Established Garden Design Company Working in the Chilterns and North London




My Plant of the month - April

My plant of the month has to be Amerlanchier lamarckii (Snowy mespilus).


This wonderful small tree or shrub has the most amazing light flowers in spring and makes a really elegant multi-stem tree in time..... the new leaves are bronze-tinged and these turn to green and then an orange red in Autumn. You also get purple fruits - so whats not to like?

It ticks all of the garden designers requirements of flower interest, fruits and autumn colour.  It likes some sun but is really effective in semi-shade or even woodland settings, and is Beth Chatto's favorite woodland plant. I use this in a lot of my planting schemes as a small, value shrub and will always use 3 or more to create that spash of colour in Spring and Autumn.

It's finished - 1st garden build of 2016 complete!


Going back to a previous blog at the start of March, my brilliant landscaper Rian (Silverleaf landscaping) finished the really complex build of the design last week and we planted the front garden/driveway up over two days with Olive trees, Tibetan cherries, Liquidamber and Pinus mugo plus many other shrubs and perennials. I hope you agree its looking great and will prove to be a really practical scheme, that also softens the house with planting and new practical terracing.

I can't wait to see the planting fill out over this summer now!



Are they driveways or 'gardens'?!

Driveways seem to be a common theme in my work at the moment and its worth noting that they need to be thought through and designed carefully to maximise the visual impact of the design.

First of all the surfacing needs to be 'SUDS' compliant to ensure good water percolation through the driveway surface to prevent runoff and too much stress on local drains when it rains - this is a legal requirement.

Second, the driveway should feel like a garden with generous planting beds, vertical accents in the foliage, trees and shrubs. Our cars are getting bigger but good planting design around the main parking areas will be worth the investment to complement the front of the house and soften the effect of the cars sitting outside.

Here is a peak at a new design that I have just presented to clients - very tricky in terms of the fall/heights and getting the right balance of planting to hard landscape!

My first garden design build of the year has started.....

My first garden build of the year that I am project managing for the client has started in earnest - we are re-making a driveway and front garden in Ivy House Lane - Berkhamsted.

The client brief was to soften the look of the driveway and have more planting by the house. I have designed a curved driveway with full borders spilling out over granite edging, combined with feature circular paved areas near the house. The house is quite stark and modern so once we have removed 3 decades of driveway repairs and concrete - about 40 tonnes to-date of old materials we can start the main construction and then planting! I am using Rian and his team at  'Silverleaf Landscaping'  for the main landscape works who also built the front garden for me in the neighbouring property for me!

We now a week in and looking forward to marking out the new design on the ground today or tomorrow......

A 3 tonne digger will soon get the main works sorted!

A 3 tonne digger will soon get the main works sorted!

First paved area being constructed....

First paved area being constructed....

Spring is around the corner......

How do I know that Spring is around the corner.....? Yes of course the bulbs are all poking through the early morning frosts of this cold February week but its not these that alert garden designers - its the phone starting to ring again after what feels like such a long GREY winter.

I have started 3 small design projects in the last couple of weeks after phone calls from new clients and also been contacted by some of last years clients to start the next phase of their planting projects. The most exciting part of this beckoning spring for me will be to re-visit all the gardens we created last year that should really look stunning in their second full season.

I also have my own mammoth project this year, my own new gardens - front and rear of our 60's Berkhamsted house that we  moved into last September - but I know I will suffer the classic garden designer's downfall - always too busy on other peoples gardens to dedicate enough time to your own. Things are already changing in the garden everyday now I have yielded chainsaw and pruning saw to trees, shrubs and the awful leylandii that seem so prevalent in this age of house and garden and let more light into the garden.

Whatever your garden ambitions for the Spring and Summer ahead - don't leave it too late to phone a designer, landscaper or gardener for help, Spring is nearly here and with it an opportunity to really improve your outdoor space for this year and the years to come......



I have been amazed at the comments my clients have made to me this year about the tulip displays I have planted... both the early and late tulips have come in much quicker succession this year due to the warm winter and dryish spring leading to a fabulous colour display! The highlights have been the pure white 'Purissima' mixed with the yellow 'Golden Apeldoorn' and the classic combination of the silky black 'Queen of the Night' with the purple fringed white of 'Shirley'. All in all clients and now the garden designer are fired up for summer - bring it ON!