The Garden Guide Series: Making Your Garden Great with Annie Guilfoyle


We’ve recently launched a season-long series of garden guidance, with each conversation led by an esteemed horticulturalist who’ll give valuable tips, tricks, and plant knowledge across a variety of topics. Up first we’ve invited Annie Guilfoyle, a West Sussex-based garden designer, to talk with us at our Devon, PA location on Monday, July 29th, about the ways in which you can achieve a unified, harmonious garden by tailoring simple design principles to your space. We chatted with Annie ahead of her lecture to learn more about her background, the key tenets of good design, and how small changes can make a big impact in the garden.

terrain: Thank you so much for chatting with us, Annie! To start, could you tell us a little bit about your background and what you’re currently up to?

Annie: I’ve been a garden designer for thirty years and have a degree in garden design. I’m based in West Sussex, one hour south of London, and run my design studio from there! In addition to designing gardens for my clients, I’m also involved with horticultural education and help with programming the garden courses at West Dean College in West Sussex. I also teach a nine month course at Great Dixter. And around your way in Pennsylvania, I run a garden design master class at Chanticleer each year. I consider myself so lucky to be able to teach there, it is heavenly!

terrain: We’re looking forward to having you at our Devon location later this month. You’re hosting a talk called What Makes Your Garden Great—can you tell us what a “great garden” means to you?

Annie: Yes! Designing a great garden means analyzing the main principles of design and exploring them for yourself. For example, it’s easy to be seduced into planting the wrong plants for your site because you like their look or size. Thorough research is vital! Having a good understanding of your particular site and knowing what plants will thrive in your specific garden is so important. Keeping things simple is the key to a good design. It’s always better to edit your ideas! 

terrain: Do these simple design principles have to be major changes? Or do you feel like you can improve a garden design with small updates too?

Annie: Often, making subtle changes to your garden can make the biggest impact! Again, simplicity is an important element in design but can be hard to achieve. It’s always difficult to know when to draw the line, how to achieve interest in your garden without overdoing it and ending up with a garden that feels unrestful. Unity and harmony will ensure that your garden works but how do you achieve this? There are so many ways to make your garden work, whether it’s the colors you choose or the materials you use. During my talk, I’ll also be sharing ideas on how to achieve a sense of balance in your garden—it’s another key ingredient that’s integral to so many aspects of design.

Feeling inspired to spruce up your outdoor space? There’s still some seats left at Annie’s Garden Guide conversation at Devon! Click here to get your ticket.

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