RHS Chelsea 2023 shows a diversity of design and styles that is inspiring. We take you round three gardens displaying our products.

Britannia Buff Yorkstone with Dorset Antique clay pavers, corten steel benches and planting.
The Dorset Antique clay pavers give colour and textural contrast with the Britannia Buff Yorksone paving in Martyn Wilson's The RSPCA Garden at Chelsea Flower Show this year. Built by Landscape Associates.

The RSPCA Garden

Two hundred years since the animal welfare charity was established, this garden creates a modern wildlife sanctuary, hoping to inspire visitors to take ideas home. Look closely and you'll see, not just the large wildlife observation hide, but sparrow nesting boxes, hedgehog boxes, log walls and flowing water.

Recycled, sustainable materials

Litter has been repurposed, to highlight the thousands of calls made to the RSPCA each year about injuries caused to wildlife. Chris Sherwood, the charity’s CEO, explained, “Helping wildlife is an enormous part of the RSPCA’s work, with almost half of reports received relating to wild animals. We want to inspire people to take action to help wildlife at this critical time.”

Natural, sustainable and recycled materials dominate the hard landscaping. A natural stone feature wall forms the back border. A bench in laser-cut Corten steel doubles as a place for dead branches as a home for mini-beasts. Corten steel, with its protective patina of rust that prevents further erosion, lasts well into the future, which is why it’s such a good material for, for example, planting containers.

Tall pot water feature overflows onto gravel with apron of Dorset Antique clay pavers between relaxed planting
Dorset Antique clay pavers make a feature of this corner with a water feature that overflows onto the gravel below, in the RSPCA Garden designed by Martyn Wilson, built by Landscape Associates.

A rill made of recycled plastic adds movement, sound and water for wildlife. The garden uses shrubs that are easy to place in domestic gardens, and the whole, enclosed by hedging and overhung by a canopy of native trees, is reminiscent of a woodland setting.

The garden, one of fifteen funded this year by Project Giving Back, is built by Landscape Associates and designed by Martyn Wilson of Wilson Associates Garden Design. “Animals are at the heart of this garden,” he says. “I was inspired by my passion for wildlife and walks with my dog in a local semi-ancient woodland, as well as visit to RSPCA West Hatch Wildlife Centre.” At the Centre, he witnessed the rehabilitation work that’s carried out on animals as diverse as seals and hedgehogs.

Paving and coping from London Stone

With the emphasis on natural materials and sustainability, it's no surprise that Martyn chose natural stone and clay pavers for the hard landscaping. Britannia Buff is a mellow Yorkstone quarried in Britain—long-lasting and traditional. In addition to paving, Martyn added Britannia Buff coping stones to the walls. This traditional way of protecting walling from water ingress also adds definition to its contours. Martyn contrasted the Yorkstone with Dorset Antique clay pavers, from our Cottage Garden range.

Outdoor chairs and table on Britannia Buff paving surrounded by verdant planting in The RSPCA Garden, Chelsea Flower Show 2023.
Britannia Buff Yorkstone paving is matched by the coping that caps the wall in The RSPCA Garden, designed by Martyn Wilson, built by Landscape Associates.

Designed to be laid flat, rather than on edge, these have a very traditional appearance as well as being a sustainable, long-lasting, recyclable material produced in a closed-loop system.

The RSPCA Garden won Silver-Gilt and, after the show, will be relocated to Stapeley Grange Wildlife Rescue Centre, Nantwich, Cheshire, an RSPCA education hub.

Polar DesignBoard composite decks RHS Chelsea 2023 balcony garden with blue square planters, chair in background.
Katherine Holland won Silver-Gilt for her Balcony Garden at RHS Chelsea 2023, with Polar DesignBoard composite decking drawing light into the design.

Balcony Garden: The Folio Society Reading Room Garden

A small space can be more of a challenge than a large one, as you try to make the most of every inch while still making it feel spacious. In this, its third year, the RHS Balcony Garden category aims to show the potential of small spaces. It’s also a category aimed at helping emerging designers, who are mentored by experienced Chelsea doyen Paul Hervey-Brookes.

The Folio Society Reading Room Garden is designed by Katherine Holland and built by Phil Sutton Landscapes. They're a team that proved its worth at RHS Hampton Court 2022, winning Silver for A Journey, in Collaboration with Sue Ryder. Here they’ve gone a step further, winning Silver Gilt.

“The garden has been inspired by my love of reading a good book whilst in the company of plants,” says Katherine, who left her City job when she rediscovered her childhood love of gardening after moving house.

Dappled shade on DesignBoard Polar composite decking in RHS Chelsea 2023 balcony garden, with green and grey planters, small table and chair.
DesignBoard composite decking is a quick-to-lay, lightweight choice, for the Folio Society Garden, built by Phil Sutton Landscapes.

From balcony doors, you step out into a green oasis, with drought-tolerant planting to the fore. This not only makes allowances for high temperatures in summer but makes caring for plants easier for a flat-dweller, saving them from continually carrying water through their home. Sympathetic to the likely location of such a garden, a water feature bubbles away. Its movement creates white noise to curtain the space off from traffic noises.

Composite decking from London Stone

For the balcony floor, Katherine chose DesignBoard Polar. Light materials are an ideal choice for balconies where weight restrictions need consideration. Balconies can also be overshadowed by nearby buildings and the pale colour helps reflect light back up onto the plants, as well as giving the design a bright, holiday feel.

Polar is part of our DesignBoard Classic range and its modern styling offers a contemporary alternative to timber decking, while retaining a natural feel. This feel is thanks to the inclusion of rice husks, a by-product of agriculture, in its composition.

Large hypertufa containers against black slate cladding wall with tall mirror. Gravel and dark stepping stones in The Shifting Garden, RHS Chelsea 2023
The Shifting Garden by The Chelsea Gardener, uses Black Slate cladding as a textured backdrop to the hypertufa container garden.

Container Gardens : The Shifting Garden by Chelsea Gardener

The Shifting Garden is designed by The Chelsea Gardener, a garden centre and destination in Sydney Street, SW3, and emphasises sustainability in the face of extreme weather patterns.

Slate cladding from London Stone

Providing a dramatic backdrop, and a design feature that can easily be copied at home, is the black slate-clad wall that forms the boundary of the garden. The dark colouring of 6m2 of black slate cladding intensifies the greens of the foliage. Dark colours recede into the background, so this gives the feel of a larger space, especially with the cunning addition the curvaceously edged mirror that suggests space beyond.

What is striking about the slate cladding is its vertical placing. More usually placed so that the cladding blocks run horizontally, its effect here is less man-made and more organic. It also supports a key concept of the garden—representing water, without using water.

Large hypertufa container against black slate cladding wall with tall, curve-edged mirror. The Shifting Garden, Chelsea Gardener
The Shifting Garden, by The Chelsea Gardener, has recycled plastic-rod panels to evoke the feeling of water and shows how to pack plants into a small space.

Along the beds, recycled plastic-rod screens blur the view through, as if through water. The vertical lines of the cladding imply a waterfall over rock.

The Chelsea Gardener gains their own well-deserved Silver Gilt, rather neatly completing a hat trick of awards for the gardens we're supporting this year. Our congratulations to everyone involved!

Look out for our next feature, on Chelsea Flower Show's 2023 trade stands. Or take a trip down memory lane to look at London Stone supported show gardens of 2022.

If you’d like more information on the products that contributed to the success of these gardens, then don’t hesitate to get in touch, or click on the links above.