These blog posts are produced by James Scott, Garden Company MD and Principal Designer:
'Creating beautiful outdoor spaces for people to enjoy is very rewarding. The purpose of this blog is for me to share some reflections on our work and our industry with you. Your comments and views in return are very welcome indeed'.

Laurel Cottage garden, photo credit Rebecca Bernstein

SGD Award winner 2019, Residential Small Garden category

Our busy, professional clients required a garden that they could use for entertaining, that was relatively low maintenance and looked fantastic all year round.

The garden had a number of challenges including the restricted access through the side gate and the level change through the garden. The majority of the garden was made up of sawn flagstone terraces, pathways and raised Donegal dry stone planters. A large bespoke oak pergola was installed, to provide the client with the Mediterranean feel that they wished for. A lower oak boardwalk, was designed into the scheme to provide a journey through specimen planting, which in time will be screened from the main terrace. A hornbeam treeline will fill out to create a pleached screen and the Taxus hedge surrounding the terrace will be clipped to a crisp cube shape. A polished granite millstone water feature provides a modern edge to the design, along with a number of light fittings which gives the garden an added dimension during the evening hours.

This project also won a BALI Award in 2016 for Domestic Garden Construction.

Click here to view the Project profile including before/after images and design drawings.
Or scroll through more images of the completed project below.

Images courtesy of Rebecca Bernstein.

Garden with naturalistic pond, Amersham, Buckinghamshire

The design of this Amersham garden in Bucks needed to link the existing terrace to the far end where there was a beautiful Acer tree. We created a curved brick walkway with pergola arches which led to a small terrace before opening out to the lawn where we sited a new naturalistic pond.  A path leads to a bench where views back over the pond and garden could be enjoyed.

Terrace with Dining area

Contemporary garden, Hampstead Garden Suburb, Northwest London

SGD Award Finalist 2017

Our client wanted us to create a contemporary oasis in the heart of the Garden Suburb. Sensitivity was needed as the plans required approval by the Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust.  A high proportion of planting to hardscaping was used to create a truly ‘gardenesque’ feel whilst still allowing several different dining, seating and entertaining areas softened with greenery.

Click here to view the Project profile including before/after images & design drawings.
Or scroll through more images of the completed project below.

04.917 Garden Barn A1

Medium-sized garden,Tring, Hertfordshire

BALI Award Winner & SGD Award Finalist 2019

Our clients asked us to design their 1-acre garden set in a beautiful location on the top of the Chilterns, near Tring in Herts.  The garden design needed to sit comfortably in a farmland setting  yet have a contemporary feel . Being keen cooks our clients also required a small kitchen garden as well as a larger vegetable garden and orchard.  A strong rectilinear geometry was used to connect the house to the garden and create spaces.  Trees and clipped hedges were used to strengthen the geometry  before the areas were over layered with a more naturalistic planting. A large area was given over to meadow using local native wildflower species to increase the biodiversity. Mown paths add an edge of control. An added touch was the use of bespoke sculpture to lead the eye and frame views.​

Click here to view the Project profile including before/after images and design drawings.
Or scroll below through more images of the completed project.

Farmhouse garden with pergola, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire

This lovely farmhouse, set in rolling countryside in Berkhamsted, near Hemel Hempstead Hertfordshire, was covered in ivy which obscured the detail of the building. Our approach was to create intimate terrace areas close to the house which were separated by planting in quite a traditional style. The sides of the garden were flanked with a green oak pergola which created frames for the views to the countryside beyond.

Medium-sized garden, Northamptonshire

This beautiful stone cottage was set in the centre of a small village in Northamptonshire. The medium-sized garden sloped up steeply from the house and the existing retaining solution felt very oppressive, making the house feel as though it was in a hole. James Scott of the Garden Company created a large terrace with a curved timber wall and curved steps to gently take the eye out into the garden beyond. A bespoke water feature based on an animals’ drinking trough served as a link to the agricultural history of the building and creating a courtyard feel. An existing ancient yew was retained to keep a maturity to the garden and strong curves were used to draw the visitor around the garden, arriving eventually at a well-organised vegetable plot.

Medium-sized garden with gazebo, Welwyn, Hertfordshire

Our clients in Welwyn, Hertfordshire wanted to use their medium-sized garden to relax and entertain in and to draw them into the space. The outlook from the house initially was of a large austere rectangle of lawn with a small coppice of unmanaged woodland. The new design, created by James Scott MSGD, allowed more light into the space and created views out of the garden. Planting was brought up to the house to merge the transition through from the house to the terrace and into the more naturalistic areas of the garden. Two flanking pergola walkways were used to frame views and create different routes from which to explore the planting borders. A beautiful bespoke green oak gazebo draws the visitor down the garden and creates a place of relaxation and contemplation.

Woodland garden, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire

This small family garden in a lovely woodland setting in Leighton Buzzard was designed by James Scott. The design takes account of the garden’s awkward overall shape by adding strong curves, which create depths of planting and blur the boundaries with the ‘borrowed’ landscape of the trees beyond. Natural materials such as green oak and granite are harmonious with the setting. Planting close to the house helps to soften the house into the garden. We updated the design after a few years to accommodate an extension to the side of the house.

Large garden with pond, Bovingdon, Hertfordshire

Our clients owned a lovely house and large garden in Bovingdon, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire on the edge of the Chilterns. Beautiful views over the surrounding countryside were in part obscured by high hedges. There were also some fine existing trees and a woodland area that was completely cut off from the main garden area. Much of the more recent planting and landscaping had been undertaken unsympathetically to the house and surroundings. We removed tired planting, created linking paths, opened up views and created routes around the garden areas. A disused swimming pool was converted into a pond with ‘floating’ stepping stones through the centre. A row of fastigiated Hornbeams were used to delineate the more organised area of the garden from the more naturalistic areas further from the house. Paths and terrace areas are flanked with swathes of perennial plants.

Small garden, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire

This small garden in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire was designed by James Scott to meet the requirements of a professional couple. They wanted a garden where they could entertain their friends and also relax after a hard day’s work. They wanted the garden to look good all year but also to enjoy the changing seasons and have lots of flowering plants. Encouraging birds, bees and butterflies to the garden was important. Our clients also wished to have a small kitchen garden and greenhouse. Other requirements included a shed for garden tools and bikes. The total garden area was approx. 150m2.

Black basalt was chosen as the main paving material for its strong impact and contemporary feel. A naturalistic plant palette was used over the strong underlying geometry, mixing herbs and ornamentals, native plants and perennial cultivars threaded through a structure of small trees and shrubs. Sensitive blending of materials and shapes lead the eye softly around the garden from one space to another. Although it is a small garden, there are still several distinct areas to explore. Careful consideration was given to reducing overgrown hedges to open new views to trees beyond and create a space for a new dining terrace. Some sensitive screening was introduced to ensure privacy and a sense of security.