Inside Designer's Garden's - Katie Townsend

Posted by Amber Williams on 16th Aug 2023

Inside Designer's Garden's - Katie Townsend

Remember the talented garden designer, Katie Townsend? Her prowess, both in Edinburgh and the surrounding areas, provides her clients with outstanding gardens that they can enjoy for years to come. But what about her own garden? Our 'Inside designer's garden's' blog series gives an inside look to their carefully curated gardens. 

Let's dive in, shall we?

Hi Katie! First off, what was your inspiration for your garden?

I wanted to create a cottage garden and a natural vibe – both in how it looks and feels. Naturalistic planting makes sense to soften the level changes in the garden which are 2+m from the highest point to the house level. Most of the planting is pollinator-friendly and there are several wild areas in the garden – deliberately left and some not!

What’s your favourite area of the garden?

The top seating area is surrounded by gorgeous planting and is a real sunny green haven where you can just sit and take it all in. The bed around the front of the seating is full of grasses and is used for seasonal bulbs (snowdrops, tulips, and alliums), summer annuals, and long flowering perennials to give all-year-round interest, colour and structure. A great place for experimenting with new planting combos!

Katie's Garden Design

We live on the steepest residential street in Edinburgh, so the garden is over three levels to manage the hill. It was a challenging build but by maximising the space on each level, we’ve created a functional garden that’s lovely to sit and be in. The garden backs straight onto Edinburgh Zoo and the penguins, parrots and lions provide an interesting daily soundtrack.

We are really lucky to have a lovely 1930s brick wall along the back of the garden which provides an amazing backdrop and foil to planting. The aim of the garden has been to maximise planting while balancing out the dog and two teen footballers – we have 3 football goals! (on the plus side, our old trampoline went to the trampoline park in the sky last year!)

We are lucky to have a multi-aspect garden so have sun (when it shines!) and shade throughout the day. Deep borders are the order of the day so that we can really layer and maximise the planting throughout the garden.

What are your favourite plants that you've grown in the garden?

Image: Just a few of the plants grown in Katie's garden over summer. 

I have four Amelanchier lamarkii multi-stem trees which I planted at the end of last year to replace a tree and other planting that we had to take out. I love the structure and colour they bring into the garden - every garden needs a tree, no matter how small the space!

Grasses – Stipa tenuissima, Stipa Gigantea, Miscansus Klein Fontane – these grasses add lovely movement to the garden - Edinburgh is a windy city! They’re also the perfect partner for a lot of other plants throughout the year and lovely for winter interest.

Hydrangea Annabelle and Limelight – they come into their own at this time of year and love a blousy hydrangea flower!

Cephalaria gigantea and Verbena bonariensis – I’ve planted more of both this year to repeat around the garden. I love the airy height on them both and bees love them too.

Nepeta – again, I have a lot of this repeated around the garden. It's a lovely partner for other planting, I have smaller varieties like Walker’s Low for the front of my borders and larger varieties like ‘Six Hills Giant’ at the back and to fill the gaps.

Do you have any future goals for your garden?

Once the football area is no longer needed (years in the future!) I’d like to create a courtyard or gravel garden.

What’s your favourite garden trend that you’ve seen recently that you’d love to implement in your own?

It's less a trend and more of a movement, but I really want to dedicate an area of the garden to a wildlife meadow. We are about to do some work to our front garden so this would be the ideal area – watch this space.

Katie Townsend is a talented garden designer, working with clients in Edinburgh and the surrounding areas. Learn more about Katie and her services on her website, or follow what she's up to on her Instagram.

Did you enjoy Katie's garden tour? We toured London-based designer, Georgia Lindsay's garden earlier this year.