South East London Garden Album
A work in progress, this town house garden currently awaits the completion of its central feature: a striking three meter high water fall and formal pool on which a custom built seating area appears to float.
Designed as a contemporary courtyard, the garden serves as an outdoor oasis as well as an idealised landscape transition between the house and that ‘home away from home’ at the bottom of the garden.
Japanese Water Garden Album
Ponds are a central element of most gardens and often represent real or mythical lakes or seas. Sometimes they provide a habitat for carps (koi) which introduce additional color and life to the garden – and some say, depending on placement, prosperity!
Water as a design element in the garden is crucial even though the presence of water itself is not required as in the dry garden of the karesansui style with its raked sand and gravel which references the timeless motion of the sea and a mere rock can symbolise the auspicious turtle or crane islands which guarantee the garden owner longevity if not immortality..
Working in tandem with a dedicated group from Kids Company, we developed a garden that won silver gilt at Hampton court – anecdotally the judges were divided, with half adamant the garden deserved Gold whilst some thought that one or two constructional flaws such as a …fleck of paint here or a poorly driven in nail there reduced the award to silver gilt – needless to say the Kids thought that their garden was pure gold.
Their identification with their garden, as well as their single minded dedication to its construction – they were happy to work from 7.30 in the morning till after 9.00 at night to ensure its succcesful completion- were just some of many signs of the benefits they derived from their exposure to landscape design and construction process.
Greenwich Garden Album
This garden was prompted by the construction of a new conservatory which removed the initial barrier between indoors and outdoors. The essential link between house and garden was then strengthened by the creation of a series of outdoor rooms that feature seating areas equipped with fire pit, a water rill with integral hardwood bridge and an outdoor building that functions as a play space and home office.
As well as an emphasis on al fresco living, the client’s brief also required the garden to be enjoyed from the comfort of the conservatory, so that irrespective of climate or season, the visitor could not fail but to be taken on a visual journey around the garden.
Japanese Garden Album
Japanese gardens are traditional gardens that create miniature idealized landscapes, often in a highly abstract and stylized way. Each feature tells a story from the humblest pebble to a priceless rock which may symbolize Mount Mehru or the five Isles of the Immortals which lie at the sacred heart of garden making in Japan.
The history of the Japanese garden is the search for mans’ place within nature.
Design Charity Album
The Design charity has two defining ‘objects’: First, we are committed to the design and build of transformative environments for charitable causes. Secondly, as part of our educational role, we are pledged to research these environments and to publish the results for the benefit of all.
St. Michael’s Hospice Album
We designed and built a healing garden for St. Michaels Hospice, Harrogate in 2009. Borrowed scenery informs and inspires this therapeutic garden design. This shot reminds us that ‘healing’ is fundamental to mankind’s relationship with Mother Nature. For a more detailed appraisal of the garden we quote the Hospice News Letter:
‘The new look outdoor area incorporates trickling water features for those in meditative moods, poetic engravings for thoughtful reflection, serpentine labyrinth like St Michael lines for those looking for deeper meaning and stylish sail shades to rest underneath.
Pilgrim’s Garden Album
Using the John Bunyan text as its inspiration, this garden takes the visitor from ‘Doubting castle to the Celestial City via House Beautiful, Vanity Fair and The River of Death. Symbolic reference to ones spiritual location on the pilgrimage are made using a broad palette of materials. These visual metaphors range from meaningful mosaics formed from pebbles and stones to contemporary plastic screens illustrating age old spiritual dilemmas. Drift wood embellishes the circular, pergola walls of the garden, enchanting and transporting the show visitors in Birmingham to a 17th century mystical vision of a spiritually informed universe. This show garden won a Royal Horticultural Society Gold medal at BBC Gardeners World Live.
Garden Soap Album
Garden Soap is a landscape portrayal of popular culture. This Chelsea Garden features a ‘pub scene’ set as the central water feature, a peaked roofed terraced pergola and a marked shift in design from formal geometry to the more romantic flow of informal garden design. Referencing Gaudi and Nikki de Saint Phalle in its inspiration and particularly its choice of materials, the garden makes extensive use of broken tile mosaic together with rumbled slate, and reclaimed brick sculpture.
