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Alladio Sims

Make autumn sing!

Shrubs and small trees are perfect to create the middle ‘body’ in a garden, introducing interest at eye level. Image courtesy of Alladio Sims Garden and Landscape Design Ltd, residential North London garden, 2018.

Emanuela of Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design looks at the importance of planning a structure for a garden and not to slavishly follow the latest trends.

In recent years the naturalistic planting movement has moved the focus from trees and shrubs to perennials, leaving them to bask in the glory instead, with most of us seeking the fleeting and ephemeral pleasures of their short-lived flowers whilst following the latest garden trends. Yet it is precisely at this time of year that a garden deprived of its backbone of shrubs and trees will invariably disappoint by not being able to hold its own and provide the essential structure and colour changing boost needed during the drabbest of autumn and winter days.

That’s exactly why when designing a garden one really has to focus on the all-important structural layer provided by the larger plants, so that come autumn and winter the garden will still have the all important backbone much needed to continue being attractive, even in the winter months.

A few images from a garden we recently created in north London really illustrate this idea. To start with there was only a stepping stone path, winding its way in the middle of a pretty empty space. Then came some large boulders to guide through the path. Next arrived some very large yew cushions, greening the path and softening the look. All of a sudden the garden started to have its own identity, and a strong backbone made of a happy mix of hard materials and evergreens providing softer but permanent shapes.

As the project went on, more and more layers were added, some looser evergreen shrubs, some small deciduous trees, to create that much needed ‘middle layer’ even in the winter months when their branches are bare, so that when you walk through you feel the garden has a presence vertically and it’s not just made of dead or naked shapes on the ground.

At this time of year, the golden heads of grasses and autumn flowering shrubs add a bit of movement and a hit of colour, and catch the soft light beautifully. Their relaxed presence that mixes soft buttery tones and slender stems adds movement and transparency to the overall scheme, catching the first drops of dew and securing a surprisingly long lived appearance in the winter garden. Pennisetums and Miscanthus are invaluable specimen to introduce autumn drama, dotted around the garden and repeated at regular intervals to guide the eye around the space, lacing together the whole composition in a pleasing way.

And finally to the most ephemeral of all layers – a good measure of cheerful bulbs for much needed spring interest and an abundance of flowering perennials that will delight the senses from spring till late summer.
Overall autumn, being so subdued, can be a very demanding time of the year for a garden, one that can only truly be mastered if the balance of shapes, foliage textures and colours is right. Shrubs and trees are invaluable elements in this composition and they can really transform a garden in autumn, and make this season sing with drama.

Garden 2Jon and Emanuela in the show garden they created for the Istanbul Flower Festival in 2016

Profile: Alladio Sims

Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Ltd was established in 2015 after Jon Sims and Emanuela Alladio collaborated on a Silver Gilt winning show garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. The two directors continue their collaborative approach throughout their practice with Jon’s background in interior architecture giving distinctive spaces and Emanuela’s passion for plants and photographic eye adding great texture and contrast.

essence info
Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Limited
Unit C Willow House, Dragonfly Place, London SE4 2FJ
Website: www.alladiosims.co.uk
Email: hello@alladiosims.co.uk

Family wonder

Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 22.59.18A raised bed is easy to fill with herbs, vegetables and fruits, and a perfect excuse to get the kids involved in the garden. Image courtesy of Alladio Sims Garden and Landscape Design Ltd, RHS Chelsea Flower Show edible displays 2018

Emanuela Alladio of Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Limited asks are children and gardens incompatible?

Does a family garden mean a desolate lawn, an ugly trampoline and the paraphernalia of plastic climbing frames? After all, beautiful and perfect flower borders and hordes of frenetic kids cannot peacefully coexist in the same sentence. Maybe they can. Let’s see how.

When we meet a new ‘family’ as a client for the first time we are confronted with a similar list of wishes. Our task is to go back to the office and devise a solution that accommodates most, if not all, of them. It is always a very interesting challenge, and one that we relish, despite the practical restraints that each garden and site provides.

Time and time again families wish to have somewhere for the kids to kick a ball (and maybe, why not, a lovely striped lawn to tend at the weekend?); somewhere for the dreaded, but oh so useful, trampoline to sit (this must at all times be screened from view from the house of course); somewhere for vegetables to thrive happily and abundantly (after all, kids love vegetables – or don’t they? – and a vegetable patch must surely spark a new passion for them…); somewhere for pretty flowers to grow (particularly the kind that one would use to create beautiful flower arrangements); and, of course, somewhere for the kids to hide, play and discover.

