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Moderation Or Aspiration, What Is Your Approach?

July 14th, 2021 | 2 min read

By Andrew Whyte

Moderation Or Aspiration, What Is Your Approach?


You have two choices of approach in designing a garden:

  1. Moderation is the more conservative approach where the line is carefully walked to ensure nothing crazy happens.
  2. Aspiration is an approach for those seeking to achieve something outstanding, a place that elevates their garden experience.

In truth the Moderation-Aspiration approach is a gradient scale. Most people incline toward a conservative approach they feel will give them an elevated position where they can enjoy life better, yet without feeling they have gone overboard to attain it.

Sadly as designers, we sometimes have to walk the path of a client with very low aspirations and the result is what might be called a tick-box-garden. I mean, they have a new garden they want, but there is nothing inspiring about it, they just ticked the boxes.

Whereas, those clients with high-aspirations are the ones our designers relish the opportunity to work with. All those delicious elements like the highest quality materials, larger plants are purchased to give the instant impact, or inclusions like custom made kitchens, pools, and alike…what’s not to enjoy! The aspirational person makes statements like, “I want a wow garden!”

Think of the approach as a throttle, one where you can push or hold back as you feel comfortable doing. It can be as aspirational as you feel in control of the outcome.

“A garden created with low aspirational drive is one barely noticed.”

What is the solution?

When you hire a designer and you explain in detail what you wish to achieve, let them do the heavy lifting when it comes to ideas. Bluntly, you’ve paid them for their experience and creativity so together you can always find solutions, as long as you are willing to compromise.

A common misconception is to think, “well I couldn’t afford to invest in an aspirational garden”. – Okay, so perhaps to some degree that’s true, however, rather than think black or white (moderation or aspiration), lets work in the grey areas!

Where an aspirational approach includes a cobble driveway at a large expense as per the image below:


What you can do is introduce feature elements that uplift the whole garden, such as the image below where we installed a screen and painted it (check out some great products at With the addition of this screen, it gave the perfect backdrop and warmed the room.


Perhaps adding a pond will introduce sound and interaction that livens the garden:


Aspirations don’t have to be about huge budgets, it can be about adding small high-quality items. So when you design your garden, remember to include your aspirations, for that is the secret sauce of a garden you will love!

Andrew Whyte

Founder of Whyte Gardens