Create a Nordic style garden

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In the Nordic countries, the concept of “friluftsliv” (open-air living) is very popular despite freezing temperatures and little daylight. Widely regarded as vital to mental and physical well-being, and if you need more convincing, the Nordics are amongst the happiest countries in the world. It’s Nordic nourishment for mind and body.

The dried seedheads of Echinacea purpurea in a typical Finnish landscape

Across the Nordics (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden), gardens can be a juxtaposition of fragility and robust wildness. Think pastel coloured flowers set against the backdrop of a craggy rock or rugged metal.

The Nordic principles of garden design

  1. Sustainability (reclaiming, upcycling and appreciating family heirlooms)
  2. Fresh
  3. In harmony with the natural landscape
  4. Soothing colour palette, think pretty pastels
  5. Enchanting
  6. Timeless
  7. Calm
  8. Simplicity
Potentilla fruticosa are popular in Nordic gardens because of their hardiness rating (H6)

Materials to use:

  • Timber
  • Rock
  • Concrete
  • Gravel
  • Steel
A Nordic garden should include a pretty pastel coloured planting scheme

Planting Elements

  • Hardy (at least H5)
  • Pastel colour palette
  • Attract pollinators & other wildlife (meadowscaping is popular)
  • Include native trees such as Birch, Spruce, Pine and Alder

For more details on which pastel coloured plants to choose <click here>

In many Scandinavian gardens there is a tradition of planting a deciduous tree in the middle of the garden as a place of reflection. In Swedish called it’s called a Vårdträd and in Norwegian a Tuntre. It has roots in the worship of the Norse gods. Find out more about our spring flowering trees <click here>

 Lilac add a beauty and lushness that many Norwegian gardens crave after the bare branches of winter

Plants to use

Herbaceous perennials



Deciduous trees

No Finnish garden is without fruit trees

The Roots in Finland Kyrö Garden by Taina Suonio (below) won the silver-gilt medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019.

“The cascading water feature reminds the visitors to the garden about the relationship the Finns have with their roots in the country and the much-cherished respite by their countless lakeside, riverside and seaside cottages.”

Photo by RHS, designed by Taina Suonio

“The garden includes many Finnish forest flowers and herbs. The planting is multi-layered and rich in meadow plants. The national flower, lily of the valley, features alongside the rare mutation red birch and the slow growing juniper. Finnish growing conditions are demanding, characterized by the long days of summer and hard, winter darkness.”

Photo courtesy of the RHS, “The Roots in Finland Kyrö Garden” by Taina Suonio

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