I studied landscape architecture at the University of Sheffield, writing my thesis about the impact of the storms of 1987. I then went on to work in local government, creating gardens and developing public spaces in Manchester and the North West. When I moved to London to pursue my career as an actor, I became a freelance designer and garden maintenance practitioner, which helped me develop my knowledge of plants and garden design on a day to day basis. From this, my philosophy grew of creating gardens that don't just look pretty but which work for both relaxation as well as management. From that my passion grew of working with plants that give more than just one thing to a scheme; if it has flowers, then they need to be fragrant; if no fragrance then they have to earn their place with stunning bark, winter silhouette or autumn colour! The plant variety then is also important; a simple flower is great for pollinators, whereas a double flower has little or no value for bees.
My belief is very much that a garden is a special place for healing , relaxation, contemplation and play. I have designed gardens for adventurers, film makers, farmers and dreamers. These gardens have also included memorials and resting places as well as look out posts, train tracks and hidey- holes. My edible projects remind people that we can enjoy more than just the sight of a pretty garden, we can taste it too.
I now design and maintain gardens, do makeovers and reclamation projects all around the South of London and the Home Counties as well as one- off projects for clients in France and Spain.
I also help run community growing spaces and run workshops on growing your own food.
Either a full or half day, I will visit you in your garden to do a full assessment of your needs and the potential of your garden. I note key trees and shrubs, features like steps, slopes and walls as well as soil type & aspect.
From this and my discussion with you I produce a list of recommendations. A hand drawn scale plan of your garden can be included for a fee, with annotations and guidelines.
I will rescue an overgrown or neglected garden by using careful pruning techniques and occasionally removing unwanted and overcrowded plants. The first hour will be a consultation with you to clarify and agree the work.
Full Garden Design
This begins with an initial no obligation consultation at which we discuss your needs. Once we have agreed the design commission, I will survey your garden, including levels and photographing it in detail. From this I will produce a design drawing to scale, showing all proposals. From this point if the design is approved, then we can proceed to the build stage. At this point I can hand the design over to your contractor and work as a consultant or I can manage the whole build, working for an hourly or daily rate. I can liase with contractors to establish the construction costs and agree the best price. I have a contractor I regularly work with or we can go out to tender.
If you already have the beds for the plants, but don’t know what exactly will thrive where, I can hand draw you a planting plan showing individual plants and the spacing required. All plant names are listed so that you can do your own shopping. I can also supply plants if you wish, or we can visit suppliers together, hand-picking specimens. I generally plan my planting based on growth over 2-3 seasons.
In other words, I plant things with gaps around them that will be filled over that time. This is the most cost-effective method, instead of high-density planting which costs you more and which can seem very wasteful to many.
High Density Planting
High density planting is obviously desired if an instant mature garden effect is required and this can be provided. The number of plants per square metre will be considerably higher and the cost of supplying & planting the high density plan will be significantly higher than the grow-in version. Generally my clients see fast results in the first year of a grow-in planting plan and appreciate the cost saving! This kind of plan involves a greater knowledge of plants and their growth habit and so is a good clue to a good garden designer’s experience!
Dry River Bed with Cor-ten Bridge
Victorian Egyptologist's Garden
1950's Retro Garden
"I know nothing about gardening and needed someone I could both trust but also feel inspired by. Louise matched these two needs perfectly. She took my rather vague ideas and created a border rich with variety and colour that surpassed my expectations yet still came within the budget I was working to. I am delighted with Louise’s work and would not hesitate to recommend her to others." From Peter Z-F
"Louise designed our back garden for us when we moved in here 10 years ago. As it has several large trees around it and is quite shady it has a woodland feel to it, so most of the planting is green and white. The ground slopes away towards the back of the garden, so the beds were built up using old railway sleepers and a path runs behind it. At the time we had one 18 month old grandson. We now have five grandchildren and they all love running along this path, hiding from the adults and making dens in the bushes! Over the years the planting has grown up and filled in all the gaps, making a lovely private space. The design has stood the test of time." From Mr and Mrs S
Whether researching a script or designing a garden, Lou is a creative thinker and visionary who combines her talent and broad experience with practicality to deliver excellent work.