This time of year can be a bit bleak what with the cold and bitter weather conditions. You would be forgiven for wanting to forget the garden and hide under your duvet until the first signs of spring. However this is a good time of year to have a look at your garden through the eyes of a designer. They say that a good way to look at your outdoor space and its structure is to take a black and white photo of the garden. That way you can see the balance of evergreen and deciduous plants and look at the various heights and flows of the garden. “Without leaves on the trees it’s very easy to see where our holes are,” says Mary Ann Ryan, the extension consumer horticulture educator at Penn State. Ann comments further that with the black and white image you can “see where evergreens could be added or where there may be too much growth or plant material. Plant structure, branching habits, twisted stems and drooping branches all come into focus in a winter landscape.”

winter garden

Even when the garden is covered in snow it can still be a good time to take a good look at the topography of the land. You will be able to see clearly where the garden lacks height or is perhaps too busy and also get a good idea of where the gaps are. This overview of the garden design is something that you don’t often get a chance to do in the sunnier or busier months so take the chance while you can. The lack of time at other times in the season may be the best reason to take a little stroll through your garden in winter so that you can take stock of its current design. Maybe now is a good time to kick-start your imagination and start to picture new plants or garden structures around the garden. Maybe even some new garden furniture! We know where you can look for some great deals on Rattan Garden Furniture! Maybe I will resist the urge to link to our home page! Hopefully you all know where the best deals in rattan furniture are by now. Enough about furniture, lets get back to the garden design. I often seem to stray onto garden furniture. It must be the businessman in me! As you stroll through the garden in the winter months it may be a good idea to make some notes or even use the internet to get some fresh ideas. Some of the planting ideas or even new garden structures ideas may not be able to be put into practice straight away. It’s handy to make some notes so that your memory is jogged a few months from now. Doing the research now while you have a chance will make you much better prepared for the spring. It may even help while away the long cold winter nights.

SentebaleYou could try and get a sneak preview at this years Chelsea flower show gardens for some inspiration for your garden designs. This time of year is frantic for the design guru’s getting ready for the Chelsea flower show. Price Harry’s charity, Sentebale has just released their garden design for the upcoming Chelsea show. Head designer of the Sentebale garden and head designer of the White Waltham based landscaping firm Rosebank is Matt Keightley. Matt designed last years help for hero’s garden. This years garden is called ‘Hope in Vulnerability’ and will represent the experience of the children living with HIV that the Sentebale charity help to support. The charity focus on providing heath care and education to children suffering from HIV.

Do you still grow your own Veg? Another good source of information about garden design trends are the garden experts on the BBC. The BBC has long been a great source for all things gardening and this year is no different. According to Chris Beardshaw, co presenter of BBC2’s Great Garden Revival, this years garden designs will be influenced by several years of wet weather.Chris Beardshaw “There’s a real awareness of the challenges of the weather,” he says. “We’ve gone through that period where we thought it was going to get hotter and buying phormiums and cordylines and then finding that the winter killed them. “People are going back to much more resilient planting types. “We often put shrub roses with clematis and an underscore of bulbs to give the three hits of interest. People are becoming aware that one plant doesn’t necessarily cover all bases and are adopting a more refined approach to planting.” “People want the garden to respond to the seasons - and the plants have to respond to that.” Chris thinks that the trend for growing your own veg is on it way down. People have realized that it is not quite as easy as it looks. I think he may be onto something with that last comment. I must admit that I have given up on my little veggie patch for the last couple of years. That said the very fact that he says it is not as popular as it once was has made my want to start up again! I can still remember the spring onions! You don’t get flavor like that from the supermarkets do you? So as you wander around the garden taking notes on design and structure maybe give a little thought to the allotment. Do you fancy some home grown veg this summer? You may be against the trend but there is nothing better than a bit of home grown veg.   Garden-Bridge

Garden over the river Thames anyone?

