June 23

Chelsea show gardens

Created by Anna Kapuvari

Show gardens are a great way to collect ideas for your garden. In these blog series, each week we are going to explore one show garden with an idea that we particularly liked. This week is the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Garden form the Chelsea Flower Show 2015.


Designed by Ruth Wilmott, this garden symbolises the breakthrough in breast cancer research when founded by charity. The inspiration came from genetic research, and we can see the DNA lines represented in the garden as well.


Our favourite part is the black marble water feature adding a mirroring effect to this wonderful Fresh Garden.


The planting consists of soft colours – from whites to pinks which are framed with the white trunks of Betula trees. Lupins, Irises, Digitalis and Anemones are the main herbaceous plants.



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June 16

Planting day in the Chilterns

Created by Anna Kapuvari

One of the best things in gardening is to create a plant border with lots of different colours and textures. We had a lovely planting day in the Chilterns where we planted a 28m long border. Here is how we did it.

The plants are queuing up like soldiers in the front line, ready to be planted. Soil preparation has already been done, as the first important step. The new plants establish better in loose soil mixed up with organic matter or green waste.


Any plants that had to be removed from the border were placed in the wheelbarrow, so it is easier to transport them to their new place elsewhere in the garden.


Plants that were left in situ were tied together to protect them while we are working on the border.


Flowering plants are delicate to move, but you can try it with a fork if the soil conditions are right.



Finally, we lay out the plants in pots based on our planting design. We had to put them horizontally as it was a windy site. All that needs to be done is to place them into the soil with some chicken pellet or other organic feed.


Everything was based on proper planning: we made certain plans with mature plant sizes and correct flower colours to ensure that we did not overplant, and there is flower interest all year around on the border.


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October 13

Grape harvesting for wine making

Created by Anna Kapuvari

Back at the Living Colour Gardens headquarters, we are very excited that after three years, our grapevine, Vitis vinifera ‘de Bere’ has finally reached maturity and is producing grapes in abundance.  The entire pergola over our decking has a lush covering of grapes and foliage, turning our outdoor seating area into a beautiful shady oasis.


This year we harvested the fruit for the first time, using sharp secateurs to carefully cut each bunch off at the stem.  Since these grapes are going to be made into wine, they needed to be as ripe as possible before harvesting.  This we were able to check by looking at the colour of the berries (the darker the better), feeling how soft they were and tasting individual berries from different bunches to see what proportion of the bunches were already sweet.

If a grape pulls away easily from a bunch without any resistance, the grapes are ripe.  If it resists then it can ripen further.  Any mouldy grapes were removed as these can spoil the wine, but slightly shrivelled grapes are okay and will still contain some juice, as long as they’re not completely dried out.


We then packed our grapes carefully in plastic crates to prevent crushing, and took them up to Organiclea, a community food project based in the Lea Valley in north-east London.   There they run a Community Wine Making Scheme, using a mix of grapes from their own organic vineyard, and grapes grown organically in gardens and allotments across London.


At delivery, our grapes were measured for sugar content using a hydrometer or refractometer.  In fully ripe London grapes the sugar content is normally between 16-20%.  The picture below shows Marko who runs the winery at Organiclea, measuring our grapes!  They were 18-18.5% sugar, which will help to make a sweeter wine, and mean that less sugar will need to be added during fermentation.

The sugar content also gives us an idea of the resulting alcohol volume of the wine, with the percentage alcohol of the finished wine being approximately half of the sugar level of the grapes.  So grapes with an 18% sugar content can achieve a wine of around 9% alcohol.


Our grapes were then crushed in a special machine to extract the juice, and this was added into a large vat to begin the first stage of fermentation.  In January, we’ll get to have a little taster of the wine from the cask, mid-fermentation!  This picture shows the bottled 2013 vintage from the harvest of Organiclea and other London grape growers.  Meanwhile, at LCG we are enjoying our other grape harvest, Vitis vinifera ‘Muscat de Hambourg‘, delicious black grapes that are larger and best for eating.


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June 18

The Princess Victoria

Created by Anna Kapuvari

Living Colour Gardens has recently completed a planting installation at this well-known watering hole in Shepherd’s Bush. The Princess Victoria’s beer garden has had a makeover with new plants and pots, as well as some rather creatively designed window boxes…s.


