RHS Chelsea Flower Show medal-winning Garden Designs

Paul's background as an RHS Chelsea Flower Show medal-winning garden designer means he is still asked to work on garden designs for public and private clients. He is working to fully integrate these commissions into the Grow Places social enterprise ethos and welcomes contact with those who might wish to learn more about garden designing. 


There are three key factors to a successful garden design:

  • Interpreting client needs through empathic listening, strong drawing skills & clear communication.

  • Integrating the classic design principles of unity, simplicity, transition, balance, colour, line, proportion & repetition.

  • Respecting the 'genius loci' or unique spirit of the place, including environmental conditions.


For private gardens, an initial meeting on-site starts to explore the sense of the place and the needs and desires of its users. A written brief forms the basis for further discussion and agreement of the commission. Community and public spaces will necessitate a longer consultation process to arrive at an agreed design.


Depending on garden size and complexity, a full topographical survey is undertaken by ourselves or commissioned from surveyors for each project, forming the basis for all ongoing design work. Photographic and tree surveys are also undertaken, as well as detailed soil analysis as required. 

Concept Plan

Based on the information gained from meeting with the client(s) and from the survey and site analysis, design ideas are presented for discussion and further development, evolving towards an agreed Concept Plan. 

Planting Plan

Based on client preference, along with site and design characteristics, planting design combines themes of colour, texture, form, scent and seasonality. The outcome is a Planting Plan that shows each plant, shrub and tree in its rightful place, accompanied by a schedule that lists full names, sizes and quantities required. 

Hard Landscaping Details

Indicating key construction details, materials and specifications to enable a contractor, quantity surveyor, structural engineer or fabricator to cost the design. 



Preparing plans and documentation to support the selection of appropriate contractors within agreed budgets. 


Tracking down the essential and sometimes elusive materials, plants, sculpture, furniture, lighting, etc that will bring the garden to fruition. 

Project management

On-site visits, ensuring that all stages of the garden build and planting remain faithful to the agreed plans. 

Consultancy and Advice

Offering ongoing advice and guidance on the progress and evolution of the maturing garden.


Fees are charged by an hourly or day rate or a fixed fee for a piece of work, depending on client wishes. Many clients find a fixed fee for the Concept Plan, and Planting Plan reassuring. Hourly or day rates apply best to tendering, project management, sourcing of materials and consultancy. 

Other expenses, eg printing costs, other travel expenses and basic overnight accommodation where required, are charged at cost. 

Fees for external contractors/specialists services are payable directly by the client.