Solving these challenges can seem almost impossible at times, but to come up with ideas that will undoubtedly make even the most indifferent child want to explore the garden and go outside is so fulfilling and exciting that we inevitably end up developing a certain fondness towards these gardens.

To help solve any similar dilemmas confronting readers, we wish to share some of the solutions that underpin the majority of the decisions we make whenever we are asked to create a family wonder in a new garden.
Starting with the lawn, as this is a must item in most family gardens, when the garden is really shady or if it will be used to play ball games for the majority of the time, then one might want to consider the option of using artificial grass as there are so many different choices available nowadays and most of them are very ‘realistic’ and long lasting.

Moving down the list to the love/hate item that is a trampoline, if one cannot be avoided, why not consider sinking it below the ground? Be careful to leave enough space for landing around it though, approximately a two metre radius will do. Or just hide a standard trampoline behind a low hedge, a useful solution that will create a sense of wonder in the garden and make the kids happy to be hidden from parents’ view – for a short while at least.

Any good family garden should feature carefully chosen plants, including those that thrive in neglect and withstand impacts – ornamental grasses first and foremost because they are built to allow movement and therefore are much more flexible and understanding, even when hit by a football or two. We couldn’t live without the evergreen soft and fluffy Nassella tenuissima or its very tough and understanding cousin Anemanthele lessoniana, a grass that tolerates practically every condition and lots of abuse.

Another important group of plants to include in a family garden are those loved by insects, bees and butterflies in particular, because they will keep kids amused for hours in the summer and will help them understand how magical gardens can really be. Plants like Verbena bonariensis or Knautia Macedonica spring to mind for being unfussy and for keeping on flowering for months, continuously attracting insects and even birds with their bright and pretty little flowers, enough to keep most kids entertained…

One must also not forget to include plants that actively involve kids – vegetables and fruits, but also a variety of bulbs – these are all very important in a family garden which should be the perfect place to build lasting memories and positive experiences with children. What better way to start than by planting some bulbs together, or picking some fruit to make a jelly or an apple crumble after a generous September harvest? Of course, a small vegetable garden would be the perfect easy first step, especially if kept to a manageable size, such as a small raised bed, and maybe a few fruit trees and colourful pots with spring bulbs could be enough to start with.

Whatever the challenge gardens pose, there are so many different solutions and ways to respond to them, just think creatively.

Thus, the next time someone says that kids and gardens don’t mix, you might just wish to disagree…

Garden 2Jon and Emanuela in the show garden they created for the Istanbul Flower Festival in 2016

Profile: Alladio Sims

Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Ltd was established in 2015 after Jon Sims and Emanuela Alladio collaborated on a Silver Gilt winning show garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. The two directors continue their collaborative approach throughout their practice with Jon’s background in interior architecture giving distinctive spaces and Emanuela’s passion for plants and photographic eye adding great texture and contrast.

essence info
Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Limited
Unit C Willow House, Dragonfly Place, London SE4 2FJ
Website: www.alladiosims.co.uk
Email: hello@alladiosims.co.uk

How to be RHS worthy

Pretty flowers never last forever. Consider how a plant will look after it’s at its best, when the flowers are gone. Image courtesy of Alladio Sims Garden and Landscape Design Ltd, Alladio Sims Show Garden at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, 2015
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Emanuela of Alladio Sims Garden Design Limited shares her top ten tips for creating a wonderful garden worthy of an RHS show in our homes.

1 Frame the view: most gardens are viewed from the house and in order to work they need to relate back to it; the key details of the architecture of the house need to be repeated within the garden and the views out need to be nicely framed and lead the eye, inviting you out to discover the garden.

2 Keep it simple: keep the material choices to a minimum, for instance one type of stone used in different finishes for inside and out, or for areas of the garden with different characters, and use repetition in the planting too to create a sense of harmony.

3 Create a private haven: introduce a secluded area that feels intimate and tranquil where a glass of wine can be sipped or it is possible to sit and relax. Introducing vertical elements such as a semi transparent screen, a wall or a tall hedge works wonderfully, creating an unexpected space that breaks down the emptiness of a garden and spurs us on to walk and discover what’s beyond.

