A Selection of Garden Designs by Kathy Vivian, Garden Designer

Courtyard garden, Gerrards Cross

This small garden has no attractive external view and is surrounded by buildings.  It is enclosed by hedges and fences and is very sheltered.  The heart of the garden is a paved area, which is large enough for a table and 8 chairs, to be used for entertaining.  Apart from access paths, the rest of the garden is planted with a mixture of shrubs, herbaceous plants and bulbs.

This sequence of photos show how this garden has developed so far.

1.  This shows the condition of the site at the time of the survey.  Building work had just been completed for the new owners of the property.

Gerrards Cross site pre-build - Kathy Vivian Garden Design

2.  The hard landscaping is complete.  Some shrubs have been retained.  Some of these help to screen the shed in the bottom corner of the garden.

Gerrards X hardlandscaping

3.  Soil conditioner is added to the soil in preparation for planting.

Gerrards Cross adding soil conditioner - Kathy Vivian Garden Design

4.  Plants are set out according to the plan ready to be planted.

Gerrards Cross setting out plants - Kathy Vivian Garden Design

5.  The plants are in the ground and have been watered in.  The paving is cleaned, rubbish is removed and the garden is left tidy.

Gerrards Cross tidying up - Kathy Vivian Garden Design

25-mile balcony garden design competition

Kathy was awarded an RHS silver medal for her design of a balcony garden at the London Plant and Design Show in February 2010. Her design focused on reusing waste plastic items. All the plants used plants were sourced from within 25 miles of the exhibition hall.  The judges were complimentary about her innovative use of plants and materials in her design.  Kathy was assisted with the development and building of her balcony garden by Sarah Ball and Charlotte Wess Garden Design.

If you would like your own copy of the plant list for the Plastic Fantastic balcony garden, please click here:

Detail of balcony garden - Kathy Vivian Garden DesignBalcony garden - London Plant and Design Show - Kathy Vivian Garden DesignShow garden drawing - Kathy Vivian Garden Design

Planting plan for a gravel garden

Gravel garden plan and elevation - Kathy Vivian Garden Design

This is a sun-drenched, south-facing London front garden.  The planting scheme is for informal drifts of plants mulched with gravel.  The plants chosen enjoy full sun and can cope with dry conditions.  A mixture of shrubs, herbaceous plants and bulbs provide year-round interest, with a colour scheme of purple and orange flowers and foliage.  A purple-leaved climber, Vitis vinifera ‘Purpurea’, frames the front door of the house.  A New Zealand flax plant (Phormium ‘Sundowner’) makes a dramatic focal point.

Islington garden

Islington garden plan - Kathy Vivian Garden Design

This west-facing garden is attached to a 1930’s house. A distinctive Art Deco-style extension, reminiscent of seaside structures of the period, has tall, curved windows facing the garden.  These curves have been reflected in the design for the layout of the lawn and paved areas of the garden.  As the garden is overlooked, the outdoor dining area has been screened by pleached, evergreen Quercus ilex (holm oak).  To reach the garden from the house a pond must be crossed using a low timber bridge, giving the suggestion of a seaside pier.

Country garden

Country garden plan - Kathy Vivian Garden Design

With more space available in the countryside, and surrounded by open views, there is room here for an open, more relaxed style of garden.  A large paved area by the house itself provides plenty of space for dining outdoors.  A vegetable garden is within easy access of the kitchen and is partly screened from the house by ornamental shrubs.  A mown path meanders from the house to the end of the garden, also giving access to sun loungers, a shady swing seat, and a bench from which to contemplate the view beyond the garden. The rest of the grass is allowed to grow long and meadow flowers and bulbs are encouraged around the fruit trees.

A garden to demonstrate an idea: Connections

Connections plan - Kathy Vivian Garden Design

This design is based on the concept of connections, showing how everyone and everything is linked in some way and that we all form part of a network.  Some are better connected than others, with many and closer links; others are on the periphery where the links are fewer and communication is slower.  Circular benches are provided to encourage people to sit together and improve their own connections with each other.