Talking tree houses

Tree houses are incredibly popular at the moment & why indeed not! They are fantastic for all – adults & children. I stayed in one in South Africa when I got married & we had monkeys joining us for breakfast. It was so stylish & well equipped – quite amazing. I am being asked more & more for tree houses with two currently on my books – one town & one country. There are lots of wonderful options so imagination & funding are the only limits. This is only a brief post today as I’m chock-a-block with work & meetings …

Unearthing a wine cellar!

I designed this bed full of pompom topiary for my client Jane to replace the overgrown straggly shrubs that were there. Whilst the guys were digging over the ground they found a hole! it was a filled in hole, but curiosity got the better of all so the team kept digging! stairs were found too! They lead sadly not to an amazing tomb filled with riches but a large underground room. How interesting – hmmm what shall we do with it? A wine cellar was considered a great idea but how do we stop little ones falling in? A lovely …

Land sculpture

As I was telling you yesterday about a project near Henley that involves land sculpture I thought I’d share some images of how we did it at another site near Amersham. It’s the garden titled ‘Estate’ in my folio. Here are a few ‘before’ shots – as you can see, the terrace hovers over the garden with an ugly retaining wall with no safety barrier. My client wanted to bring the garden to the house so land sculpture seemed the ideal solution. Here is my sketch for a substantial new raised garden! As the garden is so large, the scale …

Hi ho hi ho….

Happy New Year everybody! I hope it brings you everything you wish for. Thanks again to all my existing clients for such wonderful projects – it’s been a pleasure. I hope you continue to enjoy your gardens for years to come. Yes – I’m back to work today. I have a few schemes on the board at the moment & a few others brewing so I’m hoping for a really busy & interesting 2014. Of course I will share here & talk about processes before all the beautiful finished photos go up on my website. My priority is a site …

Living with a garden designer

No, I’m not going to talk about my husband or let him tell you abut how difficult living with me might be! This is a quick one today to introduce you to my other companions – Lottie, Dillon & Charlie – For me living without pets just isn’t on. I was brought up with a menagerie & I just couldn’t imagine life without a dog at the very least. This is Charlie. Sadly she didn’t stay this cute – she is 4 now but my companion when I’m drawing, thinking, walking & sometimes visiting clients. She is a Briard & …

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 …