Chelsea Flower Show award winner Kate Gould on how to create your own sanctuary garden

Princess Beatrice arrives to Chelsea Flower Show

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Garden designer Kate Gould won an impressive three awards at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The garden won Best Sanctuary Garden, Best Construction in the Sanctuary Garden category and Gold. The garden, named “Out of the Shadows” is a contemporary, wellness and lifestyle-themed Sanctuary Garden inspired by post-pandemic life.

Post-pandemic gardens are working harder than ever with many across the country not only housing plants but office pods, outdoor kitchens and spaces to socialise, eat, workout and entertain.

Kate’s “Out of the Shadows” garden is small – just 10m by 10m – but packs a huge punch, offering visitors a place to relax, exercise, meditate and revitalise the body and mind.

The contemporary garden features a a state-of-the-art Jacuzzi® Swim Spa for exercising, a space for seating and relaxation, climbing bars, and a space to meditate and do yoga among green, leafy planting.

The swim spa has been cleverly placed inside natural wood decking, allowing the Jacuzzi to seamlessly blend into the surroundings.

The garden combines stunning design, functionality and harmony.

For those inspired to create their own sanctuary garden at home, Kate spoke exclusively to to share her tips.

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Kate assured gardeners that they can create “anything they want at home on a smaller scale”.

She continued: “You can take any idea you want from Chelsea, whether it’s a bit of planting, or a type of stone. You can just create what you want.

“A lot of the planting that you see, if you had a large enough container, you could plant in that. It doesn’t have to be a full-on garden.

“You could put a water feature in a pot rather than a great big trough.

“Most of the small gardens are better if you go big rather than small. It’s better to be bolder and have one really lovely thing in a big pot rather than lots and lots of little things.

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“Lots of little things tend to look really cluttered.

“Whereas one big thing can look bold and dramatic and you can put a light underneath it.

“Then you’ve got enough room to put a table and chairs or a yoga mat or whatever you want to do in your garden.”

Kate said when it comes to planting, green is the “calmest of colours”.

If you’re looking for something soft and meditative then a leafy palette is the easiest and the easiest to look after.

The “Out of the Shadows” garden contains a lot of ferns because there’s plenty of shade at the back.

Kate said ferns are “brilliant” because they’re textural and “easy to care for”.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden also contains lots of evergreens with shiny leaves.

“These add lightness to a darker, green scheme. If you have a fern with a matte leaf and an aspidistra with a shiny leaf, the two contrast each other and look really good,” she added.

Not all evergreens flower but some varieties do in either the shade or the sun.

Many of the varieties that don’t can make a garden look lush and green throughout the year.

Kate added: “Don’t think that everything has to be super colourful the whole time. Green as a backdrop is lovely and is a foil for whatever you want to put against it.”

Those with limited space can embrace container gardening.

Kate suggested having a large pot with only an evergreen in it and a smaller pot with just colour in it.

Herbs and vegetables can also be planted in pots which adds colour while being functional.

Another way to add a sanctuary feel to a garden is to add a water feature.

However, adding a water feature can be difficult, with water and sunlight often producing algae.

Kate said gardeners should ensure they have a good pump with a good filter or going for a natural pond which can be left to settle.

For those wanting something slick and modern, gardeners are best investing in a kit or a specialist to create one for them.

“They are really tricky,” Kate added.

A sculpture, a piece of art or an interesting piece of driftwood can have a similar impact without the “hard work” of a water feature.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show coverage can be streamed on BBC iPlayer.

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