4 Create spaces that look good in every season: May and June are the months of the year where a garden looks at its best, with lavender, geraniums, alchemilla, roses etc. all flowering their socks off. Yet these plants can also go over quickly and leave an empty gap for many months to come. Try and avoid planting that fades too quickly and choose instead a good backbone of evergreen shrubs that offer a long season of interest and perennials with pretty seedheads for structure in the winter.

5 Disguise the ugly bits: every garden has a view or wall that should not be viewed. Use plants and paths to lead the eye away, distracting you to look elsewhere.

6 Boundaries are key: use hedging to frame a sharp and clean lawn or a well-defined border. This will produce neat shapes that will help keep maintenance to a minimum and will make the garden look crisp and fresh.

7 Let the plants speak for themselves: don’t overcrowd them but give them space to breathe and to become established. Think about it in terms of layers of vertical interest and bring some taller perennials towards the front to break the mould and create a dynamic border and more interesting look.

8 Be bold: choose more of the same thing, so for instance put together two plants of the same colour (such as bronze fennel and black phormium) to create a good textural foil for the rest of the garden. A similar result can be achieved by repeating similar shapes at different levels (such as round pots, round lawns, allium heads etc.).

9 Don’t be afraid of grasses: grasses add a softness and a texture that is invaluable to any garden and they have very good longevity too, especially the ones with interesting seed heads.

10 Use splashes of colour to draw attention: but keep the overall picture harmonious by restricting the colour palette. The effect you are trying to achieve is pleasing and not a muddled mix!

Garden 2Jon and Emanuela in the show garden they created for the Istanbul Flower Festival in 2016

Profile: Alladio Sims

Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Ltd was established in 2015 after Jon Sims and Emanuela Alladio collaborated on a Silver Gilt winning show garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. The two directors continue their collaborative approach throughout their practice with Jon’s background in interior architecture giving distinctive spaces and Emanuela’s passion for plants and photographic eye adding great texture and contrast.

essence info
Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Limited
Unit C Willow House, Dragonfly Place, London SE4 2FJ
Website: www.alladiosims.co.uk
Email: hello@alladiosims.co.uk

Blurring the lines

Emanuela Alladio of Alladio Sims Garden Design asks what makes a garden a unique space? Here she explains why location, the brief, the budget and a garden’s peculiar series of opportunities and constraints all play a very important part in the mix.

Perhaps more than anything else one of the key aspects that can give a garden or a space its own unique identity is its edges and boundaries, and the way in which they define and constrain the space and flow within and the relationship with what’s around it.

We often wonder how best to blur the edges between building and garden, and between ‘managed’ garden and ‘wilder’ landscape. And as garden designers we constantly make decisions that manipulate those same edges and redefine them – by blurring them or ‘greening’ them we try to make them disappear, hiding fences and walls; by using indigenous plants we disguise the edge between private garden and wilder location; by creating hybrid spaces we blur the boundaries between house and garden and introduce furniture and other objects that remind us of the indoor, but invite us to be outside.

Some of the gardens we design can only be described through their boundaries and edges, starting with the drama of a window or a pergola leading the eye to the far end – an edge concealed and turned into an intriguing focal point. We like to introduce internal boundaries and edges too, by framing views and forcing us to take a break, by creating different ‘rooms’ with screens and embellishing them with plants, and simply by working with what’s already there, bringing new and old boundaries and edges together, mixing new solutions and restoring or blurring old ones.

Boundaries and edges are there to challenge our senses and our behaviour, and when we design we like to consider ways in which we can do so in an unexpected manner, creating little surprises along the path, pushing us to stop and think and become emotionally involved with the space we find ourselves in.

Front gardens and entrances provide the perfect setting to introduce strong and solid boundaries, but what happens when we challenge this idea and choose a more blurred, flowing and soft divide between house and front garden and street or greater landscape? Does that create an even more dramatic entrance?

A screen is a good edge defining solution, being less strong and solid than a wall, but introducing enough definition to a garden to encourage circulation and discovery. Plants can climb and mingle in the spaces in between, softening the look. Image courtesy of Alladio Sims Garden and Landscape Design Ltd, private Twickenham garden, 2017

A few years ago, at a garden design conference in London, I remember looking at some images of a stunning American garden where instead of creating a clear cut division between road and house, the designer decided to blur the external boundary by ‘moving’ the surrounding forest very close to the front door, with some woodland elements making their way into the porch. By choosing hard materials for the front door, steps and landing, built using the local wood with natural finishes and colours that echoed the neighbouring landscape and by bringing the trees and middle shrubbery inside the house, the house became part of the forest, freed from its own boundaries, unified with nature and the surrounding spaces to establish the perfect flow. At the time everyone seemed fascinated by this concept and liked the idea of dissolving and blurring the edges. And I began to wonder wouldn’t it be useful if we considered boundaries as an essential part of the design brief and process and looked at ways in which we can utilise them to give a garden a more unique identity?

