By Beth Murton published
Gardeningetc.com is the new website for anyone looking to create the perfect outdoor living experience. Packed with 1,000s of design ideas and guides to make your garden a brilliant outdoor living area, it also offers expert advice on how to make your time outdoors the best it can be – from rounding up the best BBQs and hot tubs to kids’ toys that are guaranteed to keep them entertained.
There will also be practical guides on everything from how to build a brilliant decked area to how to achieve an outdoor pool experience on a budget, plus must-read advice on how you can transfer the style principles you use in your home to your garden. For anyone looking for inspiring ideas, our easy-to-follow guides will help you create your first planting scheme, design your perfect patio or successfully grow your own fruit and veg.
Meet the team
Beth Murton, Editor of Gardeningetc
My first journalism job was working for Real Homes magazine more than 17 years ago. It cemented my love of all things homes- and garden-related and I’ve never looked back since.
My garden is a really important part of my family's home (especially in recent months), and we were lucky enough to inherit a space with lots of lovely mature planting when we bought our 1930s home.
Since then, we've built several raised beds for a veg patch, increased the size of the flowerbeds to find room for yet more of my favourite David Austin roses and my husband's collection of hostas, created an outdoor living room complete with comfy sofas and festoon lights, and not forgetting the biggest challenge of all – trying to fit in the ever changing assortment of trampolines, climbing frames and outdoor toys that are inevitable when you have two young kids!
Rhoda Parry, Editorial Director
With over 30 years of working in journalism on women's home and lifestyle media brands, I'm the Editorial Director of Gardeningetc, Amateur Gardening, Easy Gardens, Ideal Home, 25 Beautiful Homes and Style at Home.
I'm a writer and visual creator first and foremost and, when I'm not crafting and creating online and print features, you can find me pottering around my coastal garden on the Sussex coast. With a view of the sea and surrounded by shingle, my outdoor space is a wild plot planted and self-seeded with native plants, such as sea kale, poppies and rambling roses.
Laura Crombie, Brand Development Director
I've been writing about homes and gardens for 13 years. I started out as a newspaper reporter, then was editor of a regional magazine, and editorial manager for a travel company (who doesn’t love a free holiday?). I started at Real Homes magazine in 2015 as Deputy Editor and then become Editor before taking on my current position, which focuses on video and events. I love spending time in the garden with my toddler and have a bizarre passion for mowing lawns!
Teresa Conway, Deputy Editor
I was part of a team which launched Easy Gardens magazine two years ago and I continue to edit it today. I am also the Deputy Editor of Gardeningetc so I am lucky enough to see and write about gardening across all sizes, budgets and abilities.
What I am most passionate about when it comes to gardening are the positive effects it has on our mental health to grow and care for plants. Keeping our patches alive with greenery is great for the environment too and help provide food and shelter for wildlife.
Finally, I find it to be such a wonderful opportunity to tap into my creative side and I love the feeling that I am crafting a space which has a life of its own. Audrey Hepburn summed gardening up perfectly when she said - 'To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow'.
Holly Crossley, Digital Editor
The garden was always a big part of life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where we lived. My appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. I’ve been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are my passion. But, I love all things digital too. I joined the team at Gardeningetc after working as a freelance content creator for a web agency, whilst studying for my M.Sc. in marketing. Now I’m lucky enough to combine both digital and botanical worlds, every day!
Sarah Wilson, Gardens Writer
I’ve been a lifestyle journalist for many years and have been writing about gardens since 2015. I’ve written for Gardeningetc, Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, as well as Country Homes & Interiors and Modern Gardens magazines.
My own (small urban) garden is a work in progress – so many ideas, not enough space to cram them in. Hero plants include my ever growing collection of ornamental grasses, black bamboo and ferns, and the perennials like salvias and penstemons that come back reliably year after year. All very restrained though when in fact I’d like to pack my garden with gaudy dahlias and giant cannas, so these are top of my wish list for what to grow next.
Garry Coward-Williams, Editor of Amateur Gardening magazine
I’ve been editor of the world’s oldest gardening magazine for the last 4 years, delivering weekly practical content to our vast audience of garden enthusiasts of all abilities.
