My cunning plan – The story so far!

Mood Board

Mood Board

I have been busy working on a voluntary project, to design a garden for a local Health Centre. From these “Before” pictures, you can see what I have had to contend with! “Tombstone City” is how the Chairman of the Patient Commitee introduced it!



If you read my first post on the project, you will know the ideas I was playing with – A “Healing Garden”, with medicinal herbs and plants, A “Memory Garden” with roses and plants donated in memory of loved ones, and a “Serene Garden”, designed as a calm, relaxing space. I opted for the latter.

As you can imagine, drawing up the initial base plan was somewhat on the tricky side – an intricate design to say the least! Lack of funds meant the layout had to stay. My brief was to design the planting for the area. Yes, you are right! Not only is it an uninspiring area of bark-covered membrane, it is also littered with dead tree stumps and drainage covers! I was worried I had volunteered too quickly! You can imagine my relief when I was told they were to employ a gardener to clear the area. As if the clean-up op wasn’t daunting enough, there is no direct outdoor access. It all would have to be removed through the building. (The garden is situated in an internal quadrangle.)

On to my task! I planned to solve the drain cover problem, by incorporating them into a path of stepping stones through Prairie-style planting, to disguise them to some extent. All the boulders would be recycled and employed in the new scheme.

I would use lots of grasses, for their calming movement and sound. Scent would also be an important feature. The colour scheme I chose was to be white, for its cool, calming effect, and yellow, as it is cheerful and uplifting. The second photo shows a perfect spot for a seating area – sheltered, backed by a brick wall, and in full sun. This would be the white, scented garden, with roses and lavender, backed by the beautiful, white climber Trachelospermum. Oh, and, of course, a bench! The main bed in first photo was to have the prairie planting of grasses and mainly yellow flowers, with hints of blue/purple for contrast and depth. The smaller beds would have mass planting of grasses. All chosen to grow easily, with the minimum of maintenance.

With my ideas formed, it was time to put pencil to paper.

First, was to create a Mood Board, to try to convey to the Commitee, the essence of the garden, which is what you see at the top of this post. I did with it a written outline of what I planned, along with a picture Plant List, to give some idea of the planting I was considering.

So then came the main Outline plan.


Once happy with that, I moved on to the Planting plan, complete with plant list, plant availability, costings, (which incidentally, was on target!) and, to round it off, a care plan. I added into this the possible next step, of adding bulbs to the scheme in autumn, suggesting that these could be donated by staff/ patients, with the aim of encouraging their participation in the garden.

This has all now been submitted. The next Commitee meeting is at the start of May, so now it’s the waiting game!

8 thoughts on “My cunning plan – The story so far!

  1. Cathy

    What a nice project to be involved in – did they ask for a volunteer or did you put the idea to them? The planting sounds lovely and I look forward to seeing the result as I am sure the Committee will be all for it. It’s good that there are funds available for a scheme like this

  2. thelonggardenpath Post author

    It came about in conversation about the project, and I thought ” Why shouldn’t I offer to design it?”. That’s how it came about! I’m really keen for some “After” photos! I’ll definitely be showing them off!

  3. angiesgardendiaries

    I do hope your plans are accepted – I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for you.
    A good idea re bulbs – encouraging others to be involved will, I’m sure, be beneficial to it’s success.

  4. thelonggardenpath Post author

    Thank you! I will keep you up to date with developments! As all the money for this is to come from fund-raising, I thought the bulb idea might be a way to help with the planting, by encouraging people to participate and donate some. We’ll see!

  5. Annette

    That looks really promising! I like the moodboard and notice you’re also talented at drawing which helps big time. So looking forward to seeing how this project develops! It must be very exciting for you too 🙂

  6. thelonggardenpath Post author

    Thank you! Not so sure I’m talented at drawing (I’m more a factual person from a science background) so the artistic side is a huge learning curve. My design training has obviously taught me something after all! So thanks for the compliment! Yes, I’m finding this new challenge very exciting! Will keep you posted.

  7. Chloris

    Wow, this sounds like an amazing project. I have only just come across this, as for some reason your posts haven’ t been showing up in my reader. I must read on and see how the project has been developing.

  8. thelonggardenpath Post author

    Yes, I’m quite excited by it all! My first real design project! I’m hoping to have more progress reports soon. As for my posts not showing up, hope you don’t mind me saying, but you no longer show as “following” me, if that’s a clue.


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