As headline partner at BBC Gardeners’ World Spring Fair, held at Beaulieu in Hampshire between 29th April to 1st May 2022, we have created a beautiful garden display to provide visitors with ideas that they can use in their own garden. The design for the Hillier Experience is focused on the way two gardening schemes merge, offering a range of garden inspiration. The garden display highlights both a contemporary garden, showing clean lines and a traditional English garden with herbaceous planting that we all know and love.

Here, we explore the thoughts and specifics behind the design and offer guidance on how you can attain both themes within your own outdoor space.

Traditional Meets Contemporary

The possibilities of garden design are endless and to settle upon one certain theme no longer seems quite so simple. There are a lot of factors to consider when designing a garden: the size of the space, the colour scheme and, arguably the most important, what will the garden be used for?

Blending styles together will not only form a dramatic and inspiring impact but it can also offer the best of both worlds. By combining the two, you can achieve the clean, social aspect through outdoor living and stylish, sleek impressions of the modern with the vibrancy, comfort and familiarity of the traditional.  

The Traditional Garden

The traditional garden reflects upon the much-loved old English style, bursting with a rainbow of beautiful scent and flora. Drawing on the quintessential and relaxed elements of the traditional with inspiring historical highlights, it’s the place where you can sit, relax and appreciate the romance and whimsicalness of the style.

This space features a beautiful herbaceous border, filled with bright and stunning colour, to welcome the spring season. Taking you on a journey around the colour wheel, a wonderful variety of shrubs, roses and intersected plants of the same colours create the seamless transition through the border. Travelling through white and yellows to vibrant pinks, purples and red and concluding in the strong shades of russets and dark flora, the border houses and authentic Gertrude Jekyll design depiction. Clematis obelisks stand tall to help form the passage of vivacity, whilst Acers are used for height to help create the wave of colour. A Lutyens bench sits proudly in the traditional garden, correlating Edwin Lutyens’ imaginative and architectural sophistication with the emblematic Jekyll planting design that was instrumental in the arts and crafts movement.

Key Plants 

  • Clematis
  • Roses
  • Lavender
  • Peonies
  • Geum

The Contemporary Garden

The contemporary garden draws upon the structural designs that create an instant impact and the movement towards modern inspiration. Focusing on the possibilities of outdoor living with defined lines and clean composition, this is your space to entertain and enjoy the social side and uniformity of a contemporary garden.

This area features a beautiful cloud garden, filled with a range of green plants of several different sizes, to form the illusion. Topiarised into a uniform shape, each rounded plant integrates together to create a stunning and impactful display. With wonderful and regular plantings of phormiums and cordylines and fantastic highlights of the contemporary style through modern dining furniture, porcelain paving and oversized pots, this area feels fresh, slick and very sharp. A delicate wildflower meadow, with uniform edges and pruned hedging, creates a dynamic contrast in colour and appeal, while still maintaining the formalities of the contemporary display.

Key Plants

  • Pittosporum
  • Box
  • Wildflower
  • Phormium
  • Cordyline

Wildlife In Your Garden

Both the modern and contemporary areas have been designed with wildlife in mind, with a wildflower twist in the contemporary garden and many well-known plants for attracting pollinators in the herbaceous border.

Also included in the garden display to entice our fascinating wildlife, is an eco-friendly bug hotel that provides shelter for insects and highlights the benefits of upcycled and natural creations. Built using the materials around us – including old logs, moss, stones, sticks and bricks – bug hotels are a wonderful way you can extend you understanding of wildlife, add interest into your garden and provide a habitat for all the fantastic creatures.

Tips For The Home Garden

Along with inspiration for the contrast of themes and wildlife attraction, there are plenty of additional tips for visitors to The Hillier Experience to take away for their own gardens:

  • Remain conscious of the layout of your garden when positioning plants. Right plant, right place remains one of the most important gardening mantras for success!
  • A ‘random’ garden is one of the most frequently heard complaints people make about their own planting! While the reality is we all tend to buy things we like, which can create a bit of randomness, having an overall awareness of colour schemes and flower appearance can alleviate some of that sense of random planting
  • When designing herbaceous borders, play with height and colour variation and avoid making the border look too uniform as its important to develop a natural flow
  • Consider using plants in containers to easily change or update your look from year to year

With Thanks to Supporters of the Hillier Experience …