There is always something to do in the garden, even in the depths of winter, and most of my time out of work hours is devoted to improving my own garden. My passions are growing potatoes in borders and containers, fighting a constant battle to keep my various climbing roses pest-free, making the best home-made compost and more recently creating a rock garden. In the last year I’ve also planted an ornamental cherry and transplanted six copper beeches to a better site.
As gardeners we are always on a journey of discovery, no matter how experienced we are and so I’m delighted to be part of the highly talented team at Gardeningetc so I can share some of those experiences with you.
Ruth Hayes, Gardening Editor, Amateur Gardening Magazine
I have been the gardening editor of Amateur Gardening magazine since 2014 and spend my working days carrying out, writing about and photographing the tasks our readers should be carrying out each week, as well as testing many of the new products that arrive on the gardening market.
I am horticulturally trained, with a qualification from the Royal Horticultural Society, and my work varies with the seasons and includes everything from sowing and planting, to pruning, taking cuttings, dealing with pests and diseases and keeping houseplants healthy.
It is a wonderful job in spring and summer, though not always so easy in the depths of winter when everything seems cold, wet, brown and muddy!
I cover ornamental plants and edible crops and everything I write about and photograph is in my own garden, a mature plot that has been a work in progress since my family moved to our current house in 2012.
Before joining Amateur Gardening, I worked in regional newspapers for more than 20 years but have always had a garden and enjoyed gardening. My main interests are gardening for wildlife and organic gardening, as I firmly believe you don’t need to ‘nuke’ pests and problems with toxic chemicals, nor use peat composts to produce the garden of your dreams.
Janey Goulding, Assistant Editor of Amateur Gardening magazine
As assistant editor for Amateur Gardening magazine, I feel blessed to be able to learn on the job every day from some of the most amazing gardening enthusiasts. That said, my gardening passion was fostered from an early age, when my amazing mum had me deadheading hydrangeas, mulching roses, and propagating strawberry plants from runners for school open days.
My gardening childhood was like living with Tom and Barbara from The Good Life, with figs growing in the greenhouse, homemade blueberry jams piled high, and demijohns filled with dad’s elderflower sherry experiments. That botanical playground is something I crave, as city living has generally meant doing without a conventional outdoor space. Still, I am slowly transforming my thimble-sized abode into a haven of vertical vegetation. I’ve also taken part in lots of conservation and rewilding projects for the RHS and TCV as a way of exploring my horticultural horizons whilst helping to create and maintain beautiful spaces for others.
One of my biggest inspirations is Richard Reynolds, a pioneer of ‘guerrilla gardening’, which transforms outdoor spaces like city roundabouts into intoxicating medleys of regeneration. And my favourite public garden is Heligan, which showcases bamboo tunnels and towering bananas alongside historical productive gardens and giant topiary sculptures.
When I grow up, I would like a Victorian conservatory, some proper old-fashioned cold frames and bell cloches, and a better system for storing all my seed packets.
Lindsey Davis, Editor in chief, Homes Ecommerce
As Editor in Chief for Homes Ecommerce, working on Gardeningetc, Livingetc, Real Homes, Ideal Home and Homes & Gardens, my passion is making sure readers can find all the information they need before making a purchase for their property.
On the weekends, I also live all things home related, maintaining my Victorian cottage and its very long, narrow garden. I'm in a never-ending battle with the weeds, but love creating a space for wildlife. I'm aiming to give my garden a look that I best describe as 'cottage garden for the 21st century'.
Rebecca Knight, Homes News Editor
I'm the News Editor on Gardeningetc covering everything from the common mistake you're making when pruning your roses, to handy tips about how to keep your houseplants alive. I have been covering all things gardening for two years across Homes & Gardens and Ideal Home. There isn't a single gardening trend that passes without me knowing about it.
I'm currently the proud owner of a thriving container garden on my small city balcony and a jungle of houseplants. Small gardens and container plants are my specialties.
Annie Collyer, Deputy Ecommerce Editor
As Deputy Ecommerce Editor at Gardeningetc, I spend most of my time helping you add those all-important garden decor items to your shopping cart. From striking outdoor lighting to pretty and practical bird feeders, or even a gift for a friend or family member who loves to garden – I cover it all. Otherwise, I spend my time thinking of ways to maximise space out on my delightful yet teeny-tiny London terrace. Next on my shopping list: a fire pit...
