We first met Chris when he was exhibiting at the Chelsea Flower Show, very much admired the gardens he created and stayed in touch with him. Some years later we were able to come back to him and asked for a plan for our tiny Cottage garden in the New Forest.
Then, it was an ugly, depressing 'easy care' space that no one really wanted to use, in a conservation area with a large listed shed in the middle and very exposed. The largest usable area was filled with steps, dank concrete crazy paving, drains, bins and a boiler. Renovation and redesign needed someone with real insight to visualise what it could become.
Chris created 3 individual areas within the garden, each with a slightly different purpose and character. The biggest area is now a beautiful sun trap and herb garden paved with warm terracotta sandstone with table and chairs and a parasol. We use it all the time and somehow the boiler is less noticeable. We have a more formal screened seating area to look out onto the Forest without feeling observed and a secluded grassy back garden for complete peace and quiet.
Chris didn't feel the need to completely empty the garden as some designers might, but thoughtfully incorporated existing plants and features into the design and was flexible about amending it - such as when a well was found during works. This meant our new garden had immediate character, not just lots of tiny, new plants.
He was a real pleasure to work with - sensitive to our budgetary restraints and receptive to ideas. He was tactful when telling us that some things wouldn't work too. As he lives a long way away we used a local landscaper to do the hard landscaping and liaised with Chris as the work was done. He came down and supervised the planting and was tactful with the landscapers but got his way.
Chris really knows his plants and did us a proper planting plan and plant list. Not only are the species carefully chosen to suit the aspect but we got the loveliest variety of each and the vast majority have thrived.
We are thrilled with our garden, we love and cherish it. We regularly receive unsolicited compliments about our beautiful garden, how appropriate it is to the situation and people ask who designed it. It is much easier to look after and an enormously rewarding space to enjoy.
I have not put down a cost as I can't remember - but it was definitely money well spent. I can't see how to attach photos, but if you contact him he will know which garden this is.
I would absolutely recommend Chris, he is more than capable, he's first rate.