Garden living – a Q&A with award-winning landscape designer Charlotte Rowe

Summer is upon us and it’s time to head outdoors; maximise your summer living with a full garden refresh to bring the inside out. Whether you have acres to play with or are working with something a little more modest, there are clever tips and tricks to work with what you’ve got and make a wow-worthy space to impress all summer long. So where to start…? We’re not claiming to be green-fingered gurus so to help us on our way we chat to award-winning garden designer Charlotte Rowe.

From an established career in marketing and public relations Charlotte retrained as a landscape designer and set up her design studio in 2004. Since the she has worked on over 200 urban and rural design projects for clients both in the UK and overseas including an olive estate in Northern Italy, a Moroccan style garden in California and roof terraces in Manhattan. But it’s perhaps her townhouse and roof terrace designs that she’s best known for. With a trademark eye for strong architectural form, clean lines, good lighting and careful detail and styling, we couldn’t think of a better source to point us in the right direction for getting our green spaces ship shape for the season.

Charlotte, over to you…

How did you first get into garden design?
I had been in marketing and communications at a senior level for much of my career – my last role was as Director of Communications for the Mayor of London and I decided to retrain as a landscape designer. I had long had an interest in architecture, design and gardens.

You’ve created over 200 striking gardens for spaces big and small – how do you approach each project with a fresh mind?
Each site is different and each client wants different things so we always start from that basis. There is a Charlotte Rowe style and approach but we do change details, materials and planting each time.

For complete gardening novices where is the best place start for a simple, achievable garden overhaul?
Just keep it simple, do not use too many different materials, colours or plant species.

What is the best way to refresh garden furniture for the new season?
Change the colour of your cushions.

What is your preferred material for garden furniture that will withstand the test of time?
Either timber or some of the really wonderful outdoor fabrics you can now get.

Do you have any go-to tricks that will instantly lift a garden design?
Good garden lighting doubles the life and enjoyment of a garden.

How can those with small gardens and balconies maximise the space?
It is even more important to design small garden spaces well to maximise the space available. This might include careful division of the space, in-built seating or carefully selected outdoor furniture.

Describe your gardening style in three words…
Architectural, richly planted, detailed

If you could design a garden for any space in the world, where would it be and why?
How about the Palace of Versailles? Always thought it needed a few tweaks! If that is not possible, No 10 Downing Street.

Who would be your dream client?
Christian Lacroix

Do you have any garden-related guilty pleasures!?
No guilty pleasures no!

Q&A Copyright Charlotte Rowe Garden Design, April 2017

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