As we’ve been meandering our way through various weather systems enroute to early summer I can't help but turn my attention to the longer evenings and spending more time outdoors in my garden.

While I’m enjoying the positive benefits of being outside both mentally and physically, I’m also feeling inspired to make some design changes. I’ve started thinking about freshening up various elements in my overall home, which includes the outside spaces as well.

For this, my first monthly column for Dorset Magazine, I’ve talked to three very different and very skilled Dorset-based experts – a sculptor, an interior designer and a garden designer - who share their insights and ideas. I hope they will inspire you to look at your outdoor space with fresh eyes and realise its full potential.

The dragonfly sculpture that Ted Edley created for The Blue Pool near Wareham, which was installed at the end of last year.   (Image: Sarah Hall Photography)

Bringing art into the garden 

Our first expert is Ted Edly aka Ted the Copper Fish, the talented artist behind The Dorset Copper Fish, based near Corfe Castle. Ted draws on his 25 years' experience in the motor industry, including historic vehicle restoration, using those same skills to create decorative, architectural sculptural works in copper, brass, steel and other metals. You may also have seen him on Quest TV in Salvage Hunters: The Restorers.

‘Art is life, a reflection of ourselves. Even those who say they don’t like art will have a favourite film or piece of music, dress in a certain way, or paint their house a particular colour – this is art. When applied to a garden, a piece of art really lifts a space, creating a focal point. When combined with the planting, this can create a thoughtful place, a striking place, a calm place...the list goes on. The piece can be of any size, and the garden doesn’t need to be grand, but the right choice will make that space better. The artwork should be a reflection of the owner; something to make you smile every time you see it, or just elicit a reaction or emotion, no matter how small.

Ted Edley working on a piece in The Dorset Copperfish workshop.Ted Edley working on a piece in The Dorset Copperfish workshop. (Image:

Though my work can be somewhat on the spikey side, I like to think that it brings a little humour too. In my former profession I used to work on mainly pre-Second World War cars. Through this I came to appreciate the craftsmanship used as well as the shapes and forms that the metal can take. The possibilities are endless, and this is what I embrace with my work. I love seeing where the material will take me, it’s a creative journey with twists and turns along the way. I particularly love vehicles from the 1930s, that art deco era provokes glamour and style that lends itself so easily to my work, with a dash of Jules Verne and Steampunk thrown in for good measure.’

Find out more at Follow on X @TedEdley/Facebook @DorsetCopperfish/Instagram @tedcopperfish


Bringing a pop of pink into the garden is Rangwali No.296 in Exterior Eggshell. from Farrow & Ball, it takes its name from the powder which is thrown so enthusiastically during the Holi festival of colours in India.Bringing a pop of pink into the garden is Rangwali No.296 in Exterior Eggshell. from Farrow & Ball, it takes its name from the powder which is thrown so enthusiastically during the Holi festival of colours in India. (Image: James Merrell)

Setting up outdoor rooms 

Matt Wisdom, who is Head of Interior Design here at Sonnaz Bespoke Interiors in Wimborne, shares some ideas about bringing colour into your outdoor spaces and creating the right vibe, be it English country garden, totally tropical or mood-lifting Mediterranean.

‘Outdoor living spaces should be an extension to your home and your lifestyle. It also gives you the ideal opportunity to choose vibrant colours that you may not have the confidence to use indoors such as hot pinks, lime green, sizzling reds and bright blues, as well as incorporating fabrics with tropical prints or bold florals.

These days there is a wide range of outdoor cushions, fabric, rugs and even chandeliers and floor lamps to choose from which can be styled up to create the right mood for your al fresco living space. Gone are the days of white plastic garden furniture. Browse a selection of waterproof rattan, wood, metal and even stone. You can also create new ‘rooms’ by dividing your garden into different zones. A dining area with table, chairs and outdoor lighting; a chilling and chatting area with outdoor sofa, chairs and a fire pit – simply by adding a rug and cushions you’ve created the perfect space to enjoy those lazy summer days and evenings.

