by Sarah Naybour
13th February 2018

I often get asked to produce landscape designs for planning applications. Sometimes they simply involve a layout with a few notes about plants, but occasionally they offer up something more interesting.


A few weeks back I was approached by a London architect to do a scheme for a proposed renovation project in Clapham, creating 8 flats, not far from the station. Several large mature trees were to be removed so the client wanted to create a communal garden with a strong emphasis on Biodiversity.


It required five new trees in addition to the two large, existing Limes. In order to maximise the bio diversity I chose to use native hedging, including hawthorn, dog rose, blackthorn, Acer campestre and hazel. I then used three Acer campestre and two small Hazel as the new trees. These provide food for birds and a habitat for wildlife, even in the centre of London.

I thought it would be an interesting place to use wildflower meadow in the form of Birds and Bees Meadowmat. I used two curved mounds covered in wildflower meadow to divide the space, creating private areas for the various residents, with gabion bench seating. The stone filled gabions provide lovely little spaces for insects as will the bee bricks incorporated into the new walls.

If you are thinking of creating a meadow area in your garden I would highly recommend Meadowmat. I have used it in two large projects, both of which flowered after a few weeks and continued to flourish. It is basically a turf that is meadow, available in several different mixes for different situations.

The base layer is a thick carpet like material which prevents weeds from growing up through the meadow while also preventing tap rooted annuals – like Dandelion, from establishing into it.

It turns out that an eminent scientist Dr. Bagshaw Ward lived at the property in the 1800’s. Through his study of the Hawk moth enclosed in glass bottles, he stumbled across the fact that tender ferns grew and survived happily in that environment. He then used this method to import and export non-hardy plants to and from Australia. It is well known that the Victorians loved exotic plants.

Bagshaw Ward was responsible for providing them with living specimens as well as the fad for Herboriums – those large, glass bottle, mini greenhouses, which became so popular again in the 70’s.

So this may well end up being my first garden designed for a property which is awarded a Blue plaque.

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