Colourful gardens at Grand Designs Live


Credit: Liz Ackerley Poppyhead Consultancy The Grand Designs Live 2013 winning show garden: The Gourmet Retreat

Once seen as a nation of gardeners,  a survey released this week suggests that the green-fingered Brit is in decline, particularly amongst the young, with a quarter of them content to watch out of the window while their parents go cultivate the garden.

This survey commissioned by Karcher reflects a related concern about the lack of young people attracted into horticulture as a career.

Heartening then to see young designers amongst the finalists, selected  to bring their garden plans to life at Grand Designs Live this year; their work has been chosen from entries to the ‘Garden of the Year’ competition on an ‘Introducing Colour to Your Garden’ theme and for combining style with environmental awareness.

One of the chosen few is 23 year old Ben Harrison, from his own BH Designs, who is also an Ambassador for the YoungHort initiative set up earlier this year to promote young talent, attract young people into horticulture and showcase the wide variety of careers within gardening.

His design, ‘The Lounge Garden’, features an outdoor living room complete with wood-burning fireplace made from an old gas cylinder, composite decking made from recycled materials and durable aluminium planters.

Ben and Liam

The Controler la Couleur and The Lounge Garden

Another young designer to be included is Liam Sapsford, aged 22, from The Garden Designer. His, ‘The Controler la Couleur’, depicts a luxury coastal space with a beach hut and weathered decking. The design, inspired by the French illustrator Malika Favre and the desert-derived planting of landscape architect Steve Martino, also focusses on the use of recycled materials- second-hand yacht sails as privacy and wind shields; recycled tiles in a mosaic; and torn boat sails painted to portray the British coastline.

Georgia Lindsay from Georgia Lindsay Design, given her  background in theatre design, unsurprisingly also uses painting – in this case an oversize mural as the backdrop to her ‘The Family Garden’. This space for a busy family requires no mowing and watering with its synthetic turf and drought-resistant grasses. The versatile Tubtrugs and the  two circular pits are designed to meet the changing needs of a growing family; sand or ball pits can become a fire pit with seating round the edge or be topped off with lids to make a larger games space.

Georgia and Samantha

The Family Garden and The Prism Garden

Yellow Tree Design’s Samantha Levitt completes the list. Her ‘The Prism Garden’ really does focus on colour. With a pool at its centre, the garden is divided into sections by hedging, containers and metal edging evocative of refracted rays of light. Planting and backgrounds then colour the segments in rainbow shades. Sam sums up the excitement of all the designers at being selected for the final. ” As an architect I have been watching Grand Designs for many years, so I was thrilled to be selected as a finalist for the Garden Designer of the Year competition. It is very exciting to be involved and I am looking forward to the build and the show!”

The winner will be chosen at the show by a panel of judges: garden designer, journalist and broadcaster James Alexander Sinclair, Kevin McCloud of Channel 4’s Grand Designs and Lee Newton owner of Grand Designs Live.

Grand Designs London 3-11th May 10am – 6pm takes place at London ExCel. Tickets from £12-£19

For Karcher watering systems to help minimise garden chores  – . Karcher worked with OnePoll to conduct the survey February 2014.

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