Interview with Annika Zetterman

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Interview with Annika Zetterman, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

My last post featured a review of New Nordic Gardens: Scandinavian Landscape Design by Annika Zetterman. I am excited for her book because she has great style and provides a comprehensive foundation of Scandinavian Gardens. Annika was amazing to answer a few of my questions for Thinking Outside the Boxwood, about her favorite products and Nordic plants, restaurants and gems. Her shared sources are like getting a personal tour with Annika, seeing the best shops – coolest restaurants and best nurseries. Thank you Annika for all your answers, and check out her book. Amazon only had 3 copies left (more on their way) the last I checked so act fast, I promise you will enjoy the book. (I have included links to all the locations Annika mentions, and I highly recommend you click through and check out the products or locations, since most translate to English or at least have instagram accounts you can follow for inspiration)



ANDO, a beautiful book by an incredible architect, which a very good friend gave to me, hence even more special.



While most Scandinavians love coffee ( top consumption per capita in the world) tea is my choice, having lived in the UK for many years. Herbal teas is a current favorite, such as “Detox” by Pukka.


I love exciting buildings, sometimes more than the exhibitions. The New Design Museum in London is amazing and so is Tate Modern and Getty Center in LA as well as the former railway station in Paris, Musée d’Orsay.



Stockholm and Sydney, beautifully situated on waters. London, which still feels like a second home, where I lived nearly 10 years.



Favorite Gardens to Visit:


Lundhags, old company in Scandinavia, making classic, durable, cool boots



Felco nr 9, as I am left handed



Tape measure, pencil and drawing pad.



Ferns, due to the architectural appearance yet the lightness they possess.



Hostas that come in many different sizes and colours can look stunning combined. Acer Platanoides and Drummondii is a fascinating variegated tree.



There are plenty, but if I have to pick one, I would say birch trees



Miscanthus and Calamagrostis with sturdiness lasting a very long time and coping with our weather conditions.



ICEHOTEL For a once if a lifetime experience, and a fun adventure, the Icehotel where you will have the chance to see the northern lights (Aurora Borealis) or experience the midnight sun too!



In a region where culinary is on a height, there are heaps. From award winning restaurants like Fäviken, Esperanto and Frantzén to local and seasonal specialities that you find in every corner of the region. If in Stochkolm, perhaps go for a vegetarian choice and culinary experience with amazing views over Stockholm at Fotografiska, or enjoy a relaxing brunch at Café Saturnus or Greasy Spoon. Try vivid coctails at an old pharmacy (first opened on 1575) in Old town in Stockholm, pharmarium.

(Annika also provided a link to a BUZZ FEED article with Scandinavian restaurants with delicately beautiful prepared meals. HERE.)





  • Löddeköpinge plantskola – My personal favourite nursery/garden centre in Sweden, located in southern Sweden, always inspiring and tranquil.
  • Slottsträdgården Ulriksdal just outside Stockholm is a lovely nursery /garden centre with a wide range of plants and products. During harvest season you can pick your own flowers, herbs and veggies to buy. The café serves a delisious vegerarian buffet.






New Nordic Gardens by Annika Zetterman

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New Nordic Gardens by Annika Zetterman, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

I am so thankful for the connections created via Instagram. It is the social media platform that has allowed me to befriend designers I have long admired and more importantly, I have been exposed to individuals with unique perspectives I would have never known without the platform. One of the individuals I am thankful for finding is Annika Zetterman, (instagram) a Landscape based out of Sweden. Thanks to Instagram, I was given a heads up about her new book, New Nordic Gardens: Scandinavian Landscape Design. I am so thankful for her book since books on Scandinavian garden design are often not translated in English and are very difficult to get copies stateside. This combination makes learning about Nordic designers very difficult, but Annika is the liberator to us nordophiles.


New Nordic Gardens by Annika Zetterman, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodPhoto Credit © Annika Zetterman From New Nordic Gardens: Scandinavian Landscape Design by Annika Zetterman.

Scandinavian Garden design reflects the simplicity, quality and sustainability notability seen in the interior, product and fashion designs of the region. Materials are selected for long-term durability and connection to nature. Gardens are designed to be experiences from within, not just viewed from in doors or for the neighbors benefit. The New Nordic Gardens explains these innate Nordic principals while showcasing a vast collection of innovative applications that are all fresh and new projects that I have not seen before. You can see from my copy of the book in the intro image I have already marked dozens of pages for future reference.


Later this week I will have interview from Annika with all her favorite items. The book releases April 11, TODAY (well yesterday, technical difficulties yesterday)! (order on Amazon HERE). Here are a few image excerpts from the book, but I would highly recommend it to any designer or gardener looking to learn about  a true Nordic perspective in garden design.

New Nordic Gardens by Annika Zetterman, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodEnhancing the character of weak light

The light at noon is the most balanced light, appearing nearly white, while light in the early morning or afternoon can provide an array of color variations. Natural light changes frequently, and so gardens also change in their colors, often appearing extremely subtle in the characteristic low light of Scandinavia. This garden by Zetterman Garden Design, situated close to a bay in Värmdö, Stockholm, is enchantingly calm on a still day dominated by a beautiful, weak light.

Photo Credit © Annika Zetterman From New Nordic Gardens: Scandinavian Landscape Design by Annika Zetterman.


New Nordic Gardens by Annika Zetterman, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodTranquil sophistication

On late summer evenings we might finish the day with a swim. When adding water to a garden, with swimming pools and larger bodies of water in particular, consider how they will blend with the rest of the garden and the wider surroundings. Swimming pools are large and relatively solid in color, so choosing a tile, stone or liner that includes colors close to natural water bodies in the region will help the pool to blend in comfortably. This pool by Zetterman Garden Design in collaboration with Per Oberg Arkitekter in Saltsjöbaden, Sweden uses a mosaic containing greens and turquoises, conveying a feeling of tranquility and sophistication, and rests peacefully in the space.

Photo Credit © Annika Zetterman From New Nordic Gardens: Scandinavian Landscape Design by Annika Zetterman.


New Nordic Gardens by Annika Zetterman, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodSaltsjöbaden, Sweden

In summer Scandinavians like to do everything outside. We hang out laundry, move our indoor plants outside, chill in hammocks and share meals. Outdoor kitchens, built-in barbecues, pizza ovens, fish smokers and other cooking facilities are increasingly a normal part of our gardens. This black beauty in a garden by Zetterman Ggarden Design in Saltsjöbaden, Sweden is made from Danish brick, fired to withstand the cold winters, with its chimney standing tall like a sculpture perched on a cliff. A sloping sedum roof gives character to the oven, matching the small herb garden that sits in a pocket of the rock just below.

Photo Credit © Annika Zetterman From New Nordic Gardens: Scandinavian Landscape Design by Annika Zetterman.