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The Entertainer’s Garden | Soft and Wild by Linda McKeown

The Entertainer’s Garden | Soft and Wild by Linda McKeown

A Soft and Wild space by Linda McKeown


‘Dividing your garden into separate zones that you can use at different times of the day really makes full use of your garden,’

says garden designer Linda McKeown.

She has taken advantage of this garden’s easterly aspect by including a patio space where the owners can enjoy early morning sun, a sunken patio with dining table that offers an enclosed space for entertaining throughout the day, and a raised platform at the back of the garden that provides a casual space to relax long into the evening. Naturalistic planting creates a sense of privacy for each of the spaces, with grasses and shrubs framing each area.

‘When planting your garden, place the largest plants – such as trees and hedges – first, then add climbers, followed by shrubs,’ says Linda. A clipped Box hedge (Buxus sempervirens), a line of upright grasses, or some topiary add structure and interest throughout the year. These can be interplanted with colourful perennials such as Primula x japonica, which starts flowering in April; Geraniums, which bloom throughout the summer; and Aster frikartii ‘Monch’, which shines in August and September.

‘Think about how plants perform through each season and how they will work together,’ Linda advises. If your garden is very small incorporate plants with two seasons of interest, such as Trachelospermum jasminoides (Star Jasmine), a climber with beautifully scented, star-shaped white flowers in summer. ‘This climber is evergreen but takes on striking shades of red in winter. It is happy in sun or partial shade so it is a versatile plant in the garden and as a climber it takes up less space, which is an added bonus in a small garden.’

This east-facing garden provides flexible spaces for easy entertaining.

All imagery courtesy of Bloom by Bord Bia. With kind thanks to Gemma Smyth at

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