Millie Hurst, News Writer
I joined Gardeningetc in January 2021 as a news writer. When I'm not writing about gardening, I'm tending to my small front garden. My geraniums, dahlias and nasturtiums are looking lovely right now. I recently bought a bench for the garden and I'm loving alfresco lunch breaks and taking time to notice seedlings growing. I love picking up some new plants at the local garden centre and is never without some fresh flowers at home.
Millie Fender, Ecommerce Editor
I've been writing for Gardeningetc since the beginning of 2021, covering all things barbecues, patio heaters, and fire pits. A lover of al fresco dining, I'm always on the hunt for the best barbecues and pizza ovens for entertaining friends and family. I'm also a firm believer that everyone should have their own herb garden, and can often be found taming my over-zealous rosemary plant.
Amy Lockwood, Ecommerce Editor
I write about interiors and decoration for Livingetc, Homes & Gardens and Real Homes, bringing my design expertise outdoors into the garden for Gardeningetc.
Initially honing my green thumb growing indoor plants in my first-floor apartment, I greatly appreciate the benefits we gain from coexisting with plants, including improved wellbeing, air purification, and reductions in the chemical VOCs that are slowly released into our homes from manmade materials.
My wider interest in gardening embraces the design principles of permaculture; considering how we can best balance our valuable outdoor spaces to restore health to our own patches of soil, boost diversity for plants and wildlife, grow healthy nutritionally-dense food, and embrace outdoor living with style-conscious design that helps us to relax, entertain and improve our overall wellbeing through our relationship with nature.
Caroline Preece, Ecommerce Editor
Writing for Gardeningetc since the start of 2021, I'm a tech expert and passionate about how an outdoor space can complement interior style. In my own time I am creating my own little oasis on my small balcony, or adding yet another houseplant to my extensive (and ever-growing!) collection.
Jennifer Oksien, Ecommerce Editor
As Ecommerce Editor I spend most of my day scouting for deals an reviewing products for the home and garden.
I love being in my garden, and anywhere outdoors for that matter. Being outside is where I have no worries and feel calm, which is a welcomed sense of relief from being under the roof of our Victorian terrace home which has been under going some serious renovations since we bought it three years ago. Up until recently I had an allotment where I grew bumper crops of carrots, marrow and sweetcorn from seed. Now I try to make the best out of the space we have in our yard using grow bags, leaving the lawn (which I grew entirely from seed, too) for our three guinea pigs to forage on.
Fiona Cumberpatch, freelance writer
I’m an experienced freelance journalist, editor and columnist writing for national magazines and websites. I now specialise in gardens, and I enjoy finding and writing about all kinds, from the tiniest town plots to impressively designed ones in grand country houses. I’m a firm believer that gardening is for everyone, and it doesn’t matter if you have a single window ledge or an acre, there’s always peace and joy to be found outside. The small town garden of my Edwardian terraced house is currently a work in progress as we renovate the property, but my goal is always to fill it with flowers, climbers, colour, fragrance – and as many of my treasured vintage finds as I can possibly fit in.
Lucy Chamberlain, freelance writer
I studied horticulture at Writtle and Wye colleges, before going on to be a Horticultural Advisor at RHS Wisley for 6 years. I developed an interest in writing after compiling small articles for The Garden magazine, and was then recruited as Gardening Editor at Amateur Gardening magazine, then Editor of Grow Your Own magazine, for 4 and 6 years respectively.
I've been Head Gardener on a 100-acre private Essex estate for the past 7 years, but still write regularly for titles such as The Garden, Gardeners’ World, The Guardian and Amateur Gardening.
I've also contributed to various RHS books, being sole author of the RHS Step by Step Veg Patch. I've been the guest expert on BBC Essex for 10+ years, and I co-host the Talking Heads gardening podcast with my Head Gardener friend, Saul Walker.
Anne Swithinbank, freelance writer
I grew up in North Kent on the outskirts of London and from a young age was fascinated by plants and nature in general. Having trained at Kew, worked in parks department nurseries and as Glasshouse Supervisor at RHS Wisley, I have been a freelance horticulturist since 1986.