The image below shows the garden how it was…..


And here is the finished look, taken from the same angle. The theme was to create a herb garden offering not only beautiful scents throughout the summer months but also fresh herbs to be used in making new summer cocktails.


The two images below, again showing before and after snapshots, show the garden from the opposite end. In the foreground on the right-hand wall, you can see the wooden wall boxes planted with herbs. The ‘creative’ aspect of these is that they are made out of old wine crates from the pub’s cellars. To continue with the pub recycling theme, there is also a re-used barrel at the far end, and further down, a shot of it before its horticultural conversion!




As well as smelling and tasting beautiful, the collection of scented herbs also looks good in transit!



Plants include:

Betula utilises v. Jaquemontii x5, Trachelospermum Jasminoides, Foxgloves, Geranium Rosanne, Libertia Formosa, Agapanthus, Salvia Caradonna, Alchemilla Mollis, Lavandula Hidcote, Box Balls, Ferns

Herbs include:

Nasturtiums, Lemon Verbena, Borage Flowers, Chocolate Mint, Coriander, Basil, Tarragon, Lemon Thyme, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Marjoram, Rocket, Parsley





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May 13

Bin Storage

Created by Anna Kapuvari

It always seems such a shame that gardens are often neglected and left looking unattractive by the presence of the essential but aesthetically displeasing collection of refuse bins. This is particularly true in urban areas where bins are often stored at the front of the house for easy access on collection day. Here at Living Colour Gardens, we are on a crusade to remedy this by incorporating bespoke bin storage units such as those shown below into the garden landscape for our clients.


Constructed by our experienced landscape gardeners from solid hardwood frames and battens, these bin stores are all made to measure with complete flexibility of design, size and finish. By incorporating a green roof such as the one shown, this structure can be made to look even more part of the garden and a useful place to grow small plants and herbs. This unit’s roof is planted with a selection of scented herbs including sage, rosemary, lemon thyme, mint and lavender which help to disguise any lingering odours coming from the bin bags. The green roof has its own drainage layer built in as part of the design so that the herbs do not become waterlogged.


This unit below is made from Western Red Cedar with a sloping wooden roof and includes space inside for storing some garden tools and outdoor sweeping brushes.


The bin store below is in a front garden in Brook Green. The unit is made from Ipe hardwood and has two levels separated by a shelf – the bins sit on the ground and the upper level provides space for excess waste and items for recycling.



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April 23

Container Gardening

Created by Anna Kapuvari

Container Gardening

We are on a front garden crusade at Living Colour Gardens. As well as designing and installing bin storage units, containers can make such a difference to outside spaces which might otherwise just be left empty or at best, a parking space for the bicycle.

Container gardening is becoming increasingly popular, especially in urban areas such as London, where space is limited and many outdoors spaces are paved. Planting in containers offers flexibility with the garden design, with many different sized planters available now in a variety of materials.

This front garden in Kensington was recently transformed into a vibrant space for a variety of plants and included a green roof on the bin store unit. As one of the leading London garden designers, James Walsh is keen to look at the most creative possibilities in urban spaces such as these so as to extend to a garden area as much as possible.

The picture below shows the front area before work commenced.


The images that follow show the front garden finished.  Drought resistant plants were used to tie in with the herbs on the bin storage unit. The herbs include sage, rosemary, lemon thyme, chives as well as lavender. The scents help to disguise any odours emanating from the bins.


A wide variety of containers is now available – both regarding material and size. These rectangular fibreglass planters were finished in a matt lead colour, contrasting nicely with the white paintwork of the house exterior.


Plants include alliums, akebia quinata, libertia formosa, geranium ‘Rosanne’, salvia caradonna, and verbena bonariensis.




The bin store unit was built on-site and bespoke fitted in place. Ipe hardwood battens form the attractive outer cladding and herb garden sides. A drainage layer is in-built under the soil.