Private Garden 3 Album
A collection of garden designs which range from the cutting edge to the quirky, from the modern and minimalistic to the more traditional…Or viewed from the perspective of our choice of materials, we move from rendered and painted walls, to curved sleeper beds – laid vertically! – from decking steps which cunningly conceal a sand pit, to sleeper steps with integral herb bed, from rumbled tile and reclaimed brick lining a water channel, to broken tile mosaic designed to depict yin and yang.
Private Garden 2 Album
A collection of medium sized gardens and their associated features. These range from the creation of a sunken, ‘Italianate’ garden to the rear of a victorian terraced house, to the re-modelling of a small country house garden which featured a new driveway allowing visitors to fully appreciate the impact of an impressive entrance way to the side of the house. This driveway proved to be a major project in itself as it was constructed from reclaimed granite cobbles measuring anything up to a foot in depth and was pointed with moulten tar. However, this process was eclipsed by the construction of our sunken garden which demanded the removal of 230 tons of soil to reduce the height of the garden by a metre overall, as well as the construction of a three foot thick sandstone retaining wall designed to hold the house firmly in place. In a similar spirit of heavy construction, the water feature in this garden required the provision of a five foot raft of concrete wrapped around with fibre glass, as well as an arched flight of stairs constructed from declaimbrick and sanstone laid initially on wooden formwork.
Private Garden 1 Album
A collection of small private gardens which range from a ‘no maintenance’ bachelor pad with built in hot tub, to gardens that primarily need to ‘look good’ from the third storey of a modern town house;from gardens that must accommodate the daily demands of a growing family, to those designed to come alive mainly at night….
Kids Company Album
We have recently begun working with Kids Company who provide practical, emotional and educational support to vulnerable inner-city children. Their services reach 14,000 children across London, including the most deprived and at risk whose parents are unable to care for them due to their own practical and emotional challenges.
In collaboration with the kids from Kids Company we are designing a mixed age, musical play space for one of their centres in Camberwell, London. A portion of this space will be submitted for entry to the Poets section of the RHS flower show at Hampton Court, and it will be based around the Lewis Carol poem, ‘Jabberwocky’.
This is an overtly interactive and therapeutic environment designed around the theme of a hero’s quest in order to promote and support emotional well being and facilitate the healing process through the development of sustained, caring relationships, where both practical and emotional needs are met.
Surf Survivors Fund Album
We are also designing for SURF Survivors Fund who work to improve the lives of the Rwandan Survivors of Genocide. SURF acts as a channel to distribute financial assistance to groups, individuals and charitable organisations in the day-to-day operations of bringing the people of Rwanda hope, safety, and a decent standard of living.
In a similar fashion to Kids Company, we have submitted the Surf garden to the Royal Horticultural Society for exhibition in the Visionary Category of the Tatton Flower Show. Though the design is markedly abstract and conceptual in execution ( these are hallmarks of Visionary Gardens), the theme of the garden deals with the story of Agnes, a Rwandan refugee who at the age of only seven actually made this frantic journey through the Congo jungle, pursued by the DRC militias for three years fleeing Rwanda where her family was lost to the Genocide. She was miraculously rescued by the Red Cross and started a new life in London where she now lives and works as a freelance member of staff for TheDesign CIC.
This garden, then serves as a metaphor for a Rwandan Refugee’s flight to freedom – though the conceptual mechanism may well be familiar to all who long to escape their own mental jungle.The underlying design concepts speak of survival through a desperate struggle to ‘follow the light’, oscillating between Rivers of ‘Blood’ and ‘Life’, ultimately turning circles in pursuit of a ‘Promised land’.This garden speaks of genocide – people simply ‘disappear’ here, leaving only their abandoned clothes and possessions to populate its jungle.
This garden will be rebuilt for SURF Survivors Fund, at a site of their choice, as a memorial to their struggle.