Category Archives: Expert Series

Garden Trees And Lighting – Expert Series

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Using trees and lighting for year round interest  Inge Berrie

Professional Surrey and South London designer Inge Berrie shares her views on using garden trees as well as lighting for maximum year round interest.

Trees are beautiful and graceful in a garden of any size. They add structure and a sense of instant maturity to a garden. Yet, when we think of planting our gardens up, we often forget to include trees in the design. Trees are also useful as they attract beneficial insects and birds into the garden. They also absorb carbon dioxide which helps clean the air.

Lighting a tree effectively creates a beautiful focal point in the garden. Big and small trees can be shown off to their full potential when lit correctly.

For year round interest choose a tree which will perform in each season, for example, interesting bark in the winter, flowers in the spring, attractive canopy in the summer and colour or fruit in the autumn. My favourite small tree is a Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’ as it blossoms throughout winter into the spring, which constantly reminds me that warmer days are to come. It is an excellent tree for small gardens as it has a light canopy, and fantastic autumn colour.

Trees can also be considered for their ornamental bark which often becomes the focal point in winter after the trees have lost their leaves. Lighting can show off this beautiful feature in all seasons. Prunus serrula is a favourite of mine with its ultra smooth coppery bark running around the trunk in concentric rings. Some people polish the bark to make it shine even more! Acer griseum which is also known as the paper bark maple also has a coppery bark but the interesting effect is created by the peeling bark.

Prunus Serrula

Prunus Serrula

Acer Griseum

Acer Griseum


If you are after a silver white effect then you need to consider the beautiful and ever popular Silver Birch. If this tree is underplanted with Dogwood or Cornus alba, then the red and yellow stems in winter will create a stunning contrast.

Like any plant in the garden you will need to look up which soil conditions the tree prefers and whether it will tolerate sun or shade. Most trees tolerate the sun but the Japanese Maples Acer palmatum atropurpureum needs shade and I would recommend planting it under the canopy of another tree.

If you need some help to consider the best type of tree and its placement, contact a garden designer who would be able to help you with your decision . Garden designers also work with lighting specialists to advise on the best type of lighting for the garden.

Inge BerrieInge Berrie – Courtyard, family, estate, contemporary and traditional garden designs

After receiving formal training at the Garden Design School in Cobham graduating with a Diploma. Inge has gone on to design a variety of gardens ranging from front gardens in family homes to large estate gardens.

To find out more information about Inge and her designs, visit Berrie Garden Design

Category: Expert Series

How To Design A Garden – Expert Series

How to design a garden  Amir Schlezinger

Top pulbished garden designer Amir Schlezinger gives his valuable insights into the aspects he considers when asked “how to design a garden?”.

I first look at the link to the surrounding landscape: skyline, trees, architecture and local context. I then look for creating privacy, shelter from wind sun and rain by looking at the prevailing elements and a compass. Thinking about the sitting arrangements helps in defining a lot of the solutions for the above challenges. Positioning focal point plants helps not only in moving the eye across and creating a dynamic but also in incorporating scale and a link to the surroundings.

In terms of vegetation it is important to use species which are suitable to the site in terms of soil, sun and shade and providing food and a habitat for local fauna. It also serves educational purposes for children and the preservation of heritage in a native context. Because most of my work is in central London and a lot of my clients are foreign I try and create a balance in the plants by balancing native and foreign species. This gives me the opportunity to mix architectural, exotic foliage into more subdued European species.

How To Design A Garden

How To Design A Garden

In regards to surfaces and delineation of level changes I prefer simplicity and directional patterns as I favour a natural progression of ergonomics, ease of use and ease of maintenance. As I predominantly work in small urban spaces it is important to create clear contrasts that give good definition of spaces and provide good detail throughout. Detailing is important to not only add interest in the various layers of a design but also to weave some sort of a narrative into what otherwise can be dull and ordinary spaces – particularly when the weather is unfavourable.

In terms off accompaniments I always look into making sure the space is augmented with pots, sculpture, lighting, heating, cooking facilities, irrigation and the sound of water where desirable as these all add to the natural elements we all seek in an outdoor liveable space. Most of all I tailor those to each individual client – as at the end of the day, each client and each space is different and so each piece of work I am involved in should represent not only my style but also the client’s lifestyle, the site and our mutual love for gardens.

Amir Schlezinger Amir Schlezinger – Courtyard, Patio & Garden Design

After graduating from Middlesex University with a BA Honours in 2000, Amir has gone on to design over 200 projects in London as well as numerous projects around the country.

His well published domestic and corporate portfolio includes city patio, courtyard and larger family gardens. Added to this is his speciality, roof terrace and garden design.

To view more information about Amir and view more of his inspirational designs, visit mylandscapes

Category: Expert Series