We thought it might be hard for landscape designer Robert Myers to encapsulate the gold-medal winning garden he designed for the 2010 RHS Chelsea Flower Show in just one word. How do you describe something that is at once lively and peaceful, colourful and monochromatic, wild and orderly? When he answered “elegant” we were a bit surprised, but as we explored the elements of his design—one where even the shadows were planned—we had to agree.
The garden’s benefactor, Cancer Research UK, chose the theme Enlighten to celebrate how its work has increased our knowledge and understanding of the causes, diagnoses and treatments of cancer. “All the elements of the garden work together to represent this theme, exploring the physical, spiritual and intellectual aspects of the concept,” says Robert. “The garden was conceived as a journey toward enlightenment, using transitions of texture, colour, contrast and light.”
With that in mind, we’ve chosen some key trends from this award-winning garden to help bring some of that deliberate, harmonious elegance to your own backyard.
1. A place for contemplation
Sitting around a bonfire is one of the great outdoor experiences. Here, Robert updates the concept for an urban space by providing seating around a warm-weather reflecting pool.
2. Zen reflection
Small reflecting pools, a staple of Asian-themed gardens, are scattered throughout Robert’s grove to bring a sense of peace and calm to the space. Water lilies stand in for lotus flowers, which are symbols of enlightenment.