Posted: 13/01/2015 at 10:47
we created a bed for acers in front of our shed. The soil there was clay, and we mixed some big bags of ericaceous with the clay and planted 4 acers and one very small rhododendron. All the plants are doing well, they've been in for 4 years now and get better and better.
For 2. You could have an acer to add height to a bed. When we moved in we were lucky enough to find a foot high sapling in the ground which we replanted into its own triangular bed and it has turned into the most spectacular acer. You don't have to buy big, it can grow into the space.
For 3. the rhodos and azaleas could be a drift, with the bamboo as statement plants (remember to get clump forming or it will be rampant) and the ferns, poppies and foxtails dotted here and there. You could also have a variegated-leaved cornus too.
Just keep looking in magazines and books for ideas. Make a scrapbook with all the plants you like in it.
Have a look at the programme Britain's best back gardens, which is on tonight and last weeks one should be on itv player. I think there might have been a japanese style bit of planting in one of them.