Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Why Blue Is the Colour to Blow Away the Blues

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Why Blue Is the Colour to Blow Away the Blues

Article excerpt

Byline: Pattie Barron

THOUGH this small town garden looks a million dollars and more, the main features are made from DIY store staples and most of the plants were bought from the local garden centre.

What makes the difference is that the hugely creative owner, Karla Newell, a jewellery designer and senior lecturer at Central St Martins, knows precisely how to coax the look she wants from the most humble of materials.

The vibrant coloured walls, for instance, were initially ugly grey breeze blocks when Newell and her husband, Andrew, a reader in economics at Sussex University, moved to the Brighton terrace house with its scrappy backyard 15 years ago.

Newell rendered them herself: "The cement falls off at the beginning, but after a while you get the knack."

Then she painted them, but intensified the colours first by mixing art-store powdered pigment into the paint so that, she says, however much the sun shines, the hot orange and electric blue tones do not fade.

"I got heavily into Luis Barragan, the Mexican architect who did all those coloured spaces and walls. I don't understand the English thinking that bright colours don't work in a grey climate; they always cheer me up on a dull day."

The pergola that looks as if it was shipped wholesale from the Mediter-ranean, together with scrambling vines overhead and painted wall panels within, was bought as a garden-centre kit, put together and embellished with plants, hanging pots and artefacts that caught Newell's magpie eye.

"If I like something, I'll bring it home, because I'll find a space for it. This string of pebbles was from a trip to Cuckmere Haven. That glazed ceramic pot is from Tenerife. That sun-bleached antler I found on a desert hike in Arizona."

With those sultry-shaded walls, a hardy palm tree, Trachycarpus fortunei, growing through the decked patio and the prettiest of global souvenirs dotted all over, Newell's garden looks like the ultimate holiday destination: Morocco, Portugal and more than a hint of Santa Fe.

Not surprisingly, the garden won first prize in a nationwide competition to find the country's best back garden, 13 years ago. …

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