary moth can wreak.

oak processionary moth garden, chelsea flower show 2014


We saw plenty to inspire us; so here are a few choice garden design ideas for you.


 Garden design ideas – water

brandalley renaissance garden, chelsea flower show

The Brandalley Renaissance garden was mainly water; a cool pool of green to reflect the pavillion and give the impression of a lawn.


blue iris and white rock by pool, Chelsea flower show

blue iris by rusted bridge Chelsea flower show


Blue Iris feature in both these gardens, nestling up against still water and gentle waterspouts.


moving fountain Chelsea flower show


Not all the water was calming; we loved this explosive, moving fountain caught up in a twining metal sphere.



Garden design ideas – seating and entertainment

Every garden should have somewhere to sit. Whether that’s a chamomile seat in an arbour, a single chair by the back door or a Viking ship strewn with furs…

viking garden, seat, Chelsea flower show
Gardens are sometimes referred to as ‘the room outside’; this garden design idea may be too extreme for most of us but has some individual elements which are useable.
The pink painted and moss edged table is absolutely wonderfu. Although having a pink stags head on your garden fence could be a step too far, using a repeat colour for garden sundries that match some of your flowers is one way to make a small space seem larger.

house of fraser garden, 2014 Chelsea flower show


I remember when Chelsea Flower Show wasn’t a shopping experience as well as a garden show and we heard quite a few adverse comments about the amount of retail outlets that were there this year. But you can find some quirky garden sundries that in themselves are fun as well as giving us some garden design ideas for clients who like something a bit different.

camper van wine and beer cooler, chelsea flower show, RHS, garden ornaments



Garden design ideas – colour

For Hari and I a visit to RHS Chelsea Flower Show begins and ends with a fun trip on an old red London bus.

red London bus, chelsea flower show

This in itself can be an inspiration; the tightly curving stairs reminding me of the way honeysuckle twines through hedges.

And look what we saw in one of the artisan gardens – this soft white clematis growing through a yew hedge.

clematis twined through yew hedge Chelsea flower show 2014

topiarist garden, topiary Chelsea flower show


The Topiarist Garden was indeed a subtle green and white picture, offering interest from the vertical shapes of corkscrew topiary, climbing rose and white foxgloves, delightfully contrasted against the warm terracotta of the brick  walls and tiled roof.


But colour can be bright – Hari’s favourite was this Gerbera, third prize winner in the Plant of theYear

Gerbera garvinea sweet glow Chelsea flower show 2014


iris in cloudy bay sensory garden, chelsea flower show

The dark purples and bronze of these Iris caught the eyes of many a person; vibrant in the sunshine and richly sombre in the shade.


Last year RHS Chelsea Flower Show was celebrating 100 Years of Gardening in London. This year, remembering the start of the First World War was a theme and an element in many gardens. Poppies of one variety or another elbowed their way in to gardens and display stands alike. But shouldn’t gardens be able to encompass the whole range of human needs and emotions?


Remembrance poppy poster, Chelsea flower show 2014


More Chelsea Flower Show Gardening Blogs you may enjoy

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013 – 100 Years
Is Chelsea Flower Show more eco-friendly than your garden?
Garden Gnomes and Chelsea Flower Show
Show Chelsea a Flower
Chelsea Flower Show 2015 – the Plews View

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