Create your own Olympic Garden

Posted on Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

With the Olympic Flame winding it way around the country, many of us are getting ready for this year’s Olympic celebrations. So why not prepare your garden for this exciting event? Below we’ve listed a few of our ideas and included a link at the bottom to the London 2012 site where you can find even more inspiration.

Please note that the use of the Olympic rings and Paralympic Agitos symbol is fine in private gardens, schools, village halls and allotments. However, permission should be sought from the Olympic Committee for use of these copyright logos in gardens which are in public places such as roundabouts, town halls or public parks, or in association with any businesses.

Olympic spirit

  • Use golden flowers (eg rudbeckia or marigolds) to create your own gold medal shaped bedding display, and why not be patriotic and fly your national flag from the centre of it?
  • Recreate the Olympic rings with 5 pots, each painted in one of the Olympic colours and arranged to form the symbol of the games. Pot each one up with co-ordinating plants (see below for planting suggestions).
  • The Paralympic Agitos offers a great opportunity for drift planting of bedding in red, blue and green, perhaps surrounded with white plants. See below for planting ideas.
  • Use some chicken wire to create a Olympic Flame size cone (wear stout gloves when making it), line it with old woollen jumpers or sphagnum moss, and plant it up with golden and red coloured plants for your own fiery tribute.
  • Why not commemorate the Games by planting a tree in their honour?. Create a plaque to show who planted it, on what date and occasion, then have your own planting ceremony just before you settle down to watch the Olympic opening ceremony.
  • Hold your own gardening-based Olympics. See who can grow the tallest sunflower or capture a few snails, paint numbers on their sides (nail varnish is good for this) and hold snail races.


  • Go all athletic by creating a running track in your lawn. You don’t have to pay for expensive lane marker spray, just let your lawn grow a bit longer (in the hot summer weather this will be quite good for it) then mow running lanes into it. If your lawn is small you can still create a spiral track or maze for small children to enjoy.
  • Use up some of those old plastic pots by planting them up with grasses (or even just lawn grass), drawing faces on them and providing them with swimming goggles to wear – creating your own Olympic swimming team.
  • If you have a long enough water feature in your garden buy a couple of toy wind-up swimmers and have your own mini Olympic swimming tournament.
  • Support the equestrian events by gluing/tying old horseshoes onto plant pots to decorate them, or hanging them from the branches of trees.
  • Stick table tennis bats in pots to create a pretty, contrasting backdrop for plants.
  • Cut old basketballs, footballs or volleyballs in half, make some holes in the bottom, hook hanging chains from the edges, then use them as hanging baskets. Alternatively, sit them on the top of pots and plant them up there.
  • Tie the handles of three old badminton rackets together then peg the other ends into the soil around a plant that needs support, so the rackets form a three-sided pyramid around it.

Displays of patriotism

  • For the ambitious (and those with the space) why not create a Union Flag bedding display? See below for planting ideas.
  • If you have smaller space or want something less fiddly, any planting scheme with red white and blue will show your support for Team GB. The national colours tumbling out of a hanging basket would look spectacular.
  • Why not reserve an empty bed for a British medal tally? Have a collection of gold, silver and bronze coloured plants (see below for planting ideas) then plant one for each medal won during the Games.

Colour co-ordinated plant ideas

  • Reds:
    • Pelargonium
    • Begonia
    • Petunia
    • Salvia
    • Lettuce Lollo Rosso
    • Lobelia
  • Whites:
    • Pelargonium
    • Lobelia
    • Petunia
    • Verbena
    • Alyssum
    • Cosmos
    • Begonia
  • Blues:
    • Lobelia
    • Petunia
    • Ageratum
  • Yellows/gold:
    • Marigolds (Tagetes or Calendula)
    • Rudbeckia
    • Gazania
    • Snapdragons (Antirrhinum)
    • Begonia
    • Gaillardia
    • Coreopsis
  • Greens:
    • Lettuces
    • Coleus (Solenostemon)
  • Blacks:
    • Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’
    • Petunia
    • Chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus)
  • Silvers:
    • Cineraria maritima ‘Silver Dust’ (aka Senecio cineraria)
    • Edelweiss
    • Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’
    • Helichrysum
  • Bronzes:
    • Tagetes
    • Rudbeckia
    • Gazania
    • Echinacea

For more ideas why not visit the London 2012 website and take a look at its gardening suggestions?