Surlingham, Norfolk

Royal Norfolk Show Success 2018

I am thrilled to tell you all about my wonderful experience at this year’s Royal Norfolk Show and my multi-award-winning show garden at this year’s Royal Norfolk Show.

Whilst I was confident about my concept, as it was my first ever show garden, I was really anxious about how it would all go!

First of all, I need to say that none of my ideas could have been brought to life without the support of Darren Barnes, from Kingdom Landscapes. Darren’s work is always amazing and I am lucky to have him as my trusted landscaper and right-hand man!
With Darren’s help and a lot of hard work, I was able to produce a show garden I was really proud of.  The event enabled me to give a taste of my garden design skills and it was really lovely to show people what I can do. Whilst I was happy with my show garden and felt I did myself justice, I never expected to achieve the recognition I did. I ended up being awarded three honours, I still can’t believe it!!
The awards I received were:

So, where did it all start…?

The Brief & Design
The theme for the show gardens this year’s Royal Norfolk Show was ‘coastal and wellbeing’.
I was eager to produce a garden which represented our wonderful coast, as well as creating a perfectly tranquil space, that people could relate to and imagine in their own garden.
So, like every garden design project I undertake, the first stage was to produce client design brief  This brief is a visual aid that enables me to formulate and test my ideas, making sure everything compliments each other as it should.

Taking inspiration from the iconic East Anglian coastline, I wanted to interpret Cromer pier and Southwold lighthouse. I mean, who hasn’t had fish & chips or a sneaky ice-cream (or two) from one of our wonderful coastal towns?!

From there, my design entitled ‘Relaxing Coastal Shores’ developed.
I was keen to showcase a contemporary garden design that incorporated a multipurpose space for entertaining and relaxing. I really wanted the design to help people unwind and create a sense of wellbeing.
The design provided balance and structure, with hard landscaping materials that portrayed the shady shores and promenaded pier walks.
The planting was then used to embody the waves, working in harmony with coastal colours to represent the sea.

When selecting the materials for any project, it is important they work effortlessly with their surroundings and the client’s preferences.  As a designer, it is vital that I use products and materials of the highest quality and durability.
This show garden was no exception and I was very fortunate to work with some fantastic suppliers:

To represent the sand, I selected Natural sandstone ‘Fossil Mint’
This product echoed the swirling sand beautifully and was kindly supplier by Longwater gravel, who are a lovely local business

For Cromer pier, I used Trex composite decking ‘Island Mist’, supplier by Beams and Braces. Trex durability is superb with a 25 year warranty and looks great in any outdoor space.

The ‘duck egg’ cobbles which filled the lighthouse and lined the water rivulets, were supplied by Stone Warehouse and were selected for their mixture of pastel colouring. The subtle shades of bluish grey, white, and yellowy buff mix together perfectly.

Garden Features & Focal points
Southwold lighthouse is simple, elegant and looks truly striking in the skyline. I was fortunate to work with VOSS-EF on this. They created a stunning, modern and affordable stainless-steel lighthouse frame and I instantly fell in love with it!! This centre piece worked exactly as I imagined, it could be seen from afar and was a massive crowd pleaser.

With the show garden being a 360-degree plot, the rules stated we should not have anything obstructing the view. With that in mind, the Whitby Arbour seat, from Forrest Garden was ideal! With its backless appearance and commanding height, it demanded attention and created a cosy place to sit and take it all in.

Last but not least, the plants – my favourite part! They just bought the whole garden to life. Each plant was carefully selected for its different characteristic; colour, flower, texture and scent. Every single plant looked beautiful.

Whether it was the Festuca Glauca ‘Intense Blue’ Grasses looking striking with their spikey silvery blue leaves, or my bee loving happy Lavenders, Lavandula Angustifolia ‘Felice’, they all danced gracefully in the beautify breeze and Just looked magical….. even if I do say so myself!!!

I honestly cannot thank Nottcutts enough for their kind and generous support. Their plant quality was faultless and it showed! Happy plants, happy garden, VERY happy designer!

So, I guess I am just left to say a massive thank you for everyone who helped, supported and visited my Royal Norfolk Show Garden.
I hope you enjoyed seeing it, as much as we did creating it!

Until next year – Happy Gardening!

Love from a very proud Lucy xx