Extending into the garden

We bought the place three years ago with lapsed planning permission for a conservatory leading from the kitchen. We loved the architectural detail of the house – all it’s panelling & large rooms etc. but the chance to make our mark too was perfect! I do love a project!! This is how it was – what a mess! The only access to the garden was via this dreadfully ugly (& unsafe) deck built by a previous DIY enthusiast. It was not what we wanted at all & really let the house down. The plan was to extend the kitchen out …

Buying container grown trees

I design gardens throughout the year & they are built throughout the year too. Sometimes waiting until Autumn for cheaper rootballed or bare root trees is just not acceptable, so we buy them in pots year round. It’s amazing what can be found & providing you have a team to help load & plant, plus an irrigation system to keep the trees well watered from day one, they should be happy. I buy at large trade nurseries around the UK… Here’s Rob again with a fabulous pleached fruit tree & Marnie (my friend who makes gorgeous green oak furniture) assessing …

Buying trees in winter

I love to plant trees – they instantly add drama & height to an environment & are in fact incredibly good value. A simple cherry tree for example can cost less than a medium size shrub! This time of year, we plant bare root & rootballed specimens which are only available whilst the trees are dormant & the ground is not too hard. It’s a great process; my design will propose certain trees of a certain size – silver birch for example so we, the client, me & my contractor – usually Rob of The Garden Design Co Ltd will …

Our Garden

The main garden is approximately an acre & was pretty grotty when we bought the place. Our main outlook is from the kitchen & the outlook is really important to me – year round, so it needed to be sorted. The previous owner had a good idea of making it formal but the scale was all wrong as was the planting they used and the garden was filled with so much rubbish. What a mess! We set about removing old sheds, a greenhouse under a tree, masses of weeds, sandpit, a pond/swamp & lots of dead plants! The terrace at …

Creating our Knot garden

The story of our Knot garden starts in June 2010. We had a really grotty small courtyard beside the house full of ground elder. I’ve done loads of knot gardens for my clients but have never had one myself… Here was my chance! I absolutely love knot gardens & the possibilities are endless. They suit all styles too – contemporary & classical. Knot gardens were first created in Medieval times & they were known as Embroidery for the earth – how fab is that? My initial sketch – it’s very simple as the area is small & I didn’t want it …

Bringing the garden in for Christmas

I love to decorate the place at Christmas although I’m not massively traditional & tend to go more minimal than maximum! We dragged in an old branch to form a quirky christmas ‘tree’ in the hall which I’ve decorated with little birds made of tweed & linen. Little pears add the colour – lime green – my favourite which I’ve echoed elsewhere in the house too. As it’s quite a tall hall I’ve used quite a big branch to reach the ceiling. My husband thinks I’m mad but seems to think that’s what living with a designer is all about! …

My love for drawing

As I was trained at Art College initially, drawing is my passion & I find it so much more satisfying to sketch out all my ideas on my board than on a CAD system (I do have that too however). I create doodles & work on an A2 sketch pad & tracing paper over the top of a printed site survey to get a proper sense of space, scale & what’s actually possible. Proper proportion is essential in every scheme – be it tiny or several acres & that’s what really counts. If it works on paper it will look …

How I got where I am!

Becoming a garden designer This is about what happens in my own garden, studio & life beyond smart photos of my clients completed gardens. Lots of designers do that but here’s a behind the scenes look at everything else that goes into being a garden designer. How I got here, why I love what I do & how I’m doing with my own garden & interior projects. I love all aspects of design & lots of things inspire me & my work – often nothing to do with gardens & gardening! My own garden is quite a project that has …