Home Garden Pro Tips by Chelsea Barracks Landscape Designer

chelsea barracks Mulberry Sq Gardens by Jo Thompson - home garden pro tips

Meet Jo Thompson the woman responsible for the planting of the currently open three garden squares at Chelsea Barracks in Belgravia; Mulberry Square, Whistler Square, and Bourne Walk. As UK’s premier landscape and garden designer with an A-list client list that includes the likes of Cate Blanchett and awards like an RHS Chelsea Flower Show gold medal, Jo is a master of her trade, to say the least. So, if you want a ‘Jo Thompson’ quality garden, read on and follow her home garden pro tips closely!

home garden pro tips by jo thompson top landscape designer and garden designer in uk - at chelsea barracks
Jo Thompson at Chelsea Barracks Mulberry Square Garden
(Photo by Sam Churchill)

10 Home Garden Pro Tips by Jo Thompson to Help You Create Your Dream Garden

Include Colour

Colour is known to be uplifting so include lots in your garden! The mere act of being outside and seeing the beauty of nature as a flower grows, blooms, fades, and then comes back the year after, is good for us. We purposefully included lots of reds, yellows, oranges, and blues in the planting for Mulberry Square at Chelsea Barracks in Belgravia to ensure the scheme was bright and mood-boosting for those walking through and around the gardens.

Chelsea Barracks by Qatari Diar with beautiful gardens with touches of color by Jo Thompson.
Chelsea Barracks by Qatari Diar with beautiful gardens with touches of color by Jo Thompson.
Photo by Jack Hobhouse on behalf of Squire & Partners17

Buy in 3s

When you’re starting out, get at least three of each variety of plant to create a sense of rhythm in your garden

Go Local

From a sustainability perspective, I would encourage you to make use of native species and buy your plants from small independent nurseries, where possible

Right Plant, Right Place

Get the right plant for the right place: a rose will prefer the sun whilst ferns like the shade, so have a think about the area you are going to plant and figure out if its essentially a sunny or a shady spot, and whether the ground is dry or wet or medium

Chelsea Barracks Mulberry Square garden by jo thompson
Chelsea Barracks Mulberry Square garden


Growing your own herbs and vegetables is incredibly satisfying, both literally and emotionally. There is nothing more exciting than planting a seed and seeing it grow into something which ends up on your plate. It’s also much easier than you think – you can even do it on your windowsill if you don’t have a garden using lots of empty pots from around the house

home garden pro tips from jo thompson leading landscape and garden designer
Jo Thompson

In terms of vegetables, think about what can’t you get hold of easily in shops, for example, I am currently growing lovage as I can never find it anywhere; the same goes for sorrel, which adds the most fabulous lemon flavour to sauces and soups

Carrots, potatoes, and onions are easy vegetables to start with in your garden, so try those first

Define the Goal of Your Garden

If you’re starting your garden design from scratch, think about who will be using the garden and how will you be using the garden (to mostly look at, to read a book in, for kids to play in, etc.) – this will determine whether you’ll need lots of lawn space, by utilizing a natural landscaping technique, what sort of seating space you’ll want and how much of the space can be taken up by planting.

Inside Outside: A Source of Inspired Garden Rooms

Mini Nature Reserves

Research has shown that private gardens in Britain cover an area bigger than all of the country’s nature reserves combined and could offer crucial resources for wildlife, so it’s important to think about how you can create mini-nature reserves in your garden too i.e. do you have space for a pond or a bird table or do you have the capability to make a hole in the fence/gate for hedgehogs

Comfort & Accessibility

Thought needs to be given to comfort and accessibility in a garden – seating needs to be inviting but also practical.

Managing Pests

You don’t have to use pesticides to get rid of pests, there are a few tricks I use to avoid needing to use chemicals in the garden… edge your beds/pots with copper tape, line the inside edges of the beds with wool pellets (which slugs hate), and you can also use a little copper mesh  ‘snail fence’.

Final Words of Wisdom

If you’re serious about gardening, absorb yourself in plant catalogues, visit gardens (when we can), and try to grow as much as you can from seeds to learn!