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RHS Chatsworth 2018

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In today’s gadget age and social media society, the safety of our children is slowly reducing their ability to enjoy the outdoor experience.  CCLA asked us to create a garden that celebrated the unity of the family, combining areas of interest for both adults and children and providing areas for children to play independently within a safe, inclusive environment.  

The main structure within the garden was the dark grey steel pavilion, which created a covered area for a table and chairs, bringing the family together.  The main wall of the pavilion provided surfaces for the circular blackboards and the children’s play tunnel.  The double swing at the opposite end floated over the meadow grass planting adding an element of fun.

The light coloured porcelain paving was intended to look as if it was floating, using the dark cladding for the vertical elements.  A hopscotch court set within the paving and two water features provided both entertainments and sound effects, whilst the willow den in the meadow area created another element for the children to enjoy.  Artisan seating in the form of a pebble seat and an oak bench provided areas to sit, relax and reflect, giving quiet viewing points to oversee the children without intrusion into their activities.     

The Fagus sylvatica ‘Purpurea’ hedging created enclosure and shelter to the planting in the garden, offering a range of textures, scents and an informal approach to contrast with the landscaping.  The two Corylus colurna trees at the front of the garden gave height and colour contrast with the hedging and the Sorbus aria ‘Lutescens’ behind the pavilion in the meadow area provided shade and beauty with its striking underside silvery-white leaves. Ornamentals and edibles were weaved together to not only give texture, colour and scent but enhance a unique all encompassing, child and adult sensory engagement.

After the show all three trees were donated to the Chatsworth estate, to be planted within the main garden, whilst the meadow grass was donated to the local school at Pilsley.  Amanda said ‘We are always asked about what happens to the garden after the show and we are delighted to be able to give something back to the estate and local community as it was such a privilege to work in such a beautiful and special environment.’

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