I'm basically a vegetable gardener; not a flower gardener. But I do like my non-vegetable garden to be reasonably attractive.
To me foliage is more important than flowers. Simplicity is more important than 'busy'. A garden should hold surprises.
One single well-positioned pot says far more than a dozen in the wrong place. My garden has no place for anything 'white'.
Contrast is essential. A perfectly clipped shrub sits comfortably besides a chaotic mix of cottage flowers.
There must be areas of shade, areas of sun, and areas for play. There must be grass, but not so much that it becomes overly time-consuming. There should be trees of all sizes, from huge to tiny. There must be fruit trees, foliage trees, and shade trees. There must also be a vegetable garden; however large, small, or productive.
In a perfect world there would be naturally moving water (sadly I have to make-do with the pool), and there would be an abundance of wild life.
There also has to be a washing line. No garden is complete without a bloody washing line, however ugly it may seem.
And under the category of 'Ain't Nature Wonderful', I like to leave certain wild plants in peace, such as the one below.
That's it; Cro's essential garden.