A beautiful country house is as much about its surroundings as its bricks and mortar, something that the best garden designers in Britain all understand. We’ve completely revised and updated our list of the finest of them all.
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‘It makes a lot of sense to have the landscape designer in the team from the outset, to be involved with the architect in masterplanning the site, including garages, outbuildings, swimming pools, tennis courts and so on, ensuring they are in the best possible location and to maximise the opportunities for the garden to run out from the house,’ says garden designer Graham Lloyd-Brunt.
An initial feasibility meeting on site to talk about ideas will allow a designer to determine the potential and scope of a project, plus rough costs involved.
The next stage is the development of an initial creation of a masterplan before the agreed design and specification are prepared for contractor tendering and more formal costing.
A designer’s fee could be fixed or calculated as a percentage of the project cost – a rule of thumb percentage is about 15%–20% for the design and project management, but, of course, much depends on the scale and complexity of your project.
Specialists in larger country gardens across South-East England and the Channel Islands, West Sussex-based Debbie Roberts and Ian Smith are repeat winners of the Society of Garden Designers Garden Awards. They are known for well-structured designs, softened with a light touch and naturalistic planting.
01403 891084; www.acreswild.co.uk
Andy Sturgeon Design
Winner of numerous Best in Show and Gold medals at Chelsea, including both in 2019, landscape and garden designer Andy Sturgeon says he is inspired by art and architecture and favours bold contemporary design, natural materials and innovative planting. His practice works across the UK and internationally.
01273 672575; www.andysturgeon.com
Angela Collins Garden Design
Designer of classic gardens with full, romantic planting, Angela Collins works on major projects across Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds. She is admired for creating gardens that are sensitive to their historic settings and for her deep horticultural knowledge.
07876 592440; www.angelacollins.co.uk
Arne Maynard Garden Design
Designer Tricia Guild recently described Arne Maynard as ‘one of the finest garden designers working today’. His romantic gardens nestle around historic houses, creating a timeless feel with structural designs, pleached trees and strong-shaped topiary, mixed with soft plantings of lavender and roses. Mr Maynard is a lecturer, the author of several books and an expert plantsman.
020–7689 8100; www.arnemaynard.com
Wiltshire-based landscape architect Balston Agius is run by experienced designers Michael Balston and Marie-Louise Agius, who work both nationally and internationally, offering a broad range of services and expertise. Designers of the RHS COP26 Garden at the 2021 RHS Chelsea Flower Show — demonstrating how our gardens can play a key role in protecting biodiversity, our planet and people — their practice specialises in land works, creating completely new estates that incorporate wildflower meadows, lakes and walkways, as well as woodlands and copses.
01380 848181; www.balstonagius.co.uk
Cameron Landscapes & Gardens
Alasdair Cameron’s lifelong passion for plants is evident in the lush oases he creates, be they courtyards in the capital or abundantly planted gardens in the country. He specialises in working with the natural landscape to create relaxed spaces that can be enjoyed all year round, with atmospheric and imaginative designs, and his practice known for its fully integrated garden plan, build and maintenance service.
020–8969 3399; www.camerongardens.co.uk
Naturalistic and generous planting, combined with a strong sense of structure, are the hallmarks of a design by this full-service garden-design consultancy, headed by former art historian Charlotte Rowe. Landscape bones are clean lined and architectural in style, softened with planting, and each garden is carefully considered in relation to the building it surrounds.
020–7602 0660; www.charlotterowe.com
An influential designer who works in the UK and internationally, Christopher Bradley-Hole describes his approach as ‘contemporary and textural, with roots in classic design principles’. With a range of projects currently including large country gardens on estates in Oxfordshire, Suffolk and Surrey, his practice, Bradley-Hole Schoenaich, has also recently completed phase two of the gardens at RHS Wisley in Surrey, incorporating the new landscape in front of the Arts- and-Crafts Laboratory building.