Clearly, blurring the boundaries gives us the freedom to use plants more creatively. Once the harsh angles and edges have gone, plants are the perfect material to soften and conceal. And the best way to achieve surprising results is to throw in the mix different layers, shapes and textures – bold architectural silhouettes with dainty annuals against the sturdy foil of perennials dotted with some ordinary native plants to keep the flow going with the surrounding landscape. Indeed, combining plants with interesting forms and textures is the best way to mimic the intricacy of nature and to soften the transition between edges.

Still, solid boundaries can be useful too, to entice movement and a sense of discovery of what’s beyond, and both planting, hedges and screens are useful tools to create strong layers that entice us to discover what’s just beyond or behind the hidden corner. Sometimes these junction points are there because of specific conditions that exist within and outside each garden, but often we introduce them and manipulate them to create the desired space.

Indeed, as designers, it is our job to constantly make decisions that manipulate and redefine edges and boundaries and our role is to recognise them so that we can respond to them in a way that will make our gardens positively unique.


Garden 2Jon and Emanuela in the show garden they created for the Istanbul Flower Festival in 2016

Profile: Alladio Sims

Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Ltd was established in 2015 after Jon Sims and Emanuela Alladio collaborated on a Silver Gilt winning show garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. The two directors continue their collaborative approach throughout their practice with Jon’s background in interior architecture giving distinctive spaces and Emanuela’s passion for plants and photographic eye adding great texture and contrast.

essence info
Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Limited
Unit C Willow House, Dragonfly Place, London SE4 2FJ
Website: www.alladiosims.co.uk
Email: hello@alladiosims.co.uk

Looking ahead

Emanuela Alladio of Alladio Sims Garden Design reminds readers to always plan ahead and anticipate any problems and risk when considering a gardening project.

Our job at Alladio Sims as garden designers is to plan and look ahead, to think of as many variables as we can – from design brief to budget, from inspiration to practicalities and to be as open as we can with our clients and suppliers.

In view of the above, for us, producing a programme and looking ahead is a necessity, no matter what size and type of project being considered. This principle applies to house and garden schemes alike, whether a project is small and straightforward, or large and complex.

Anyone who has experienced a house renovation or any rebuild project knows all too well that they often bring a loss of privacy and a level of disruption that are deeply unwelcome for everyone. The distress they can cause is even more unpleasant when it lasts for longer than expected, and although no programme can ever eliminate the risk of a setback or two, it will prepare everyone involved for an easier journey.
Screen Shot 2018-01-30 at 20.36.28
As designers, we understand that we need to be very open – it’s the only way to be. And so we are upfront and communicate from the word go any difficulties we might foresee: perhaps delays in preparing the site, working with unpredictable or poor weather, delays in planning applications, dealing with workloads and previous work commitments of chosen contractors and stock availability from nurseries.

It is no coincidence that two of the busiest times for us in the office are winter and early spring, both good times to start thinking about the process of renovating a garden, when it is still not used for family relaxation and entertainment and when plants have the best chance of establishing themselves. A garden design project starting to take shape in autumn/early winter allows a client the best chance of seeing the project accomplished by springtime, ready for when the weather suddenly turns nice and spurs us to spend more time outdoors.

Of course, no planning will ever take away all risks and unexpected surprises, but the increased awareness for all parties will help prepare for any disruption and create an easier ride for everyone during a garden project.
A designer will always be open and willing to discuss the different elements to include in a comprehensive garden programme – timelines, budget and contingency sums, planning and permits, contractors and tenders, materials and plant supply, site constraints and bespoke elements’ build and supply times, poor weather, quality of contract etc. – these are just a few things to consider when getting started. If well managed through good communication and awareness, any unforeseen issues can be better resolved and a client can feel better engaged in the process and be more accommodating.

Looking outside today, it’s certainly not too late yet: a little bit of forward planning will go a long way.