When I was doing some research into garden designs and tips for this time of year I couldn’t help but be distracted by the garden bridge idea. Have you seen or heard about this? The Garden Bridge is an idea first dreamt up by Joanna Lumley and Thomas Heatherwick with the able assistance of Dan Pearson in the planting department. The basic idea is to build a bridge over the Thames and create a garden. Sounds fantastic to me. Sounds to me like it could be a little Oasis in the heart of the big city.  Not everyone likes the idea mind you, here's what the RSPB's makes of it...click here.

London has always been at the heart of new ideas and innovation. Of course there are always the naysayers and those that are scared of change. I say embrace the new ideas and run with it. We did it with the Olympics didn’t we? We had thousands going online to predict disaster before the opening ceremony of the London Games and they proved them all wrong. I think the same could be true of the garden bridge. Yes it is unusual but there is nothing wrong with that. Anyway I find the whole idea fascinating and in its own way inspirational. Check out this article for more information on the Garden Bridge.

  Back to Garden Design   The garden bridge idea may be a little grand for your garden but try to think big when thinking of your own garden design. Did you see the Alan Titchmarsh Tv Program the other day on exotic gardens. (Britain's Best Back Gardens (8pm) ITV) I loved the tropical garden in surrey. Somehow he had created a little bit of Bali in his own garden. He had let his imagination get the better of him and it really worked. Obviously he was an expert gardener as there is no way you could just throw this sort of thing together but nevertheless it gave me a little inspiration for my own outdoor spaces.   What about the patio furniture?   Last but not least in the overall Garden design is your garden furniture. What to go for and where to put it. I must admit that it is a little tricky at this time of year to consider the garden furniture, as the weather is so cold and not exactly suitable for sitting outside. As with all these things however buying items out of season could save you a very tidy sum so it is always worth having a little look. My wife has this week bought both my children swimming costumes for this years summer holiday! Less then half price! I am never this organized but if you are the type to look out for out of season bargains then get to work on your outdoor furniture. Deluxe_Madrid_rattan_garden_sofa_setHere at Zebrano we have a couple of amazing deals for the early bird. This week we put the Deluxe Madrid sofa suite down to just £450. This suite comes with two arm chairs, one coffee table, one footstool as well as a two seater sofa. If a rattan sofa suite is going to be on your shopping list this spring then it could be just the time to invest. Its not just the rattan sofa suites that we have on sale. You can get one of our rattan dining suites that seat from two up to twelve. Obviously we focus on rattan garden furniture here at Zebrano but if rattan is not your thing then take a look around the internet for your preferred style. Having spent fifteen plus years in the garden furniture arena I can assure you that we are not the only ones to be having a sale on now. Everyone from teak garden furniture to wooden or even plastic outdoor furniture companies will be having a sale at the moment.   Why the big sales in Garden Furniture?   There are three big reasons for the current sales in the garden furniture business. Firstly it is out of season and everyone loves a few out of season sales. Businesses in the patio furniture world do not expect sales in the bleak mid winter so any money coming in is most welcome. So reason one is generating sales out of season.   Secondly garden furniture companies will still have stock left over from last year so any sales made now feels like free money. If you buy a piece of furniture the company you buy it off may not need to buy it in. They may already have it in stock and therefore the entire sale price goes straight in the bank. That means that they can sometimes sell items for less than they paid for it! Sounds mad but sometimes cashflow is king so keep a look out for out of season sales.   The third reason, and this one is the main reason for the current Zebrano sale is new stock arriving. We have hundreds of containers of furniture on order and of course you can’t land every one of them on the 1st March when the season kicks of. Therefore we have to stagger our containers throughout the year so that the warehouse can handle the stock. This in turn means two things. Firstly that we have new stock arriving everyday, even in January! Secondly we have stock arriving later but would prefer to know that some of it is pre sold. So long story short we can allocate stock to you even before it arrives in the country!   I think it is fair to say that if you like a discount and would like to save several hundred pounds on garden furniture then now is the time to buy. I think it is also fair to say that now is a good to time consider your options as far as garden design is concerned. I think the black and white photo in the snow or the frost is a good tip and could make you view the garden in a new light.