Garden Designers Round Table: Cheap and chic

| December 18, 2012 | 3 Comments

Is it cheap and chic?

or should it be cheap or chic?

While the first is in our opinion a contradiction in terms,

the second is the deadly question that only your bank balance, your profligacy and your design inspirations can decide.

How so?

Well it is all those tired, old cliches rolled into one. So tired and so old that they are true.

‘You get what you pay for’

‘You can’t make a silk purse out of a cow’s ear’

and the most condeming of all ‘Cheap and cheerful’.

Chic is modern, it is catwalk fashion.

It is cut and line, quality and finish.

“Never use the word “cheap”.” said Karl Lagerfeld “Today everybody can look chic in inexpensive clothes. You can be the chicest thing in the world in a T-shirt and jeans — it’s up to you.”

Come off it Karl, many of us will know the difference between cheap jeans out of the supermarket and jeans cut to flatter.

If you look wonderful in cheap jeans you’d probably look great in a potato sack!

It is all about cut and quality and that costs – even in jeans and t-shirts.

You do get what you pay for and gardens are no different:

While the wiring on this wall is inexpensive and not particularly aiming for chic

it would cost you a grand to get coverage of around 12 square metres of this wiring.

However, it is chic – and it knows it!

Battens are the contemporary fence par excellence

But, don’t plane or stain and they look like matchwood!

While this water feature will doubtless be ‘competitively priced’, well, several hundred smackers of competitiveness at least,

this will be a cool, (in all senses),7000.

It is all about cut and line, quality and finish.

And gardens are not the place to stint. They should not be cheap just because they are outside. They are what you see from your house and they are the curb appeal for your house.

So think chic not cheap!


I wonder what was the take of our US colleagues on this subject? Are they chic? We are sure they cannot be ‘cheap’! Have they found a way to be both? Why not click on the links below and found out:

Susan Cohan : Miss Rumphius’ Rules : Chatham, NJ

Andrew Keys : Garden Smackdown : Boston, MA

Deborah Silver : Dirt Simple : Detroit, MI

Rochelle Greayer : Studio ‘g’ : Boston, MA

This is our last posting with the GDRT for 2012 but we will be back posting with them for 2013.



Category: Design Bites, General

Comments Closed

Comments (3)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Here, here! So glad you stood up for quality rather than perpetuate the idea that you can spend nothing and get the same effect.

  2. Robert says:

    Ta Thomas!
    Yes it did rather emerge as being a rallying cry for spending!
    But as you hint but don’t say the perils of not doing so are legion.
    Thanks so much for your comment.
    Have a great holiday season and 2013.