Latest News from Garden Design School

Here at Garden Design School we build a nurturing and supportive environment – which doesn’t stop even after you’ve graduated! We love to hear how our graduates businesses are thriving or how they are winning awards or exciting new contracts.

RHS Malvern Show 2015

Lisa Burchill and Robin Ideson have just recently completed their Diploma and are now working together to create 'Out of Darkness' garden at the RHS Malvern Show.

Lisa explains - Every garden has shaded areas - all it takes is a hedge or high wall and you are left with dark corner that you may feel is uninspiring and difficult to plant.  Our 'Out of Darkness' garden will show how these, perhaps uninspiring areas can be transformed into a haven of calm and natural beauty.  The planting scheme highlights the wonderful array of shade-tolerant plants available to any garden enthusiast, creating an attractive blend of colour and texture.  The fresh, vibrant planting is balanced with crisp hard landscaping to create a dynamic combination of light and dark.  The showcase piece within the garden is the innovative moss graffiti, which when viewed in perspective alongside the decked trunk feature, creates a striking tree image.  The garden also offers a quiet area in which to sit and soak up the tranquil atmosphere. 

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For further information on Lisa visit her website here and  Robin's here 

RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2015 - The Story So Far

Amy Robertson, Claire Moreno and Wendy von Buren, who met while studying garden design at Garden Design School in Surrey, have designed a garden for the RHS Hampton Court show to raise awareness of issues affecting women's health.

Claire says ‘The ‘Wellbeing of Women Garden’ will be thoughtful, feminine and calm, with stepping stones marking each decade of the charity's work lead past a calming water feature to a tranquil seating area for talking and reflection. There are panels of flowers cast in concrete representing loss and a living wall celebrating the babies and women who have thrived due to the charity's work. The planting is based on medicinal, sensory and aromatic plants in purples, blues and whites reflecting the charity's logo.’

This garden started as a collaboration of the 3 designers and has now grown into a wider collaboration with the main contractor; sponsors and artists. The garden would not be possible without their time, goodwill and financial backing.

“Although we had been warned that doing a Show Garden was a lot of work we have been amazed at how much we’ve had to do over the last month finalising the finer details of the garden and visiting our generous sponsors and suppliers and there is still so much more to do! Luckily there are three of us to spread the stress and have a good laugh while we’re doing it. One of the largest jobs has been to finalise the planting plan and order the majority of the plants from The Plant Company in Pulborough, West Sussex who are growing them for us. The grasses will all come from a specialist grass nursery Meadow Gate in Sidlesham, West Sussex, the Yew hedge from Deepdale Trees and we’ve already taken delivery of the roses so they can be pampered into looking their best come July!

The three silver birch trees which Hedgeworx are generously donating have been ordered and we will post photos once they are in leaf and looking a bit more photogenic. We’ve also chosen the finish for our water bowl which is being made by Urbis Design and have spent probably a little too long working out our bench design.

Our first group outing was to The Tactile Studio in North London where Rachel Dein is making the 3 concrete Botanical panels which will “hang” on the yew hedge. The panels are so beautiful and we had a tough time deciding which three to chose. Rachel informs us that our three have been cast and we’re looking forward to seeing pictures of them very soon. Rachel’s panels have just made it to the final of the RHS ‘Garden Product of the Year’ and her work can been seen (and bought!) at her stall at RHS Chelsea this year. She is also one of the speakers at the Gardens Illustrated Festival in April.

It was then on to London Stone’s showroom in Knockholt, Kent to see the sawn York Stone paving and setts that they are generously donating for the stepping stones and patio in the garden. It was a bit of a cold day but that didn’t stop us from having a good look around their great display of all the different stone and finishes that they do.

We also made a quick visit to Jackson’s Fencing near Ashford in Kent to check out their Venetian range which, with its’ vertical slats has a contemporary feel to it and which will look great either side of the sections of Yew hedge and Living Wall. We just need to finalise the measurements as the fencing will need to be bespoke to fit our design.

And finally our most recent outing was to Biotecture’s nursery near Chichester, West Sussex to see the living wall panels that they are lending us for the show. The walls are pretty impressive from a construction as well as horticultural perspective and we had a really informative morning looking at all of the different designs and talking plant options for our wall.

I really hope your enjoying reading about our progress and look forward to posting our next update soon….”

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For more information on Claire, Amy and Wendy visit their websites Claire's website here, Amy's website here, Wendy's website here

RHS Cardiff Flower Show 2015 - Lisa Cox wins Bronze medal

We are delighted to announce that 2008 student, Lisa Cox, was awarded a Bronze medal for her first show garden at RHS Flower Show Cardiff 2015 with Victoria Park Mazda entitled “A Front Garden”.

