Interior Designer Abigail Ahern shares her three rules for creating the perfect garden

The queen of maximalist interiors is coming for our exteriors - just in time for garden party season

Abigail Ahern garden tips
(Image credit: Rockett St George)

S/S '21 is the season of gardens. As lockdown restrictions continue to ease, these spaces are at the forefront of every social event, so it's even more important than ever to make sure their style mirrors the sophistication of our homes. 

It is, therefore, a blessing that esteemed British designer, author, and undisputable empress of maximalism, Abigail Ahern, has revealed her green-fingered side, and we couldn't be more thankful to receive her modern garden ideas. Her ingenious tips will turn your garden into a chic verdant haven just in time to impress all who pass through its gate. 

After recently sharing the glorious aesthetic of her (now, not so) secret garden on Instagram, Abigail offered an insight into her design process  – urging her followers to avoid a garden that showcases 'everything at once,' as the eye 'doesn't know quite where to look first,' meaning it 'feels tantalized.' Following this advice, Abigail offered her three expert garden tips exclusively to Livingetc, and you're going to wish you had known about these simple steps sooner. 

'Creating a garden that doesn't look overly busy but feels lush might sound like a challenge, but it's super easy if you take these simple rules into consideration,' Abigail shares.

Abigail Ahern' garden tips 

1. Limit the garden's color scheme

A chic exterior doesn't need to be complicated. In fact, according to Abigail, it needs to be quite the opposite. Rather than injecting a broad palette into your garden, the designer suggests limiting your spectrum to as little as three different hues. 

First and foremost, reduce the number of colors in the garden,' Abigail states. 

'This will make it feel far more sophisticated than you can even imagine. I stick to three colors: purples and lilacs, whites or creams and various greens,' she adds. 

See: 24 Small garden ideas - how to be stylish no matter how little your outdoor space

2. Find your favorite plants - then stick to them

When it comes to a garden, consistency is key. In case you need any more convincing to limit your plant species to the single-figures, Abigail highlights the words of the beloved gardening icon, Monty Don. 

'Constantly and repeatedly plant the same plants,' Abigail begins. 'The great Monty Don suggests using no more than nine plants in a garden, and this might sound restrictive, but if you loosely stick to that rule, it will make your garden feel so much more curated, rather than messy.'

'Plus, it means you can plant on mass the same type, and that always looks fabulous,' Abigail adds. 

Abigail Ahern garden tips, urban garden in London

(Image credit: Dobbies)

3. Consider the plant's texture  

'Lastly, when you're selecting plants, make sure you vary between feathery, smooth, glossy, matt textures. Then you have nailed it' shares, Abigail, on her final tip. 

See: Roof garden ideas: 21 fun and stylish ideas to make the most of your rooftop garden

'You need planting that moves and sways with the wind and feels wonderfully loose with more structural planting.' Abigail then similarly focused on the plant's structure, focusing on the importance of their height. 'The eye will immediately focus on the height - it becomes an instant focal point. So, any large plants in pots, such as shrubs or trees work wonders.'

As if we weren't already in debt to the designer for transforming our interiors, she's now saved our gardens too.

Megan Slack

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team.

Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US whilst studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site.

Megan currently lives in London, where she relocated from her hometown in Yorkshire. In her home, she experiments with interior design trends and draws inspiration from the home decor ideas she observes in her everyday work life. Her favorite pieces include her antique typewriter and her expansive collection of houseplants. When she isn’t writing, she is browsing London’s coffee shops and bookstores to add to her ever-growing library, taking over the open shelving in her apartment.