The Chelsea Garden


Location: Royal Hospital, Chelsea

Aspect: South Facing

Soil Type: Light to Medium Loam

The Garden:

The garden sponsor, House of Fraser, wanted a show garden to tie in with their summer range of homeware and fashion. The Fresh category at the Chelsea Flower Show is created for designers to come up with something 'New and Fresh’, pushing boundaries.

I wanted to create a ‘Room Outside’ - a courtyard garden that was a true extension of an imaginary city centre house. Wide bi-fold doors led out onto a resin-bound floor. To create the flow, I selected an image of parquet flooring, which was enclosed within the resin to make it totally waterproof and extremely hardwearing.

External 'Wallpaper' was applied to the side walls above the wood panelling. Opposite the doors was the grand fireplace and flocked antlers in the vibrant pink colours of our sponsor House of Fraser.

Harrod Horticulture fabricated outdoor floor lamps with external lighting.

Textural Planting

Greys, silvers and pinks were the colour themes within the planting.

Paeonia 'Bowl of Beauty’ provided large, bold pink flowers dotted through textural perennials such as Astrantia Major and Irises.

Cow Parsley provided clouds of lacy white flowers which floated above the main body of planting and I used Cushion Moss to form a soft texture tabletop and framed wall details.

Bold Features

A specially commissioned stag’s head sculpture was installed to provide a focal point framed against the tartan wallpaper.

Two re-upholstered chairs were treated to make them waterproof so they could stand outside and tolerate rain showers and atmospheric moisture.

I planted a multi-stemmed Prunus Serrula with beautiful copper red bark to provide height and architectural form.

Why I Loved Working on this Design  

The brief was ‘a room outdoors’, an extension of a London ground floor flat. I decided to take it to the extreme and create an outdoor sitting room. Everything in the garden was ‘external grade’ including the woodwork and wallpaper which could be left outside for 15 years. My inspiration for the design was the House of Fraser branding; the stag identity lending itself well to the outdoor theme as did their pink brand colour for accents throughout the planting and interior home features. I wanted the design to be in keeping with a Victorian London house, combined with zingy modernity provided by the tartan and pink highlights and this worked perfectly.

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