Garden 2Jon and Emanuela in the show garden they created for the Istanbul Flower Festival in 2016

Profile: Alladio Sims

Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Ltd was established in 2015 after Jon Sims and Emanuela Alladio collaborated on a Silver Gilt winning show garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. The two directors continue their collaborative approach throughout their practice with Jon’s background in interior architecture giving distinctive spaces and Emanuela’s passion for plants and photographic eye adding great texture and contrast.

essence info
Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Limited
Unit C Willow House, Dragonfly Place, London SE4 2FJ
Website: www.alladiosims.co.uk
Email: hello@alladiosims.co.uk

Winter sparkle

Emanuela Alladio of Alladio Sims Garden Design reminds readers not to ignore the garden in winter, but to take the opportunity to fill in gaps and enjoy the subtle beauty of winter plants.

Good gardens evolve with time and through the seasons, and they become much more open and transparent in winter, once leaves have fallen and been replaced by bare stems and empty gaps. At this time of year a garden really needs its backbone of shrubs and trees – from coloured stems and bark to the reassuring presence of evergreen ‘cushions’. But now is also a good time to take stock of what is there, to savour those often hidden sparkling treasures, and also to establish whether the gaps that have emerged are not too big, leaving the garden too bare and exposed in winter months.

Screen Shot 2017-12-06 at 20.30.19Subtle leaf forms and textures are key in winter, when most flowers are long gone. Image courtesy of Alladio Sims Garden and Landscape Design Ltd, Surrey private garden, 2016

Amongst the surprises that the garden brings at this time of year are the minute frosty crystals sparkling on leaves and stems that shine gloriously on early frosty December mornings.

Dissected and whole leaves catch the frost better than anything else, trapping sparkling crystals in the multitude of tiny nooks and crannies on their surface. Plants such as Alchemilla Mollis, Salvia Argentea or Melianthus Major will undoubtedly steal the show for a few magic days before finally dying down or becoming less prominent for the rest of winter.

Winter gardens bring unexpected surprises for the other senses too, scent in particular being key among winter flowering plants and so well worth a place in any good garden design plan.

One of the joys of visiting RHS Garden Wisley on an early winter morning has always been the walk up Battleston Hill and the sensation of suddenly being hit by the heady sweet perfume of a distant Daphne, tucked away in a sheltered and shady spot sometimes a good few metres away.

Sarcococcas (Sweet Box) is another great shrub for this time of the year, with aromatic honeyed cream flowers creating a cloud of perfume each time someone passes. One would not want to be without them and so we always encourage clients to find a sheltered and shady space for at least one specimen, or better still, we position them by an entrance or a gate, perfect for that welcome back home.

Another fond memory from RHS Garden Wisley is the Paper Bush – Edgeworthia Chrysantha – a truly spectacular sight in the midst of winter, this is a shrub covered in clusters of wholly white and yellow flowers, much like a string of Christmas lights, that light up even the darkest of days. An added bonus is its leaves too, very exotic and architectural once the flowers have disappeared.

Adding to the list of sparkling beauties in the winter garden are Mahonias, despite the love-hate relationship they have always seemed to spark. But how could one resist their yellow plume of early December flowers followed by a cascade of long lasting damson-coloured berries? And if the spiky large specimen is simply too much, then why not settle for its new, smaller cousins, such as Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’, with pretty dissected leaves surprisingly thorn free. This is a wonderfully architectural plant with a strong presence that should be worthy of any garden.

In the open gaps under the bare canopies of deciduous summer shrubs and among dormant leafy perennials now is the time to discover the little unsung heroes of the winter garden – candid Cyclamen Hederifolium flowers and the clear, pale blue flowers of Iris Unguicularis, reminiscent of a winter’s sky, the recumbent and discreet flowers of hellebores, the frothy leaves of evergreen ferns and heucheras, the heart shaped leaves of epimediums... so many small treasures!

Without these winter garden beauties a garden would risk becoming too static, and not such an interesting space after all, incapable of evolving and changing its character throughout the seasons. The true mark of a successful garden should therefore also be its ability to stand out in winter, and to create an architecturally interesting space in the dormant season too.

This is the perfect time to take stock of the garden, so go out and take a good look, make a note of any gaps that seem too big, but above all don’t forget to enjoy the subtle beauty of winter plants.