Matt Wisdom.Matt Wisdom. (Image:

Consider the style of your garden when selecting fabrics and even outdoor crockery. For a traditional English country garden opt for faded floral prints, ticking stripes and ginghams mixed with cane furniture. Dressing your table with a mix of pretty vintage plates and pressed glass combined with lace or small floral print napkins and tablecloth will create a timeless romantic look. For a Mediterranean vibe combine cobalt blue and yellow prints, white linen, blue and white china, then add pots of lavender on the table and bowls of lemons for your G & T. For a totally tropical paradise use lavish leaf prints, exotic florals, brightly coloured china and glassware. Touches of gold will add some drama and decadence.

Creating the right atmosphere is not just about what you see. Placing a few pots of fragrant summer flowers around your outdoor area will scent the scene. Put pots of living herbs such as mint and basil on the table, so you can pick and add to drinks or salads; they’ll also fill the air with their aromatics.

Set up a well-hidden Bluetooth speaker for background music, and for evening entertaining hang solar lanterns from trees in your garden or place on the paths and flowerbeds. With the scene set, pour yourself a drink and sit back and enjoy your chic outdoor living space!'

More at Follow on Instagram @hos_matt

Garden designer Jenny Noscoe.Garden designer Jenny Noscoe. (Image: Lucy Shergold)

Creating the right garden space 

Our final expert is Jenny Noscoe who set up her garden design practice in 2012. Based in Wimborne Minster, Jenny has been part of a team delivering two RHS Chelsea Gold medal winning gardens. Wellbeing is central to her garden designs: both people’s enjoyment of natural spaces and the support of wildlife through habitat creation.

‘A garden is an extension of the owner’s home. Your outside space is too precious to overlook so making this space work for you and the wider environment is important for its success. The best gardens are perfectly suited to their purpose and site. And, as a living external space, they will evolve across seasons and years: growing and adapting with their owners and the surroundings for perennial appeal not only to the eyes, but also to the heart and mind. The creation of your own, distinct garden should be fun; there’s nothing quite like it.

When creating a garden imagine its future. What will it offer to the senses in spring, summer, autumn and winter, as well as in the years ahead. Finding the right balance between creative and practical elements is key to achieving an inviting space which is both functional and delightful. By taking cues from the surrounding landscape, you can settle it within its context. It should be a space where you can become immersed in recreation, relaxation and appreciation of nature.’

Top tips for planting

- Be generous with your borders and the number of plants you use. This gives scope for balanced form and structure.

- Create structure using evergreens, repeat to create unity and rhythm throughout the planting scheme.

- Include plants for all seasons, think about colour as well as scent.

- Most importantly incorporate planting for pollinators and wildlife.

The Water Garden created by Wimborne-based garden designer Jenny Noscoe.The Water Garden created by Wimborne-based garden designer Jenny Noscoe. (Image: Lucy Shergold)

Case Study: Water Feature Garden in Broadstone 

Now that the children had left home, it was time for this split-level garden to evolve into an adult space with areas to relax, socialise and become immersed in the play of nature.

The design concept maximises the contours of the existing landscape to reveal discrete retreats, numerous focal points and tiers of character. An imposing mass of overgrown rhododendrons were replaced by new terracing with a waterfall which opens up the north-facing bank allowing more light. The Corten steel-clad terrace walls are the perfect backdrop to an amphitheatre of colourful, cascading planting – the material weathering into a variety of russet tones that give it life of its own.

Terrace paths lead to a decked firepit area overlooking the lower garden, and to the ‘Gin Terrace’ which catches the last of the evening sun. A millstone water feature with pebble-mosaic surround provides a focal point from across the garden. The birds that love to bathe and drink there are centre stage.

Find more details at

Sonnaz Nooranvary. Sonnaz Nooranvary. (Image: Luke CK Davis)

Meet Sonnaz

Sonnaz Nooranvary is the Dorset-based creative entrepreneur and craftswoman best known for being the resident upholstery expert on BBC series The Repair Shop. Sonnaz started her upholstery career with an apprenticeship at Sunseeker Poole when she was just 17 years old. By the age of 25, she started her own business in Wimborne Minster. Founded in 2011, Sonnaz Ltd provides a wide range of interiors services from loving restorations of single pieces of furniture to full interior design projects, clients include Lush and the National Trust. Sonnaz is also passionate about supporting and inspiring future generations of creatives. Her new home interiors brand House of Sonnaz, launching later this year, aims to set a new standard of sustainable, ethical manufacturing in the UK.