Grand Designs Live

Winner of the Grand Designs Live Garden Designer of the Year competition held at London's Excel in April 2016, the design was described as "faultless" by the judges.

The garden was designed to respond to the one-word brief, “Contrast”. It was created with a young professional couple in mind who, like so many, are trying to improve their work-life balance and intend to work from home. The garden is formed of two areas, linked, but separated: a workspace & a relaxation space.

As you enter the garden, to the left a stepping-stone draws the visitor across a shallow rill to a small patio area with a laminated bamboo timber bench. The rill, which separates the work area from the rest of the garden, leads towards a copper clad waterwall flanked on both sides by bamboo timber.

The entrance path is framed on the right by steel containers planted with elegant arching bamboo, and leads through two freestanding laser cut Eucalyptus screens to a secluded seating area beyond.

From both seating areas, the area on the opposite side is obscured by the screens. The rill unifies the two areas, which are also linked by repetition in both the planting and materials. The waterwall, visible from both spaces, provides a refreshing focal point to rest the eyes, creating a calm atmosphere and aiding both relaxation & concentration.

Materials were carefully selected to weave a thread of sustainability through the garden and shows that contemporary, crisp style doesn’t have to come at the expense of environmental responsibility.  

Grand Designs Live was held at London’s ExCel from 30 April - 8 May 2016.  The competition was judged by a panel of industry experts, led by Kevin McCloud and including leading garden designers, James Alexander-Sinclair and Alan Gardner, The Autistic Gardener.


With huge gratitude to Neil Blackham & Dan Moore at My Handyman for all their hard work & expertise putting the build together. 

And with enormous thanks to all my suppliers: 

Hertfordshire Garden Centre - plants

Kyoto Garden Art - screens (Eucalyptus)

Metal Planters UK - bespoke powder coated steel planters

Moso Bamboo Surfaces - bamboo cladding & reclaimed timber for benches

Natural Tile Company - porcelain tiles

Sami Couper - oilcloth outdoor cushions


The screens provide privacy without fully enclosing the space

The screens provide privacy without fully enclosing the space

The "life" area invites the visitor to sit back & relax

The "life" area invites the visitor to sit back & relax

The judges described the garden as "faultless".

The judges described the garden as "faultless".

The original concept model, only 8 weeks before

The original concept model, only 8 weeks before

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