'Mind Trap' RHS Chelsea 2017 wins GOLD

MIND TRAP Fresh Garden for RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017, Site FR82 This garden is a physical manifestation of my personal experience of suffering from and living with depression. It's purpose is to help those that suffer in similar ways to be assured that they are not alone in their own personal struggles. It also endeavours to explain to others that have no personal experience of suffering what it may feel like, by way of a physical tangible living garden with the use of symbolism and creating an atmosphere. https://www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-chelsea-flower-show/Gardens/2017/mind-trap A huge thank you to everyone involved. Without you, the garden would have remained an idea on paper.


This is a family garden in the heart of the Antrim countryside.  The clients had only moved into the house a few months before their attention turned to the outside spaces.  

What they needed firstly was a proper parking area at the back door, which is the main access to the house.  With a young family it was important to provide space for them to play, and to include the trampoline within the garden.  The garden was in the middle of the open countryside and it was important to ensure that the garden didnt feel out of place. 

The other side to the coin was the need for a large space to entertain the extended family.  As the garden was sloped where the french doors from the dining room opend out, a timber deck was the ideal choice.  Another advantage is that the area got early morning and evening sun.  To put timber as a deck that doesn't get early morning sun (which allows it to dry out quickly) is not a great idea. 

A lower level patio space completed this part of the garden which was accessed by the set of timber steps. 

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The view from the main access to the house and garden now shows how planting can soften a building d provide much more visual interest than a bare wall would.

In this, the childrens play area, the trampoline has been recessed into the ground. In the future the trampoline can be removed revealing a sunken patio area. This could also be used as a pond or BBQ fire pit.

The escallonia hedging will disguise the garden beyond and provide privacy from the parking area. The brick paving and the limestone flags finish flush and as the levels were brought up to meet the back door, no ramp or steps are needed. The path leads

Timber topped gabion benches wrap around the edge of the large decked area. A pergola overhead provides visual interest as well as somewhere to place down lighting.

The play area lawn has been edged with brick to increase ease of maintenance.

Timber steps flow down to the lower patio area with its permenant bench seating. The raised planter to the left has a copper pipe water feature which provides visual interest, especially in the evening as it is illuminated.

This is the car parking area at the back of the house with the newly planted escallonia hedging. The hedge will hide the play area with sunken trampoline very quickly and at the same time be very easy to maintain.

In this instance the gravel surface was selected for its colour and to help set off the brick paving and grey render of the house.