Garden 2Jon and Emanuela in the show garden they created for the Istanbul Flower Festival in 2016

Profile: Alladio Sims

Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Ltd was established in 2015 after Jon Sims and Emanuela Alladio collaborated on a Silver Gilt winning show garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. The two directors continue their collaborative approach throughout their practice with Jon’s background in interior architecture giving distinctive spaces and Emanuela’s passion for plants and photographic eye adding great texture and contrast.

essence info
Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Limited
Unit C Willow House, Dragonfly Place, London SE4 2FJ
Website: www.alladiosims.co.uk
Email: hello@alladiosims.co.uk

Box mentality

Garden1

A broader approach to any design project can achieve a property’s full potential. Emanuela Alladio of Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Limited advocates planning outdoor spaces right from the beginning of any project.


When planning a new extension or build, we tend to think inside the box. We visualise the house as the main box, sitting somewhat alone on a piece of landscape, and then divide this empty box into separate rooms, each with its own very specific function to fulfil – each a smaller, yet still empty, box (furnishings are often brought into action at a later stage).

Once the main box is finished, we stop to wonder how the box relates to the space around it. Only at the end do we think of ways to soften the building and make it sit more naturally within the outside space. The result is that often the finished box doesn’t connect with the neighbourhood or the wider landscape, and the inside/outside flow is seriously compromised and its potential lost.

Yet when we admire images of houses and gardens conceived with an integrated approach, we are in awe. So why consider the relation between house and landscape as an afterthought? Wouldn’t it be better if someone was in charge of thinking outside the box from the very beginning of a project?

We could do so much more if we engaged the building with its surrounds from the very beginning. If, at the early planning stage, client, architects, garden designer and interior designer all sat at the same table the result would mean much fewer lost opportunities, well-integrated solutions and useful economies of scale.

We hire architects to create forms from interconnected spaces, focusing on concepts such as flow and aesthetic, we hire interior designers to introduce the right mood and texture to each and every one of these spaces. All our energy is spent worrying about what happens inside – floors, furniture, curtains, light fittings, kitchens and bathrooms – forgetting that this beautiful flow will stop as soon as those brand new bi-fold doors open – and we are faced with an empty and alien back garden.

Yet the solution is out there. Bringing in a skilled garden designer can continue the dialogue outside. A skilled designer will absorb information from all sources and develop the outside space to extend the link with the house. Your brilliant, new, glass-clad, sleek kitchen living area will no longer open to an uninspiring and empty back garden. You will discover a new world of potential and create a stunning outdoor room.

Some tricks are simple: choose the same porcelain tiles installed in the kitchen for the patio area – in a different finish to add slip resistance outside – to achieve that instant, seamless, indoor/outdoor transition. Make the most of the expanse of glass walls in your new extension by controlling the views out, creating new ones, adding light and water for a touch of drama.

Of course, just like a good architect or interior designer, a great garden designer will guide you through this process, looking at the ‘outside box’ and dividing it up into a series of meaningful layers each with a different function: privacy, drama, entertaining, framing the view etc. And the difference will be in the small details – identifying the best aspect for dining or enjoying a swim or a view, making the space feel much bigger and more inviting thanks to directional paving or the right materials and plant palettes, choosing the best plants for the site given the local soil, drainage and exposure to the elements. Once this process is complete, the indoor/outdoor flow will be seamless.

Despite this enormous potential, so often garden designers are called to ‘intervene’ right at the end of the renovation, new build or extension, missing out on some earlier opportunities. Considering the outer environment can bring so many tangible advantages to any development, for example, by making the most of an existing level, framing a borrowed view from the landscape and creating a positive link between the building and its surrounds. This can be easily achieved if the garden designer is engaged from the beginning as a three-way conversation with the architect and client. It would often mean saving on costs too as later ‘interventions’ are minimised.

This holistic approach to an extension or a new build is already very established across the ocean and is being adopted here too, producing some amazing results. Next time we admire a stunning new build if we ask ourselves why our eyes are so drawn by what they see it will no doubt be the very unique connection that the building has managed to establish with its surrounds, the creative use of local materials, the effective and functional use of space, the clever yet understated details. This very elegant product will be the result of clever thinking outside the box.

Garden 2
Profile: Alladio Sims
Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Ltd was established in 2015 after Jon Sims and Emanuela Alladio collaborated on a Silver Gilt winning show garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. The two directors continue their collaborative approach throughout their practice with Jon’s background in interior architecture giving distinctive spaces and Emanuela’s passion for plants and photographic eye adding great texture and contrast.

essence info
Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Limited
Unit C Willow House, Dragonfly Place, London SE4 2FJ
Website: www.alladiosims.co.uk
Email: hello@alladiosims.co.uk