Clay pavers, plank paving and precision cutting have been the order of the day for this year’s Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival. Spot our products in the following gardens.
It’s a noticeably pared-down Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival this year. Unsurprisingly, gardens from abroad are absent, and the Show Category is at full complement with five gardens—quite a reduction on the eleven that took part in 2019.
This doesn’t mean standards have fallen, though, and at London Stone we’re proud to have contributed to three very different designs.
The Communication Garden
The size of an average back garden, the Lifestyle Gardens offer ideas that can be replicated at home, and Amelia Bouquet’s first Hampton Court show garden, The Communication Garden, showed what a well thought-out design can do to increase a sense of space. Here Amelia created corners hidden from each other, offering the delight of discovery as one explores—a classic way to make a garden feel bigger than it is.
The garden, which aims to underline the importance to mental health of talking face to face, includes two seating areas, one secluded within the planting. Plank paving plays an important role, in an informative example of the impact that slab format and laying patterns have on a design.
The planks are of Mirage Sawn Sandstone, showed to its advantage with very fine jointing. “I’d initially gone for porcelain,” says Amelia, “but for the style of the garden, natural stone works better. There’s a lovely grey vein going through it.”
“The plank paving gives a nucleus to the garden,” adds Amelia, which it certainly does, cleverly combining movement and stasis, as the chevron pattern leads visitors to the corner seating while the parallel running of the planks to the benches encourages one to rest there.
Behind the seating, panels of Golden Sand DesignClad show through the sweet chestnut uprights of the screen. The smooth finish complements the sawn paving, while both add textural contrast to the sweet chestnut shingles. “Mirage works beautifully with the DesignClad—the colour is similar—and it works well with the wood, for the slightly rustic element.”
Some of the plank paving is removed to make space for lines of Mind-Your-Own-Business (Soleirolia soleiroli). The fingers of small leaves bring planting into the hard landscaping, balancing the crisp edges with softness and contrasting with self-adhering gravel.
Last-minute decisions often make all the difference. The intention had been to intersperse the plank paving with clay pavers, but onsite Amelia decided the effect would be too busy. Enough energy is provided by the plank paving format, which is, not only balanced by the planting, but also the ponds, which offer a literal reminder that this is a place for reflection.
This was a first-show experience for contractor Urban Meadows too. “We were a bit nervous to start with because of the unknown and we’d not seen the site,” says director Barry Thomas, “but this is what we do for a living. There’s time pressure, but we were super-organised. It’s all in the preparation.”
At London Stone, we can certainly attest to that. What every designer needs is the security of knowing that exactly what they want will be delivered exactly when they want it. And it was. “I’m really grateful for the help you guys have given me,” says Amelia. “Your service is so good, the products so great, and you’ve got such a good range, especially with the clay pavers.”
Proof of the success of their organised approach is in the well-deserved Silver Award and Best Construction Award. Many congratulations to Amelia Bouquet and Urban Meadows for their achievement.
The Viking Friluftsliv Garden
One of the five big show gardens at Hampton this year, winning Silver-Gilt, The Viking Friluftsliv Garden is by Will Williams, in his second year as designer for this stalwart show garden sponsor.
Will chose Jura Grey Limestone, Contemporary Grey Sandstone and Gromo Antica Clay Pavers and, as ever, put us through our Bespoke Stone paces, using large slabs of Jura Grey in a way that anchors the design with the weight of the stone.
Two solid slabs of Jura Grey bridged the end of the plunge pool. The span measured 3.3m and was constructed of two separate pieces, each weighing 1.5 tonnes. While other pieces, such as the slab across the rill could be handled by four men, the weight of these called for a telehandler and were manoeuvred into place through the gap in the side wall that awaited the installation of the water wall—the last piece to go in.
Jura Grey is a favourite of Will’s; he chose it, you might remember, for his 2019 Viking Cruises Lagom Garden. It’s easy to see why; with its refined finish and embedded shells and fossils, it hints at ancient geology. “It’s such a natural stone,” Will told us then. “I really like the imperfections.”
The garden takes inspiration from the Scandinavian open-air lifestyle, and designing for Viking allows Will the freedom to express his enjoyment of Scandi design. “A lot of my normal work has hints; it’s definitely a style that I love,” he says.
Gromo Antica clay pavers made a more subtle appearance, lining the bottom and sides of the rill. “They give a lovely effect,” says Will. “I really like them—the sizing isn’t quite as big as some of the others.” They also line the 1.5m deep plunge pool with its shallow shelf. Here, the stacked pavers offer an earthy natural feel, enhanced by the rippling of the water.
The Contemporary Grey Sandstone adds a signature feature of Will’s designs. “I like to use stone as edging on lots of projects,” he explains. “100mm slips give a nice, defined edge—sharp and crisp—with plants doing the softening.”
“It’s an ambitious build,” says Will. “With a long stretch of water, it all has to be bang level. Water doesn’t lie!” It’s also been technically difficult, as everything lines up and everything matches. That demands the highest standards of installation, provided here by Burnham Landscaping, and truly precise cutting—nothing we’re not expert in!
The result is a restful, multi-purpose space that should inspire visitors to consider how they too can use their garden.
Get Started Gardens were a new and unjudged category for this year’s show, displaying tiny plots for first-time gardeners who might not know where to start.
For Jane Scott-Moncrieff, who designed Charlie’s Courtyard, the run-up to the show was something of a bumpy ride. Her original design included a greenhouse. Not only did the supplier drop out suddenly, but Jane found herself unexpectedly without a contractor. “Frogheath Landscapes stepped in at the last minute,” she explains. “They were so helpful.”
Lying almost central in the design is a patio of Gromo Antica clay pavers, one of our newest colours. It’s the first time Jane has used pavers, and we’re delighted to have made her a convert. “The pavers are lovely,” says Jane. “I’ve specified them since for a Norfolk project next year, where we’re using porcelain tiles and then pavers in the sunken garden. We loved working with them.”
Originally intending to lay them in traditional herringbone fashion, Jane quickly changed her mind. “By the time we got in the soldier course it was too narrow and too busy. Frogheath suggested a stretcher bond.” Edged with a single line of pavers, this has given a delightful accent to the way the paved area opens up the centre of the garden, as the lines formed by the stretcher bond lengthen to accommodate the shape.
Jane first came across London Stone when training at Capel Manor and has visited our North London showroom on several occasions. She felt confident we’d do our best in every way. “Everyone says you’re brilliant to deal with, and not stupid prices and, even better, you’ve expanded the product range so much,” she says. “You couldn’t have been more helpful; you were just brilliant,” she told us.
Which is a lovely note on which to close. Thank you, Jane! We ALWAYS go the extra mile!