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design & words Amir Schlezingeramir schlezinger

Contemporary Planting

Plants make gardens, plant life is the garden, and greenness forms landscapes, while effective, inspiring and sensory planting schemes sustain not only invigorating foliage and colour, but also the wildlife which renews these vital environments. Whether cleanly architectural, wildly rural, or sculpturally miniaturised, the richly planted gardens, roof terraces and large-scale landscapes we design and build convey enduring planting ideas with infinite combinations, interpretations, juxtapositions and varying growing conditions. Yet, all contemporary garden designers, London landscapers and garden owners, no matter what approach they may portray, derive their insight, planting ideas, inspiration and soft landscaping legacy from one unbounded source – nature's wondrous ecology and its flawless organic balance.

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1. design 2. upkeep 3. context 4. ecology 5. diversity 6. durability 7. organicity 8. cultivation 9. seasonality 10. conservation

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1 design

Core elements: suitable growing medium, appropriate stabilisation, site applicability, ground preparation, logistic access, mulching. Soft landscaping: Agapanthus, Agave, Astelia, Bamboo, Birch, Eucalyptus, Ferns, Grasses, Olive, Magnolia, Palms, Phormium, Pine, Yucca. Central ideas: architectural outlines, sculptural foliage, clear definition and distinct contrast. Design essentials: underplanting and ground cover accentuation, glossy, variegated foliage balanced with deciduous forms, bark patterns, contrastive scale, complementary lighting.

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2 upkeep

Core elements: ample ground cover with en masse and integrated monoculture, moisture conservation, unfussy resilient floras, slow-growing species, well-selected, well-matched and well-sited plants. Soft landscaping: Acorus, Beschorneria, Buxus, Carex, Cercis, Cornus, Cotoneaster, Dicksonia, Ginkgo, Libertia, Pittosporum, Pseudopanax, Trochodendron. Central ideas: hedge designs, simplified layouts, self-supporting attributes, robust hybrid cultivars, long-lived species. Design essentials: effortlessly prunable, accessible blueprints, well-irrigated infrastructure, site-oriented design selections.

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3 context

Core elements: microclimatic appropriateness, cultural relevance, architectural references. Soft landscaping: sustained methodology fusing an intuitive horticultural approach, hands-on experimentation and consistent specification in astutely utilising acid-loving, drought-tolerant, pollution-tolerant, shade-loving, sun-tolerant, wind-resistant and winter-hardy plant varieties in ideal environments. Central ideas: focal points, borrowed landscape, framed vistas, light reflection, well-balanced scale. Design essentials: contrast, form, intrigue, rhythm, scent, tactility, texture, shadows and light interplay.

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4 ecology

Core elements: habitat creation, native species integration, flexible maintenance strategies, copious shelter, diverse plant species. Soft landscaping: Alder, Dogwood, Elder, Field maple, Spindle, Hawthorn, Hazel, Holly, Rowan, Willow. Central ideas: valuable symmetry between a wildlife friendly mindset, ecological necessity and planting design naturality, alongside a contemporary, architectural framework. Design essentials: nectar-rich floras, broad-canopied treetops, berried woody plants, extended flowering seasons, edible gardens, flower meadows, natural water sources, hedging structures and nesting resources.

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5 diversity

Core elements: foliage, inflorescence, stem, bark and trunk variation, seasonal interlayers, distinct flora and broad habitat associations. Soft landscaping: varied planting mediums for optimal display, water management for oxygenating plants, elevated planting beds, drainage amelioration and soil conditioning to enable sufficiently cultivable settings. Central ideas: level changes and topographic maximisation, contrasting planting zones which vary in upkeep frequency. Design essentials: plant outline multilayering, shifting compositional clusters, multiform structural backdrops to provide further scope, augment, protect and highlight vegetal diversification.

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6 durability

sustainable gardens

Core elements: consistent maintenance, soil erosion management, overplanting vs. sparse layouts to ensure successful acclimatisation and long-lasting schemes. Soft landscaping: adequate growing space, efficient spacing, tweaking undergrowth density, effective monitoring of self-seeding species. Central ideas: establishing dynamic micro-ecosystems, associative plant networks, well-suited flora growth rate. Design essentials: companion planting associations, deciduous and evergreen harmonious proportionality, clustered symbiotic parity.

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7 organicity

Core elements: seasonal transition, deciduousness, biodiversity, foliar movement. Soft landscaping: natural forms emphasis, accent plants, grassy textures, naturalistic drifts. Central ideas: verdant leafiness infused with multicoloured nuances, producing a revitalising synthesis of silhouetted planting compositions, pure asymmetry and informality. Design essentials: tangible, multi-sensory landscape expressions of well-integrated, greenable outdoor areas with foliage groupings, in celebrating growth, renewal and decay of organic plant life.

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8 cultivation

Core elements: workable, cultivatable, gardenable and fitly plantable frameworks, introduction of apt species. Soft landscaping: skilful soil aeration, liberal surface mulching, accurate plant nutrition, wise weed control. Central ideas: balanced planting plans in ratio of large-scale, mature specimens to small-sized plants. Design essentials: selective itinerary mixing pot grown, bare root, field grown, semi-hardy, as well as tender plants, with a sound proportion of exotic to native species.

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9 seasonality

Core elements: planned and impromptu layering of horticultural continuity and seasonal interest among structural permanence and recurring focal points. Soft landscaping: Achillea, Allium, Angelica, Buddleja, Campanula, Digitalis, Echinacea, Hemerocallis, Hosta, Iris, Lavandula, Lavatera, Ligularia, Papaver, Penstemon, Primula, Salvia, Sedum, Thymus. Central ideas: well-expressed, scalable narratives of seasonal cycles, edibility, piquancy, wildlife significance, educational and continual outdoor social activities. Design essentials: cyclicality, perceptibility, perenniality and sheer open-airness, celebrated in the re-emergence of fresh leaflets, stalks and petals in a continuous transformation of a garden's soft landscape.

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10 conservation

Core elements: allocation of resources to collection of common, rare and endangered plant species, botanical research, expert propagation, glasshouse cultivation, extensive education and habitat renewal. Soft landscaping: passionate protection of native flora and fauna in wide-ranging conservation practices. Central ideas: creation of private and botanical gardens, preservation of rural landscapes and vital national parks to mitigate deforestation and habitat loss, when nearly half the species of Cacti, Cycads and Orchids are critically endangered. Design essentials: integration of worldwide flora, distinctive habitats and clear cultural nuances in a forward-looking, environmentally aware mindset, within the universal art of gardens and ecological science.

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– coda –

Foliaged Landscape

We strive to design natural planting schemes, congruous with their surroundings, where the distillation of landscape, flora, clients and planting ideas which nurture garden landscaping projects percolate across the aeons of time it takes a garden to mature and its makers traverse towards an enchanting equilibrium. These personal nuances of foliage, blooms, light and seasonal continuity are reflected in the thoughtful, delicate sculpturing of outdoor spaces, while carving out unique garden retreats, abuzz with leaflets, petals, trunks and crowns – the hallmarks of attentively cultivated landscapes, reshaped by a soothing canopy of sinuous, thriving, biodiverse soft landscaping.