When I applied to retrain as a garden designer almost twenty years ago I thought I would be good at it because of my life-
A few years on, running my own garden design business, I realised that garden design is not only about those things; it is actually about people. Garden design is a multi-
Here are a few of their stories:
Gail – 2004
'The environment one lives and works in is really important; our hospital has been refurbished recently and now patients fare better; tending my new garden makes me go to back to work the next day a better doctor'
'Just to say thank you for all your hard work, advice and support. I am delighted with my garden. I'll try to keep it watered! With many thanks, Gail.'
Mike & Mary – 2014
We just wanted to e-
Everything is coming through, bushing out, flowering, and making its mark.The iris, the aquilegia, the sedums, the geraniums, well everything really (!), are doing superbly. We are now looking at wonderful drifts in the borders of (going through the spectrum) blue, purple, red, yellow, cream, and white.
At last, WE GET IT, and appreciate your collage of foliage and colours that have created the cottage garden we desired.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful design concept, which has transformed a messy mish-
David & Claire -
Heather's story – 2006
'My garden originally consisted of a horrible tarmac patio, scrappy patches of lawn and overgrown shrubs, which really didn't inspire me to venture outside at all. I knew what I wanted and had a vision of a simple, clean design that would require little maintenance – a relaxing space. But I didn't have a clue how to achieve my vision.
I needed some expert advice ….. the first person I called was Chris Parsons of Hallam Garden Design, and I knew the minute we met that she was on the same wavelength. We discussed the brief, looking at pictures in books. Using these for inspiration Chris then put together a design. It was spot on. I loved the shallow steps and pergola, and we worked together on ideas for a modern water feature.
Hiring a designer was not a cheap option, but I am delighted with the results. It was worth every penny. It's the best money I have ever spent, even more than on my new car, and my Dad could never believe I said that! It's years now since the garden was finished and I still love it. It surpassed all my expectations and to top it all it won The Principal Award that year from the British Association of Landscape industries. Both Chris & I were thrilled'
18th Century Farmhouse, Dore -
The clients' preferred style is one that suits the house and site: natural, formal, traditional, cottage garden. The small 'front garden' is shady and provides opportunity for ferns, hostas, grasses and box hedging. The back garden is mainly sunny and now has masses of flowering shrubs, perennials and grasses with softer, cottage garden plants in pinks, blues, purples and whites as well as structural box globes and cones, and yew blocks for winter structure.
The clients love their new garden with a passion and it has improved their quality of life. It attracts wildlife, is colourful, very relaxing as well as being interesting to work in. The greatest compliment is paid by friends, who have known the garden for many years; when they visit they say how much better the garden looks but also '…..amazingly, how it looks like it has always been there'. The old gardener, now retired, will still come and sit quietly contemplating on a sunny day. This is a high compliment indeed. If good design is about appropriateness, and if the best gardens look as though they have not been 'designed' because they sit so well in the site, then no wonder this garden won a BALI award and was finalist for Northern Design Awards 2014.
Godfrey’s Story -
I first contacted Chris in 2005. I was coming up to retirement and I wanted to spend more time gardening but the gardens of our 1930s house were dilapidated. We asked Chris to come and see us for an initial consultation, and we decided right away that she was the right person for us to work with; it was a matter of either doing it well or going at it 'half-
Chris was keen to spend a lot of time taking our brief to make sure that the garden would be what we wanted. Chris worked with the landscapers until the last plant was in the ground and helped for several years with advice about establishment and maintenance.
The garden was very successful, we continue to get a great deal of pleasure from it many years later, and it received many accolades and awards. We went went up on stage with Chris at the BALI award ceremony at the Park Lane Hilton in 2007 and were presented the Principal Award for Landscape Design Excellence by Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen.
For us the proof is in the pudding; we still love the garden. It is calming, good for wildlife and soothes the soul.
Michael & Pauline -
When we moved into this newly-
We started the design process with Chris Parsons in January 2004, much preliminary time being spent in discussion about the type of garden we wanted. Work began in late February 2005, the contractor worked to a high standard. Because the design was complex with many details (extending the terrace on one side, building the new steps, installing cable ducting, cutting stone slabs to shape, laying different types of paving, erection of pergola and railings, importing topsoil) it took several weeks, with completion in April 2005.
We are keen gardeners, and it's a small garden, so we did the main planting ourselves, to Chris' planting plan, in May. ....so now we have many years of 'growing' enjoyment to come.
Written by clients Michael & Pauline Miller on 20 July 2005 for the occasion of a garden visit by the Friends of the Botanical Gardens, Sheffield (pictured).
Kate & Paul -
Diane & Stephen -
t. 0114 230 2540