020–8939 1749; www.bhsla.co.uk
Cleve West Landscape Design
The designer, author and multiple medal winner at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show won best in show at Chelsea two years in succession. He has been creating gardens with a calm sense of place since 1990 and he has a well-established reputation for designs that experiment with mass and scale, often featuring sculpture. More recently, he has also become known for a more naturalistic approach to gardens and those that celebrate biodiversity. A passionate advocate of a plant-based lifestyle, his dedication to the environment can be seen in his plant and material choices.
The studio undertakes a diverse range of projects from country estates to contemporary urban gardens, currently including a garden surrounding a medieval manor house in the Cotswolds and wild meadows and orchards for a modern house near Chichester in West Sussex.
020–8977 3522; www.clevewest.com
Dan Pearson Studio
Known for his naturalistic planting using perennial plants and grasses and incorporating native trees, Dan Pearson is a leading landscape designer, horticulturalist, writer and advocate of respect for the environment. He has recently completed a new design for Delos at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent, reimagining Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville- West’s vision for their Mediterranean-inspired garden. The studio is also at work on projects in Tuscany, Italy, and the US, and has been appointed to rejuvenate the gardens at Belsay Hall in Northumberland, an English Heritage initiative.
20–7928 3800; www.danpearsonstudio.com
del Buono Gazerwitz Landscape Architecture
Italian-born Tommaso del Buono joined forces with American Paul Gazerwitz to set up their landscape-design practice in 2000, after working for the distinguished garden designer Arabella Lennox-Boyd. Both qualified landscape architects, they now have a leading reputation for thoughtful designs, tailored to respond to the essence of a place. They favour clean lines, often creating a strong structure complemented by softer planning to instil their gardens with a timeless, ethereal beauty. Taking on gardens and estates across the UK and Ireland, as well as Greece, France, Italy and the US, the studio has recently completed new gardens surrounding an early-18th-century Grade I-listed house, now a five-star hotel, in Ireland and extensive gardens for a Restoration period manor house on a Wiltshire estate.
020–7405 7405; www.delbuono-gazerwitz.co.uk
Harris Bugg Studio
Charlotte Harris and Hugo Bugg run an award-winning practice known for imaginative transformations of gardens at country estates, often in areas requiring careful conservation considerations. Recent projects include London’s first rooftop forest, forming part of an urban workspace in Blackfriars, the historic walled kitchen garden at RHS Bridgewater in Salford and the return to Nature of a farm in Devon.
01392 927172; www.harrisbugg.com
Landscape of Dreams is an apt title for Isabel and Julian Bannerman’s book, given their specialisation in imaginative, magical gardens with abundant herbaceous planting among dreamy re-created follies and gateways. They have designed gardens for The Prince of Wales at Highgrove, Gloucestershire, and the Castle of Mey, Caithness.
Based in Oxfordshire, James Alexander-Sinclair runs a popular garden-design practice that specialises in medium to large country gardens, working across the UK and internationally.
Mr Alexander-Sinclair is also a garden writer, an occasional television presenter, a lecturer, a vice-president of the RHS and a trustee of Horatio’s Garden, the charity devoted to creating beautiful gardens in NHS spinal-injury centres.
07515 336356; www.jamesalexandersinclair.com
Accomplished plantswoman Jinny Blom is known for her artistic approach to garden design, in both formal and informal styles that are always appropriate for the site. A favourite designer of The Prince of Wales, she is a repeat Chelsea medallist and focuses on gardens for private residences across the UK, as well as in Europe and the US. The follow-up publication to her bestselling book The Thoughtful Gardener: An Intelligent Approach to Garden Design (Jacqui Small, 2017) will be released next year.
020–3950 2899; www.jinnyblom.com
Jo Thompson Landscape & Garden Design
Expert plantswoman Jo Thompson runs a leading architectural-garden design studio, known for creating private and public gardens that are sensitive to their location and history, as well as intelligently planted. She is a fellow of the Landscape Institute and repeat medal winner at Chelsea.
020–7127 8438; www.jothompson-garden-design.co.uk
Lloyd Brunt Outdoor Design
Specialising in family gardens, currently including projects in the Lake District, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, Graham Lloyd-Brunt is known for designs that successfully combine simple, classic lines with bold, abundant and seasonal planting. Full borders close to the house gradually give way to flower meadows as the garden softly merges into the countryside beyond.
