By Megan Slack published
Globally-renowned garden designer James DeSantis has built a career upon his ingenious garden tips and tricks – but this might be his most invaluable advice yet.
Alongside Garrett Magee and Melissa Brasier – better known as The Manscapers – James has crafted urban exterior spaces for the likes of Calvin Klein and Diane von Furstenberg. However, wherever he is, James's go-to greenery remains the same.
See more backyard ideas in our dedicated guide
In an exclusive interview with H&G, he revealed the versatile plant that will work in every type of exterior space – whatever the climate – and whatever the size.
Which plant will work in every garden – according to The Manscapers?
'A boxwood definitely works in every single setting. We use them constantly in country gardens, in English-style gardens, on city rooftops. We use them in LA, San Francisco – they are just a universal shrub that can be shaped and molded any way,' James shares.
After praising the boxwood's versatility, James continued, admiring the plant's other qualities – from its durability to evergreen qualities.
'Sometimes, if you're designing a natural garden, boxwood can add some structure. If you want something that's more of an English-style garden, they can create more formal shapes. They're durable; they're hardy, they're evergreen,' he says.
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See: Deck planting ideas – using beds, planters and living walls
'Boxwoods continue to grow over years and years, and they're not too high-maintenance. I just can't say enough about a common boxwood and how many uses and varieties they can have.'
While boxwoods inject the ambiance of a lush country garden throughout all exterior spaces, James also offered further plant suggestions that he uses to bring elements of the country to a small space.
'If you're limited space-wise, it's hard to get that luxe, country feel. The way we would do that would be in the planting. We would build large planter boxes that are high up and then plant tall grass and wildflowers that will help shade some of the surroundings, so you feel enveloped in plants,' he explains.
See: Patio planting ideas – add life to your outdoor space with plants
For more tips from James and the entire Manscapers team, catch up with Backyard Envy and look out for their new book Take it Outside.
Megan is a News Writer across Future Plc's Homes titles. She has a background in national newspapers in the UK and has experience in fashion and travel journalism, which she previously practised whilst living in Paris and New York City. Her adoration for these fashion capitals means she particularly enjoys writing about upcoming styles and trends for Homes & Gardens. Megan also loves discovering vintage pieces in her spare time, meaning her decor is largely influenced by the beauty of the jazz age.
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