One of the first questions I always get asked early on in the process of working with a client is ‘ how long will it take for my garden to look good?’. It is completely understandable that the client wants to know when they are going to see the results of all the work and expense going on in their garden. That question is easier to answer when you are talking about hard landscaping as once it’s laid, it has an immediate impact. It’s slightly harder to answer when it comes to planting and soft landscaping.
With all the various garden programmes and garden shows like Chelsea et al, there is a tendency to want an ‘instant garden’ that will look good immediately. This is, of course, not impossible but it is a lot more expensive, as I will have to source mature plants which have been grown for 2-3 years on nursery for perennials and many more years for shrubs and trees. And time costs money!
Far better in my opinion is to plant up, in Autumn if possible, so that the plants can get their roots down when the soil is still warm and get off to a racing start in Spring. Then I can use either full 9cm pots or good sized 2l pots for perennials, which is my preference.
However, most clients have yet to realise the value of an Autumn plant out and so what is more typical is to be trying to get the plants in the ground as soon as the soil warms up again in Spring.
The pictures here show the evolution of a series of garden beds in a garden I designed on the Berkshire / Hampshire borders over a period of 15 months. Hopefully the answer to the question posed ‘how long will it take for my garden to look good?’ is: it will look better immediately, then even better after one season of growth and truly beautiful after a year.