Before & After: Carolyn’s Pretty Cologne Garden

carolyn chadwick garden before and after cologne germany

Carolyn Chadwick is a master of making beautiful feminine gardens — one of my all time favorite dream gardens was designed by her and it resides in the Greek isles. This garden, which also brings to mind Mediterranean delights, resides in Cologne, Germany.

before and after garden carolyn chadwick natural pool ancient olive

Not only is the design beautiful, but I feel I must point out a few details that make this a real masterpiece. First, that pool is not a chemical laden bath it is in fact a natural pond-pool, which means that rather than using chlorine or other chemicals to keep the water clean and pure, the filtration system is natural and the planting that you see around the pool is what is cleaning the water. This technology is not common here in the US but is considerably more common in European countries. If you are in market for a pool or pond and wish to forgo the chem-bath, check out Bio Nova Pools — one of the few US companies working in this area.

Click through to see more images and learn more about this garden.

The second thing is that olive tree. Transplanting ancient olive trees has been a strong trend in modern European garden design for many years. The trees are typically sourced from Italy and come at a considerable price. If you want to try and create the same look here in the US, you will have to make sure you can protect the tree either by being in a climate that will support it (many arid western states work well), or by creating a sheltered micro-climate for the tree. A great source for old olive trees in the US is Ancient Olive Trees. It is not common for trees to be routinely successful transplants when they are at advanced ages, but olives have a unique root structure that enables them to transplant well — even when they are very old.


It is a nice trick to be able to create patina in a new garden. Typically furniture and accessories create any semblance of a time honored feeling in a young garden. The ‘after’ pictures in this garden are only 2 years after the place was built, but I think the tree and the paving detail both lend this garden a permanence that new gardens often tend to lack. The paving that combines concrete with cobbles in a haphazard way, makes the garden appear to have a more layered and built over time appearance. I am a firm believer that the best gardens are places that tell stories and aren’t too perfect.

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This has me thinking about of other possible ways to create instant garden patina….any suggestions?

images from Carolyn Chadwick

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.

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