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.
‘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.
Sussex-based Debbie Roberts and Ian Smith are known for well-structured designs soft-ened with full, naturalistic planting. They are specialists in designs for country gardens and estates, mainly in the south of England.
01403 891084; www.acreswild.co.uk
Angela Collins Garden Design
Classic architectural shapes and romantic planting in large country gardens are Angela Collins’s forte. She has deep plant knowledge and a notable ability to marry house and site.
07876 592440; www.angelacollins.co.uk
This hugely respected designer is known for creating magical spaces framed by pergolas, box hedging and quintessentially English herbaceous borders.
020–7931 9995; www.arabellalennoxboyd.com
Arne Maynard Garden Design
Known for creating a strong architectural structure in his garden designs, Arne Maynard softens formal lines with colourful summer perennials to create classic English gardens. He’s an author, lecturer and expert plantsman.
020–7689 8100; www.arnemaynard.com
Based in Devizes and London, Michael Balston and Marie-Louise Agius head this firm of landscape architects. It specialises in large, privately owned projects in the UK, as well as urban-design projects, including concepts for parks in China.
01380 848181; www.balstonagius.co.uk
Bradley-Hole Schoenaich Landscape
Christopher Bradley-Hole and Brita von Schoenaich are known for major contemporary landscapes, cityscapes, rooftop gardens, award-winning show gardens and heritage gardens. Their projects include the on-going design of RHS Wisley.
020–8939 1749; www.bhsla.co.uk
George Carter Garden Design
The master of classical and theatrical garden design, George Carter specialises in formal gardens. He’s inspired by the past, using topiary, hedging, obelisks, stone arches and statues that would have been seen in the gardens of the 17th and early 18th centuries, and is also a garden historian and author.
01362 668130; www.georgecartergardens.co.uk
Dan Pearson Studio
A lifelong passion for planting and an artistic, naturalistic approach to garden design has earned Dan Pearson an outstanding reputation. He’s also an author, broadcaster and landscape designer.
020–7928 3800; www.danpearsonstudio.com
Harris Bugg Studio
Known for formal and informal designs and the re-imagining of traditional materials such as steel, wood and paving, Charlotte Harris and Hugo Bugg are currently working on the kitchen-garden design at RHS Bridgewater.
01392 927172; www.harrisbugg.com
I. & J. Bannerman
Isabel and Julian Bannerman specialise in dreamy, luscious and floriferous gardens, filled with roses, delphiniums and spectacular climbers, as well as garden buildings. Their work includes designs for The Prince of Wales at Highgrove and the Castle of Mey.
A writer, television presenter and speaker, he is also a well-established landscape and garden designer. Based in Oxfordshire, he works across the UK and internationally, turning his hand to everything from sleek modern to rustic cottage gardens.
07515 336356; www.jamesalexandersinclair.com
Landscape architect Jinny Blom is known for her sweeping vision and imaginative schemes. She’s a repeat Chelsea medallist and recently completed the garden design for The Fife Arms, overlooking the River Clunie in Braemar, Aberdeenshire.
020–3950 2899; www.jinnyblom.com
Pip Morrison Landscape Designs
An expert in the historic development of old gardens, uncovering their layers and designing a way forward, Pip Morrison is currently working on the early-18th-century formal landscape at Chettle House in Dorset, as well as the masterplan of the gardens and restoration of the 17th-century walled garden at Auckland Castle in Co Durham.
07817 736360; firstname.lastname@example.org
Jo Thompson Landscape & Garden Design
An expert in creating gardens that sit naturally in their surroundings, Jo Thompson is considered one of the UK’s leading plantswomen. She is the winner of four gold medals at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
020–7127 8438; www.jothompson-garden-design.co.uk
One of Britain’s best-known landscape architects, Kim Wilkie is known for sculptural designs on a large scale. He’s famous for the Orpheus landform design at Boughton House, home of the Duke of Buccleuch, and for the sweeping, stepped curves at Heveningham Hall.
01489 891691; www.kimwilkie.com
Lloyd Brunt Outdoor Design
Landscape designer Graham Lloyd-Brunt is known for gardens that combine strong structure with full and truly seasonal planting. He specialises in gardens for large private family homes across London, the Home Counties and the South of England.
020–7222 2777; www.lloydbrunt.com
Led by award-winning garden designer Matt Keightley, famous for his Sentebale garden at Chelsea for The Duke of Sussex, this design-and-build studio works on small and large private gardens and on commercial schemes. It is currently working on a variety of imaginative projects, from roof terraces in the Battersea Power Station development to the Wellbeing Garden at RHS Wisley.
020–8255 0132; www.rosebanklandscaping.co.uk
Marcus Barnett Studio
Architectural landscaping and compositions of stone, water and specimen trees with rich planting make the work of Marcus Barnett’s studio stand out. The winner of three RHS gold medals and a coveted Best Show Garden at Chelsea, design and project management of country estates and gardens are his forte.
020–7736 9761; www.marcusbarnett.com
Robert Myers Associates
This landscape-architecture practice undertakes private and commercial projects. It is working on the gardens at Clandon Park for the National Trust, having completed the Magic Garden at Hampton Court and the courtyard at Pensons Yard, near Tenbury Wells.
01885 227377; www.robertmyers-associates.co.uk
Sarah Eberle Landscape Design
Hampshire-based landscape architect and garden designer Sarah Eberle has designed several Chelsea Flower Show gardens. She is working on the Forestry Commission’s Resilience Garden for 2019, showing how our forests, gardens and landscapes can be kept healthy for future generations
01256 895754; www.saraheberle.com
Sarah Price Landscapes
Sarah Price trained in fine art, then worked as a gardener at Hampton Court Palace before starting to design professionally in 2006. She has four Chelsea gold medals under her belt, thanks to her plant-driven approach to design and her romantic and artistic sensibility.
020–7703 3973; www.sarahpricelandscapes.com
Gardens on a grand scale are writer and designer Lady Tania Compton’s speciality, but don’t expect conventionality: her designs tend towards exuberance and generous planting. The garden at her Wiltshire home, Spilsbury Farm, is testament to her formality-meets-wilderness approach.
Garden adviser to Historic Royal Palaces, lecturer and author, Todd Longstaffe-Gowan has had extensive input into work at historic landscapes such as the Tower of London, Hampton Court and Kensington Palace. His work includes contemporary garden designs, such as the lushly planted roof garden at the new-build 15, Clerkenwell Close, EC1.
020–7253 2100; www.tlg-landscape.co.uk
Winner of multiple gold medals at Chelsea, Tom Stuart-Smith is known for fluid, natural-istic planting and prairie-style gardens, with grasses and sturdy perennials. His stand-out projects are Le Jardin Secret in Marrakech and the Italian garden at the Trentham estate.
020–7253 2100; www.tomstuartsmith.co.uk
The designer works with scale and proportion to create English estate gardens filled with lavender, roses and topiary. She is well-known for traditional walled gardens with cruciform herbaceous borders and arches of sweet peas and edible fruits, as seen in her garden at Helmingham Hall in Suffolk.
01473 890799; www.xa-tollemache.co.uk
Country Life has once again delved into its little black book and fully updated its list of the finest architects
Whether you're embarking on a new-build or painstakingly restoring a listed building, here are the craftsmen with excellent foundations.
Of all the decorating trends that have been in vogue over the last 50 years – be it Scandi, Minimalism