'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.


After removing a mock victorian style conservatory to make way for an open plan extension, this client needed to rethink their existing garden which I had designed and built a number of years previously.  The client hired me at the planning stage of the extension to ensure that the garden and extension could be integrated from the onset.  An important part of the brief was to allow plenty of hard surface for the large family to use without feeling cramped. 

After careful discussion I had suggested that the new patio area needed to relate more strongly with the extension instead of the existing tudor style house.  To give it an open plan feel and carry on the theme of the extension, I designed two large patio areas which were divided with level changes and planting.  The change in materials from concrete flags for the seating area, to the timber path linking patio to the lawn and then to the brick paving for the access paths helps to define the spaces. 

With the dining area, I designed and built in-situ wooden benches and matching table.  Not only do these save space on the patio, they also do not need storing during the winter, which in turn saves space in the shed or garage. 

The overhead wooden structures facilitate the use of sail shades for when the sun is at its strongest.  With young children it would also give them a shaded play area.  The sizes of these overhead structures were taken from the square windows of the new extension and they also helped to frame the views out into the rest of the garden. 

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As the extension was designed to maximise the access to the garden it was important to make use of the large bi-fold doors and allow the patio to flow inside when the doors were open.

This is the view looking out from the extension, across the main patio, through the pergola frames and into the rest of the garden. The destination of the brick path is carefully disguised by the large bamboos in the background.

Planting softens and separates the two main levels of the patio. The purpose built furniture nestles gently in the corner.

Looking back up the brick path towards the house, the planting will grow up and wrap around the purpose built benches to increase the feeling of privacy and security.

The timber decking 'bridge' leading out into the garden gives a welcome contrast to the black reflective paving.

A path of concrete brick meanders around the new extension and away from the patio areas.

An overall view of the new patio area showing how it relates to the new extension while blending into the existing garden.

The garden a couple of years on.

Looking back down the path from the large bi-fold doors it is great to see the bamboo partially hiding the end of the path and helping to guide the eye into the rest of the garden.

The curved brick path is being softened beautifully by the mixed planting here.

The miscanthus is doing its job perfectly and acting as a thin hedge to help disguise the path from the dining area. The smell of the lavander just fills this space and draws you along the path.