Lisa has recently relocated to Monmouthshire so when she was approached by the RHS and Victoria Park Mazda, she jumped at the opportunity to design the show garden. 

The response from the public at the show was amazing and they particularly loved the setts detail in the driveway and the vibrant spring planting.

Lisa wanted to show people that it’s possible to create a functional space whilst maintaining the essence of a garden.  Front gardens don’t only have to be about parking the car and housing the bins.

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For more information on Lisa, visit her website here

The Society of Garden Designers Small Budget Garden Award 2015

 'I was delighted to be short-listed for my design for a small courtyard garden in Hampshire. This space is very important as it is overlooked not only by the house, but tenants in the flat and the owner's home office. It needed to be low-maintenance yet look good all-year and withstand small boys and a terrier. My clients are keen gardeners who grew up in Provence so had strong ideas of the look they wanted. The finished garden is full of scented roses, traditional lavender with box hedging and flowers for cutting'. 

The Small Budget Garden Award 2015 was presented to Garden Design School graduate Rebecca Smith at the SGD Awards for a garden built with a budget of £20,000 and under. 

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For more information on Rebecca, visit her website here

Grand Designs Live - Garden Designer of the Year

Christine Wilkie, Graduate of Garden Design School in 2008, has been awarded the fantastic accolade of Garden Designer of the Year 2013 at this year's Grand Designs Live.

Her brief was to design a garden that reflected the Grand Designs ethos of Contemporary, Inspirational, Ethical/environmental. 

Glow, is a small city garden designed for a busy, eco-conscious owner wanting a low-maintenance, ethical garden that is strong on visual impact and style. A key feature in the garden is a tiled feature wall housing a sleek, built-in eco-fire. The fire provides a welcoming focal point enticing you into the garden with its mesmerising flames. A floating patio, laid in alternating bands of timber and tiles, flanked by artificial lawn, provides an inviting spot to kick back and relax. The floating patio emulates the glow of the flames with soft amber under-lighting, a combination that extends the garden's use into the evening.

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Surrounding the patio is a permeable pathway of decorative aggregate made from 100% recycled ceramics. The pathway is designed to take rainwater run-off from the floating patio. A grey timber pergola spans the garden to frame views while in the garden, as well as when viewed from indoors.

Raised beds clad in ultra-thin ceramic tiles, made from recycled materials, are packed with lush planting requiring minimum care while also providing a source of nectar for wildlife. Plants are chosen to add texture and interest with fiery red and orange hues. Boutique bee hotels installed in the cedar alcoves provide a haven for bees. Chic containers are planted with architectural shrubs and sit on top of timber plinths.  Buxus cubes at each corner emphasise the garden's symmetry and add to the sense of harmony. Simple, contemporary outdoor furniture completes the look.

For more information on Christine visit her website  here

RHS Malvern Spring Show 2013 Award Winners

Kelly-Rose Walker and Andy Jordan met while studying at Garden Design School in 2012. During the course, they decided quite quickly that they wanted  to create a show garden and were going to 'go for it' as soon as possible,  to both generate business and start making a name for themselves in the garden design world!

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Equipped with pens and drafting paper, they produced their outline plan and the journey began.  The design was sent to the RHS, and the pair received a grant of £7 K. Thrilled at the news Andy and Kelly-Rose started preparations to turn the paper design into reality. Securing sponsorship would be vital to the success of the garden. Green Line Plants agreed to supply all the plants, a mosaic artist was commissioned to build a feature wall and several build companies offered to supply materials at reduced rates in return for marketing.   At the first show ground meeting at Malvern just two months before the start of the build, Kelly-Rose and Andy received some bad news - their landscaper had pulled out of the build. Thankfully Cotswold Estates & Gardens Ltd stepped in and the show could go on. 

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The build proved both exciting, exhausting and a huge learning curve for both.  All the hard work, long hours and stress of trying to build a Mediterranean climate garden in the midst of a British spring had paid off - Kelly-Rose and Andy had won a Silver Gilt. The public too warmed to the design, turning up in numbers despite the wind and rain. Some of the most frequent comments were; "So much interest, it's amazing what you can do in such a small space", "Beautiful planting" and "You have given me lots of ideas for my own garden".

Thanks to the tutors at Garden Design School who gave us the confidence to take on this challenge, and for teaching us the skills to produce our first show garden.

 To view the garden on the RHS website click here

Tell us what you think

Have you found this newsletter interesting? Is there a topic you’d like to hear about next time? Whatever your thoughts we’d love to hear them. Get in touch and let us know.

latest news from garden design school