Prairie Inspired

Some of the principles of Piet Oudolf’s Dutch inspired prairie planting can be used to spectacular effect in the Cotswold landscape suggests garden designer, Jonathan Siarl.

Begin with a strong design

Planting is important but it’s like the icing on a cake - it only works if all the other elements are in place. If you want to improve your garden it’s always tempting to rush to the planting stage but instead, ask yourself: What are you trying to achieve? Successful gardens combine the layout of a pattern on the ground with materials appropriate to their setting - great planting brings it all together. A space will only really sing if a strong design remains in place when all the planting is taken away.


Set the garden in the landscape

Prairie planting creates a stunning naturalistic effect, reminiscent of a meadow. It’s most effective on a large scale, usually in a back garden, hillside or bank but can also be used to create a border as small as 10x5 metres. Softness and movement is integral to the style so it sits well with old Cotswold stone in traditional gardens but can also be breathtaking with crisp white walls in a contemporary scheme.


Create year round interest

Using trees and evergreens to create structure and focal points, drifts of hardy ornamental grasses for movement and flowering herbaceous perennials as fillers gives a prairie inspired garden colour and form through all four seasons. Prairie planting is more muted in colour than a traditional cottage garden scheme with the grasses and seed heads bringing golden oat-like displays which last way past summer. Leave perennials uncut until late winter and they will create a magical, ethereal effect when the frosts come as well as encouraging all types of wildlife.


Plant in swathes

Planting clumps of 20 or 30 of the same species en masse creates a sense of depth and abundance to your space. Repeat planting adds a sense of unity, coherence and rhythm whilst also allowing variation.


Think in waves

Traditional border design aims to create an amphitheatre effect, with the tallest plants at the back and smaller ones in front. Instead, prairie planting is designed in sections creating more organic tiered waves which rise and fall in every direction.



Rune creates beautiful gardens of all styles for plots of five metres square upwards. To see more examples of our work please visit our website where you will find case studies and a range of testimonials. The design process begins with a free initial consultation during which we visit your garden and discuss your needs. To book yours please call us on:
01905 841405
, 01451 861776 or 07908 734 022.




  • Got a good response from the last editorial, four definite jobs.
    Richard Mercer, Waterstone
  • We’ve had a great response to our advert. We’re really happy with the business it’s bringing in.
    Abbey Cleaning Services
  • I get so much business from the magazines because they reach precisely the audience I need to communicate with.
    Sarah Jane Smith, Back On Track Chiropractic
  • Every time a magazine is issued we take on at least five new clients.
    Bredon Hill Cleaning Services
  • The magazines have done the job of bringing in telephone calls. The format has worked well for us and we're glad to support it.
    LC Millar & Sons, Kemerton


  Tweets by @LisaLambon