Kensington-Olympia-033 (1)

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January 9

Tips on Gardening Services in London: Cleaning and Maintenance

Created by Anna Kapuvari

tips-on-gardening-services-in-london-cleaning-and-maintenanceHaving and keeping your very own garden is a non-stop task that involves ensuring that your plants have the care that they need. If you don’t have a lot of time to spend on your vegetation, you can always get gardening services in London from reliable companies like Living Colour Gardens. Here are some maintenance jobs you can do yourself:






tips-on-gardening-services-in-london-cleaning-and-maintenance-2To prune a tree or plant means to trim away dead, decaying or just simply overgrown branches or stems for the purpose of improving its growth and fruitfulness. When trimming large foliage trees, though, you should keep away from using shears, as they might cut leaves off in half, leaving the rest to rot. Use secateurs instead.




Ah, the ever annoying and persevering weed problem – if you don’t want to have to keep pulling them out every month or so, use a trusty brand of weed killer and spray all over the pesky plants as soon as they begin to sprout. Covering as much of your garden’s soil with plants should also significantly decrease the risk of weeds.


tips-on-gardening-services-in-london-cleaning-and-maintenance-3Mow your lawn regularly so they don’t end up covering most of your yard from view, moreover, removing the tips of the grass blades should make it a lot more dense and healthy. In line with this, you should also maintain your mower’s condition and make sure that it cuts nice and sharp. A dull mower will only damage the grass.





Winter care

tips-on-gardening-services-in-london-cleaning-and-maintenance-4After a day of heavy snowfall, make sure that you clear snow off your conifers or hedges so it doesn’t crush or disfigure the plants under its weight. You can even pack tree or shrub branches with straw, and pile lots of mulch over roots to protect them against the freezing cold.

Efficient garden maintenance of Londonhomes is always necessary to make sure that your yard remains healthy and green all year long. In doing so, you will have to spend less in having it restored or the dead and decayed plants completely replaced from time to time. Whether you do it yourself or you’re hiring the services of a garden maintenance company, see to it that these tips are done.

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October 31

Garden Design in Clabon Mews, Knightsbridge

Created by Anna Kapuvari

Living Colour Gardens’ top London garden designer James Walsh designed this garden recently – a complete renovation of a mews house in Knightsbridge. See the links below to view the designs, and some corresponding pictures showing how the existing garden looks – pictures of the finished project will appear here once work is complete…..


Our vision…..   Landscape Design – Clabon Mews 3

Below is a view from the living room window onto the existing terrace


And this link (4) again shows our vision from the same angle.

Landscape Design – Clabon Mews 4

Some further design perspectives below:

Landscape Design – Clabon Mews 1

Landscape Design – Clabon Mews 2

Landscape Design – Clabon Mews 5

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October 30

Is this grass for real?

Created by Anna Kapuvari

As part of our garden design and build projects, we often incorporate a new lawn area as one might expect. Traditionally this has involved either installing new turf where there was none previously, or replacing existing turf. However we are increasingly installing artificial lawns for our clients in London instead of real ones. Technological advances in the quality and variety of artifical turf are making these lawns a popular alternative to the real thing, and they offer a number of advantages. London garden designer James Walsh sees a number of advantages:

– low maintenance

– easy installation – some can be laid straight onto concrete

– good for shaded areas, roof terraces and balconies

– they look beautifully green all year round

– no muddy mess in the wet and winter months, and no resulting mess in the house

– minimise dirty linen and grass stains when the kids are playing outside

Artifical lawns do require brushing and hosing down to remove dirt and leaves that build up, but this is is much quicker and easier than the regular mowing required in the growing months. Additionally, if installed well, with proper natural- looking edging, then they look even more authentic.

Here is one we installed recently…..


We particularly recommend Easigrass – Easigrass – the above lawn is their Mayfair range – other ranges vary in length and quality and we can supply samples upon request.

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October 30

Exciting new project in Hampstead

Created by Anna Kapuvari

London garden designer James Walsh has recently been commissioned to design a new garden in Hampstead. The garden area has great potential and the project will be carried out in conjunction with a major renovation of the house itself. The links here to see our initial design ideas, and below are some pictures of the garden areas as they are now:

Garden Design, Norfolk Road, Hampstead 1

Garden Design, Norfolk Road, Hampstead

Here is the rear garden as it looks now…..


This is a view of the side return, looking towards the rear garden


And here is the front garden as it currently looks…..lots of work to do!


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