In Scandinavia,

the summer doesn’t last long – in some of the more northern areas it’s basically July and August – and so the temptation for most natives is to spend as much time outdoors as physically possible. This means that a lot of Nordic gardens are as functional as they are decorative. If you’re after a Nordic garden, there are some essential elements that you can bring in to make it happen.

Up your outdoor game

Think about the indoor rooms that you use the most – kitchen, bathroom and even a bedroom – and work out a way to bring it outdoors. Don’t stop at the gas-fired barbie, create a lean-to kitchen with shelves and hooks for plates and other implements. Plan to spend more time out there by making a shade or a canopy – after all, there’s no shortage of sunshine in Oz!

Recycle materials

Old planks of wood can become those shelves for the outdoor kitchen, or you can upcycle an old wooden bench and table. Think about how you can use less plastic.

Use natural colours

There’s been a tendency in recent years to use vibrant and unnatural colours outside. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course, but you’ll lose your Nordic-cred if you don’t stop! Try greens, gentle reds, whites and even greys to blend in with nature. The same goes for things like fences and paths – no luminous paths and metal fences – think about how you can under-engineer these features.

Let your garden breathe

Don’t box or fence it in; don’t try to prune hedges and shrubs into unnatural shapes – let them do their own thing. Let a few stray blooms grow from cracks and don’t be in such a hurry to snip off dead-heads.

Work with your garden

Whatever your soil is like, and whatever your light is like, there will be some plants that just love it and need very little cajoling to flourish. Focus on these (although you don’t actually need to focus…) and leave the ones that take up all your time because they can’t get along with your conditions.

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