Garden designer George Carter is noted for his witty and theatrical approach to garden design. A Chelsea Flower Show multiple gold medallist, he is currently working on the restoration of the gardens at the Royal Hospital at Chelsea, and has designed and made gardens for Burghley House and Penshurst Place, among other stately homes. He also designs exhibitions, including many at the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace.
In his new book, Garden Magic, George Carter reveals his much-coveted garden secrets – based on his own passion for exquisite 17th century formal garden design – made simple and accessible for all. Photographed at his Norfolk home, he not only shows how he created his own exceptional garden, but also demonstrates quick and easy ways for readers to emulate his style.
George Carter made his gate using different garden tools nailed into a frame.
A painted plywood arch; painting it a darker colour throws the lighter-coloured urn and the light garden beyond into relief. The larger the frame (even at the end of the garden), the more impact it will have. The urn is made from shuttering ply with simple applied three-dimensional detail which works particularly well at a distance.
A basic shed is given an architectural makeover with two ply pilasters and a shaped cresting to hide the roof line.
To complete the design, George Carter has added a painted shell detail, obelisks and pointy finials.
Lighting a garden transforms it into something magical. This outdoor wood chandelier hung with jar-like lamps with tea lights is one of the many lighting ideas in Garden Magic.
George Carter is a big fan of symmetry and formality in gardens; doors and windows act as the starting point for an axis, a frame or a view-stopper. Here, a small fountain with lead frostwork is at the centre of one of the transverse axes that run across his garden.
George Carter demonstrates how the rules behind the formal garden – symmetry, balance, simplicity – work just as well in smaller, modern spaces. He shows how using a modicum of work and a maximum of imagination (and a coat of paint!), everyday items from garden centres and chain stores, as well as found and natural objects, can be transformed into articles of charm and beauty. His unique ideas bring elements of theatre to any garden. There are sections on lighting, furniture, embellishments and containers, all accompanied by George’s own drawings.
GARDEN MAGIC – Making the Ordinary Extraordinary by George Carter
(Photographs by Harry Cory Wright) is £25. ISBN: 978-0957150058 Published by Double-Barrelled Books, 07765 242639