The early days were a mixture of small landscaping projects, garden maintenance, writing and presenting alongside Geoff Hamilton on Gardeners’ World. Other TV highlights were two series of ‘Bloom’ for Channel 4 and ‘Gardens of The Caribbean’.
I've been a regular panelist on BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time for 27 years and began writing for Amateur Gardening at the same time as moving from a dry, sandy soil in Surrey to clay with flints in East Devon 23 years ago. A large plot full of wildlife habitats, edible and ornamental plants is my workshop and inspiration.
Sarah Warwick, freelance writer
I'm a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. I've spent most of my journalistic career specialising in homes and gardens – long enough to see interiors that blur the indoor/outdoor link become a must-have. I love investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement, both indoors and out, and it's no big surprise that I like to put what I write about into practice, so I'm a serial house revamper.
Alex Temblador, freelance writer and reviewer
I'm a Mixed Latinx award-winning author and freelance writer based in Dallas, Texas. Here, I'm well placed to test all things outdoor living, be it the most serious of grills to the latest hot tub. My work in the home space has appeared in outlets like Real Homes, Dwell, Architectural Digest, Culture Trip, Neighborhoods.com, among many others.
Zia Allaway, freelance writer
I'm a garden book author, editor, and journalist, and write for a range of gardening and women’s magazines, including Easy Gardens, Homes & Gardens and Livingetc, as well as The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph newspapers.
I've also also written books for the Royal Horticultural Society and Dorling Kindersley publishers, including Eco-Gardening, Compost, Low Maintenance, Practical House Plant Book, Practical Cactus & Succulent Book, Indoor Edible Garden, What Plant Where, and the Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers.
Linda Clayton, freelance reviewer
I fell for the interiors world soon after graduating Cardiff’s School for Journalism, following a very brief stint news reporting that only proved I’m more passionate about cushions than war crimes. That was more than two decades ago now, and I’ve been happily writing for the likes of Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, Ideal Home and Real Homes ever since.
Our current home in Devon was previously a commercial nursery – they grew the plants that garden centres buy. When we arrived in 2016, the half-acre plot boasted three massive polytunnels and a glass greenhouse to rival those at Kew Gardens. We sold the lot, levelled the ground, chucked down some grass seed, then focused on making the inside of the house habitable. This year the garden is back on our radar and we have grand plans to pave and plant out the front garden and around the house (currently resembling a builder’s yard), and possibly 'do something' about the barren field that is our lawn! @lindaclaytonwrites
Sarah Giles, freelance writer
I'm a freelance journalist and I'm lucky to be able to write about my two main passions: gardening and food. Ten years ago I moved from a house with a tiny town garden to a much bigger space in the country and since then I've slowly been putting into practice all the garden design ideas I've been mulling over for years. Trouble is, as soon as I've got the garden looking how I think I want it, I decide to start on a new project so it's a constant 'work in progress'. I took on an allotment last year too, and I'm really loving growing all my own fruit and veg then bringing it home to try out in new recipes for my food and gardening blog, A Cook's Plot.
Jill Morgan, freelance writer
I put my love of plants and all things garden related, down to the hours spent pottering around with my Nan and Grandad when I was little. There was never a moment at their house when we weren’t weeding, pruning, planting or harvesting cucumbers or dahlias from the lean-to greenhouse. My Grandad’s shed was a place of wonder, and I can still recall the musky smell. Today I am lucky enough to have a garden of my own in Surrey and spend much of my time writing about them too. A typical long-thin town garden it features favourite flowers along with the odd veg plant and the usual assortment of toys, bikes and… oh a couple of guinea pigs too.
Claire Ratinon, freelance writer
I'm an organic food grower and writer based in East Sussex. I've grown edible plants in a variety of roles from growing organic vegetables for the Ottolenghi restaurant, Rovi to delivering growing workshops throughout London to audiences including primary schools, community centres and corporate clients. I've also been invited to share my growing journey and experiences in talks and workshops for organisations including The Garden Museum, the Royal College of Art and West Dean College as well as having presented features for Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time. My writing has been featured in The New Statesmen, Bloom Magazine and The Modern House Journal and my first book, How To Grow Your Dinner Without Leaving The House, is out now.
