Prize Winning Small Town Garden


Step from your lovely new home into a secluded, peaceful oasis of plants and dappled sunlight, the perfect place to enjoy a freshly ground coffee with the Sunday papers, maybe a lazy lunch or a candle-lit supper with friends.

We were far from this idyll, with a few concrete slabs making a utilitarian path and some turf, as our starting point, but that was the exciting part – it gave us a blank canvas!


The garden must include an entertaining space large enough to incorporate a dining table seating ten people.  A pond with a bridge, masses of plants, lighting and the garage at the far end of the garden must be screened.


We separated the garden into two distinct areas of roughly one third and two thirds.  The french windows open onto a dining area of natural stone paving, under a chunky, oak pergola encompassed with raised beds and a simple, stainless steel water feature.  With festoons of climbing plants this is an enticing area,  whether for morning coffee with early shafts of light filtering through the vegetation, or el fresco suppers on a warm summer’s evening.

A small lawn reinforces the lush, greenness of a plants-woman’s garden and leads through an arch to the upper level.  Here it opens out to a secret garden, edged with trees and bamboo, tall grasses and strong architectural plants, teeming with butterflies and bees in summer and all focused on the pond, complete with bridge.

Fran and David were very ‘hands-on’ people and Fran wanted to do the actual planting herself. So I gave advice on the right structural plants for the different areas of the garden and together we brain-stormed, to devise a plant list which has matured and flourished providing the perfect retreat.

David’s interest in pre-historic creatures shows in the ichthyosaur we integrated into the design. The contrast of a stone monolith and contemporary water feature, heighten the atmosphere and at night, subtle lighting amongst the plants gives a fabulous, interplay of shapes and shadows.  We had created the idyll!

We were delighted when the garden won the C G Fry’s “Most Outstanding New Garden” award.