Lifestyle Gardens: real gardens for real people

Four unique garden designs provided inspiration for getting the best from outdoor spaces

The Lifestyle Gardens category (new for this year) at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show featured gardens designed to resonate with different lifestyles and reflect the owner's personality and way of life. The category was ideal for visitors wanting ideas to create a garden at home to fall in love with. 

The RHS is committed to inspiring new talent and encouraging more young people to pursue a career in horticulture. To mark 100 years since women were given the right to vote, four up-and-coming female designers were invited to design gardens in this year's Lifestyle Gardens category. 

The Health and Wellbeing Garden

Designer Alexandra Noble inspired deep thinking and a sense of being in the moment with her Health and Wellbeing Garden

Visitors to the garden could move through the space via a continuous path, which looped around the garden with no start or end point. Benches encouraged others to sit and enjoy the beauty of the space and see subtleties such as plants moving in the breeze and backlit petals. All plants selected in the garden had medicinal, edible or fragrant properties to heighten the senses. 

Take home tips:

  • Include a place to sit and surround the area with soft planting that envelopes and comforts you
  • Create a circular or meandering path - encouraging you to walk and forget your thoughts

The Entertaining Garden

A space ideal for socialising with friends was the intention of the Entertaining Garden by designer Anca Panait. Celebrating Gin - the nation's favourite drink - the garden used a range of traditional and more unusual botanicals grown alongside a copper bar, resonating the distillery process and perfect for entertaining on a long summer’s evening. Angelica, fennel and poppies created a relaxing and romantic atmosphere while artemisia in combination with rosemary and lavender brought a Mediterranean feel.

Take home tips:

  • Plant botanicals and herbs such as angelica, fennel, lavender, rosemary and juniper
  • Use plants specific to a Mediterranean environment, which require minimal maintenance
  • Push your al fresco dining area deeper into the garden to reinforce the connection with nature

The Style and Design Garden

Ula Maria created a contemporary interpretation of an orchard in an urban setting with her Style and Design Garden. Reflecting an antiquarian's eccentric lifestyle, her bricolage world embraced contemporary materials, cosmopolitan plants and a balance between old and new - transporting the visitor outside the garden's busy urban setting to a therapeutic environment.

Take home tips:

  • Add personality through materials, plants and personal items - don't be afraid to reflect yourself in your garden
  • Mix old and new - reclaimed materials show the ability to find beauty in imperfection
  • Use characterful materials, such as the replica Victorian mosaic tiles

The Family Garden

Designer Lilly Gomm created a fun, functional and family-friendly garden, where the mentally strenuous aspects of life could float away. Inspired by the enchanting and long-lasting effect a garden can have on children, the Family Garden was a place for adults to unwind, children to explore and wildlife to thrive.

The design was relaxed, with a shaggy lawn surrounded by soft, informal planting. Visitors were immersed in nature, with much of the planting chosen to support and attract wildlife. Within the garden was a space for children to explore and learn about the environment.

Take home tips:

  • Provide shelter for wildlife - a beautiful place doesn't need to be pristine, create log piles or let your grass grow long
  • Limit or remove hard landscaping - allowing animals to thrive and water to drain away
  • Plant fruit trees - perfect for wildlife and fulfilling for the whole family (who doesn't like an apple straight off the tree?)

Discover the Hampton Court A - Z show garden guide

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.