020–7222 2777; www.lloydbrunt.com
Marcus Barnett Studio
The creative use of a restrained palette and of elements drawn from local materials and plants gives this studio a distinctive edge. Garden designs are often deceptively simple, yet rich in their sense of place — which means that the award-winning studio, headed by principal Marcus Barnett, is in demand across the Cotswolds, Kent, Hampshire and London.
020–7736 9761; www.marcusbarnett.com
Leading landscape architect and plantswoman Marian Boswall is known for a strong understanding of how a garden relates to both the house and the land beyond, and for planting that feels natural to the site. She favours timeless and sustainable design, combined with a deep understanding of the natural world. She is a fervent believer in the healing power of plants and our intrinsic need for connection with the environment around us. Her book, Sustainable Garden (Frances Lincoln), is published this month.
020–7305 7153; www.marianboswall.com
Mazzullo + Russell Landscape Design
Directors Emma Mazzullo and Libby Russell joined forces in 2014 to create their own practice, after working for the distinguished garden designer Arabella Lennox-Boyd. Their extensive experience allows them to take on the largest sites and a wide variety of projects, yet they can also turn their hands to a small courtyard garden and make it magical. Working across the UK and internationally, they are known for high-quality, technically competent and well-considered designs overlaid with a romantic and original planting style.
020–7931 9996; www.mazzullorusselllandscapedesign.com
Pip Morrison Landscape Designs
Admired for his sensitive, thoughtful approach to design and expertise in the development of historic gardens, Pip Morrison redesigned the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, where the new statue of Diana, Princess of Wales was unveiled last year. He is also currently working on the master planning of the gardens at Auckland Castle, Co Durham, including the 18th-century formal pleasure grounds.
07817 736360; firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert Myers Associates
Specialising in contemporary gardens in historic landscapes, this practice undertakes both public and private projects. The winner of six Gold medals at Chelsea, Robert Myers is currently working on the landscape around Wren’s historic church St James’s, Piccadilly, W1, and on private terraces overlooking the City at 16, Old Bailey, EC4.
01885 227377; www.robertmyers-associates.co.uk
Sarah Eberle Landscape Design
Hampshire-based landscape architect and garden designer Sarah Eberle is probably Chelsea’s most decorated designer, with some 19 Gold medals under her belt. Working predominantly on the design of private gardens, including large country estates, she is a passionate advocate of environmental sustainability and the critical role of Nature in support of mental health and wellbeing.
07825 448620; www.sarah-eberle.com
Sarah Price Landscapes
Currently at work on rewilding the farm around a 15th-century house in the Black Mountains, Sarah Price’s lifelong love of wild environments is evident in her immersive, plant-driven designs. Based in Abergavenny, she is in demand for private and public gardens across the country, thanks to her artistic approach and playful use of materials. She has also recently completed Horatio’s Garden in Cardiff at the new Welsh Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Centre.
020–7703 3973; www.sarahpricelandscapes.com
Known for creating long-term landscapes for private and public projects at home and abroad, Todd Longstaffe-Gowan is garden adviser to Historic Royal Palaces, a lecturer and an author: his new book, English Garden Eccentrics (Paul Mellon Centre, Yale University Press) is published in April. Projects include The Morgan Library & Museum in New York and the Majlis Garden for the Venice Architectural Biennale in 2021.
020–3327 3780; www.tlg-landscape.co.uk
Planting schemes inspired by natural and semi-natural landscapes, combining modern design with prairie-style plants and grasses have earnt Tom Stuart-Smith an international following. He is a multiple medal winner at Chelsea and the co-master planner for RHS Bridgewater, Salford. Other recent projects include The Hepworth Wakefield Garden, West Yorkshire, designs at Chatsworth, Derbyshire, and Jellicoe Gardens at King’s Cross, N1, as well as a new garden at Knepp Castle, West Sussex, that seeks to maximise biodiversity.
020–7253 2100; www.tomstuartsmith.co.uk
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