Amy Hodge, freelance writer
I'm a freelance journalist with over 16 years experience writing for consumer magazines and websites, writing on everything from gardens and interiors, to tech and food.
I've always loved spending time outdoors and since moving to the countryside a few years ago, I've become a keen gardener.
In my spare time I have slowly been transforming my garden, building a dedicated fruit and veg plot and a seating area overlooking the local fields. I've learned lots of new skills along the way and enjoy growing my own fruit and vegetables.
Geraldine Sweeney, freelance writer
I'm a gardener and garden writer, who has worked for over 12 years in historic public gardens and private gardens around London. I've written articles for Easy Gardens, Which? Gardening and Women’s Weekly Gardening Special magazines and for Gardeningetc.com. I've also edited the book Britain’s Favourite Plants for the RHS.
I have a north-facing London garden with cottage-style planting, where I aim to keep the colour display going as long as possible, watched by two resident cats, visiting squirrels and foxes. I'm planning to create more wildlife-friendly features in the garden. I loves working with plants, discovering new ones and writing about them.
Sophie Warren-Smith, freelance writer
I've been an interior stylist and journalist for over 20 years and have worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time, both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor for indie magazine, 91, I trained to be a florist last year and recently launched The Prettiest Posy where I curate beautiful flowers for weddings and events.
About our reviews
Our writers and reviewers test everything we feature in their own gardens. This way, we can give you the best information about how they work in practice – not in a lab. We ask our reviewers to share a little bit about themselves and their gardens so you can compare to your own needs.
Most products are tested for at least two weeks, though often longer to allow the reviewer to give every feature and function a go. In some cases, the reviewer will be allowed to keep the product, meaning they can test it over a much longer period and update their review in the months or years to come. After all, we want you to know how your investment will perform long after unboxing.
We will never take payment for reviews. If we find fault with a product, we will give the brand chance to replace or reply in the interest of being fair.
About our buying guides
Our buying guides are created by compiling the products we have reviewed into a list of the best. Where we have not had hands on experience of a product, we turn to third parties who have, including friends, family and reviews on retailer websites. It is our goal to have tested everything we feature in person.
We understand that different products are better suited to different people and their properties. That is why we call out the best for different features such as small spaces, people with mobility issues and affordability – we want you to spend wisely based on your needs.
Our product badges
When we review products, we give them a gold, silver or bronze Gardeningetc Review & Rated badge. Products getting an above average score of three stars get a bronze badge, four stars means a silver badge and four and a half or more stars means a gold badge. These are chosen by our reviewers and cannot be negotiated.
We will not take payment to offer a certain badge, though we do offer brands the chance to buy a badge license allowing them to use the badge across their own marketing material. This is always done after the review is finalised and only offered to those who have been granted a badge because of our testing.
The Gardeningetc Reviewers
We use a combination of in-house and freelance expertise to create our reviews and buying guides. On our review panel are people from every walk of life with very different garden set ups – from small balconies to sprawling country gardens.
Code of conduct
Gardeningetc is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (which regulates the UK’s magazine and newspaper industry). We abide by the Editors’ Code of Practice and are committed to upholding the highest standards of journalism. If you think that we have not met those standards and want to make a complaint please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. If we are unable to resolve your complaint, or if you would like more information about IPSO or the Editors’ Code, contact IPSO on 0300 123 2220 or visit www.ipso.co.uk.
Beth's first journalism job was working for Real Homes magazine more than 18 years ago. It cemented her love of all things homes- and garden-related and she's never looked back since.
Her garden is a really important part of her family's home, and they were lucky enough to inherit a space with lots of lovely mature planting when they bought their 1930s home.
Since then, they've built several raised beds for a veg patch, increased the size of the flowerbeds to find room for yet more of her favourite David Austin roses and her husband's collection of hostas, created an outdoor living room complete with comfy sofas and festoon lights, and not forgetting the biggest challenge of all – trying to fit in the ever changing assortment of trampolines, climbing frames and outdoor toys that are inevitable when you have two young kids!
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