Masters of Design: Tom Stuart-Smith












“At night, the lights of the M1 and M25 encircle us like a bright necklace of sodium and in the hedge at the bottom of the garden you are as likely to encounter an abandoned fridge or cluster of empty beer cans as you are a foraging badger. But despite the noise and the dumping it remains a remarkable enclave of beauty, hanging on by a thread.”

– Opening excerpt from The Barn Garden; Tom and Sue Stuart-Smith


The Barn Garden. Photo by Marianne Majerus



Recognized Style: Ability to mix the prairie style with traditional English for a common theme of juxtaposition and contrast.  Tom’s style is loose allowing garden inhabitants to follow their own path and gaze compared to forcing focal points.

Norfolk Garden. Photo by Jerry Harpur


Accolades: An 8 time gold medal winner, and 3 time best in show designer at the Chelsea Flower show. First living gardener with an exhibition of work at the Garden Museum, London in 2011.

Chelsea Dhow Garden 2008. Photo by Andrew Lawson


Gardens of Note: Queen’s Jubilee Garden, Windsor Castle (public).   Trentham, Staffordshire (public),  Cheshire Garden (Private, seen in House & Garden Oct 2012 and Gardens Illustrated Issue 193).

Cheshire Garden. Photo by Marianne Mejerus


Will also like Piet Oudolf, Dan Pearson, Roy Diblik

Trentham. Photo by Allan Pollokmorris


Must Read: The Barn Garden; Tom Stuart-Smith, Sue Stuart-Smith.   Garden Designers at Home: The Private Spaces of the World’s Leading Designers; Noel Kingsbury


Favorite Plants in Design:  (1) Buxus sempervirens (2) Hakonechloa macra (3) Carpins betulus (cloud pruned) (4) echinacea purpurea


What I am reading and new series introduction


I have a large pile of reading material on my desk that I have been going between when I need to break away from the computer. It is a group of books and magazines that I just received, have not finished from the summer or keep on hand to always review for inspiration.  This is a large pile since I like to jump around. Below are a few of the items I am reading at the moment.

Looking at my pile of reading material it gave me an idea for a new blog topic series – Masters of Design. There are a group of amazing designers that when I see their work I am always amazed and inspired. The names I profile will not be new to those in the landscape world, but might be new to folks who are not completely submerged in garden design.  I have also added a pin board that will feature the folks profiled. My first post will be tomorrow on Tom Stuart-Smith (you can see his book peeking out above).