5 Top Garden Design Tips with Annie Guilfoyle

Annie Guilfoyle Garden Design

Garden Designer Annie Guilfoyle joined us virtually in December to discuss how to begin the garden design process and getting to grips with your signature style.

Annie is also a lecturer at West Dean College, nestled within the impressive West Dean Estate and surrounded by beautifully restored gardens. For Annie, this has proved to be an inspirational and creative place to work and study.

Here are some of Annie’s top techniques when approaching your garden and the design aspects.


There might be temptation to delve into the most difficult and intricate designs to feel unique and interesting. However, simplistic designs can have a beautiful effect on the surrounding landscape. Keeping plans simple with clean lines and repetitive planting ultimately creates less work for you but still produce beautiful results.

Unity and Harmony

Ideally, you want your garden to pull all the elements of your design together in order to create unity and harmony. Repetition of particular shapes and colours can enhance this idea. Also consider limiting your colour palette to 3 main colours. Whether it is a large or smaller sized garden, the continuation of similar tones draws the space together and gives it a certain ‘rhythm’.


Something some people might struggle with and can be slightly daunting. Scale introduces the notion of structures, terraces and paths into your garden design. Achieving the correct scale ratios in your scheme is essential and Annie advises to make plans and models, this is not a time to be slap-dash.


Balance within a garden can apply to various aspects such as sunny or shady spots, colour and calming contrasts, hard landscaping and wild untamed areas. Finding the right balance depends on what you intend to use the space for. Will it be for relaxing? Is it for functional growing? This should be established early on, as it will direct the entirety of the project throughout.

Don’t forget to incorporate your own style. It’s important to have a garden that reflects your personality for you to fully enjoy it.

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