30 Apr

Ask the Designer: So Where Does Your Garden Design Inspiration Come From?



Garden design inspiration can literally come from anywhere, be it a song you enjoy listening to, a piece of art, a place you have visited, even something as simple as the form of an everyday object. There are no restraints as to what a garden designer can draw from to turn a mere thought into a reality. These days the internet can be an endless ocean for design inspiration ideas, but quite often it is in those moments of mindful contemplation that a thought is ignited in the designer’s mind.

We asked Adam to share with you where his sources of garden design inspiration come from in his landscape and garden design work. He will also be sharing how he turned a ‘mere thought into a reality’, as illustrated in the garden design projects he has worked on below.

"Clients often enlist the services of a garden designer to give them the inspiration they need to create a beautiful outdoor space, which enhances their home and fulfils their needs for outdoor living."

In the initial consultation process, whilst listening to the clients’ needs, Adam also uses it as an opportunity to ask a lot of questions in order to get to know them – their interests, hobbies, occupations and so on.


"In these moments, a thought might be ignited and one which has collaboratively sparked the garden design thought process."

Following the initial client meeting Adam also investigates and researches the history of the site and/or the local surroundings. This aids him in "better understanding the essence and soul of a place." Again, inspiration can be kindled from either the historical and/or geographical contexts within which the site lies.

So, we have our inspiration, what next?

The real skill is in harnessing the initial design inspiration ideas to create a strong and coherent landscape and/or garden design. Adam also draws upon his own expertise, skills, life experiences, knowledge, and exposure to the inspiring works of others to deliver his vision for his clients’ brief.

Adam says, "More recently, many clients are looking for a modern or contemporary garden design." This can be achieved by interpreting the garden design inspiration in a manner to deliver the brief as set by the client.



A commercial events venue primarily used for weddings.

The 'Big Idea' and inspiration behind this design started life as the union of the rings or interlocking rings, as would be seen in many wedding ceremonies.

Adam created a strong, contemporary design for spatial definition, whilst bringing a warmth back into the venue's gardens, through the planting schemes. The garden design had to deliver on style, accessibility and tranquillity in equal measure.

Interlocking Rings Garden Design Inspiration

Interlocking Rings Garden Design Drawing

Garden Design Proposal - Axonometric View

The garden plan (Axonometric View) best illustrates the strong interlocking rings design from above. The end result: a sharp/modern garden design which fully met the requirements of the client.

Interlocking Rings Garden Design Drawing

Garden Design Proposal - The Bold Move

Garden Plan in bottom left corner highlights in blue:

  • View looking NE from the SW corner of the Outdoor Reception area
  • Eye is lead along the rill to the focal point in the NE corner
  • Joins two major parts of the garden together in a contemporary garden design style.


The garden design inspiration for the main structure of this garden came from the world- renowned Japanese Architect Tadao Ando and his stark concrete creation at the University of Monterey in Mexico.

Adam took the striking offset angles from cast concrete to develop a highly dynamic and contemporary garden design, much to the delight of the garden's architect owners.

The quality of the design comes from its minimalist simplicity. This is echoed in the planting scheme. Adam chose 'green architecture' with a softer palette of year round herbaceous planting, like that of the work of Jacques Wirtz, Belgian Landscape Architect.

Minimalism Garden Design Inspiration

Minimalism Garden Design Proposal

Garden Design Proposal - Axonometric View

Aerial view of the rear garden, looking in a southerly direction.

Adam chose a B&W rendering to better show the structure of the garden, highlighting the central retaining walls, Bocce Path, The Return, Ando's Steps and Wirtz's Lawn.

A contemporary garden design interpretation from the works of Ando and Wirtz.

Minimalism Garden Design Proposal

Design Proposal - View from The Return, looking south

Standing at the top of The Return, looking south along The Steps and towards the The Bowl and Bench.

The planting is shown in late spring, as the Alliums, Nepeta and Euphorbia are in full swing. Under The Balcony the Hachonochloa flanks the Wirtz Lawn and The Water Feature. The polished concrete steps drop 100mm per step and lead you gracefully down to the lawn.


The Client Brief:

"We want a wonderful space for entertaining, enjoying the garden and nature, areas for the children (and adults) to play, fruit and veg production and areas to relax so that we may enjoy the stunning views."

Having spent considerable discussion time in the initial consultation with his clients, Adam learnt that both owners were avid gin fans. Entertaining family, friends and sometimes clients would play an integral part of how they wanted to use their new outdoor space.

Interlocking Rings Garden Design Inspiration

The garden design inspiration for this energetic and dynamic design was found in Thomas Heatherwick's glasshouses at the Bombay Sapphire Distillery, Hampshire. Stunning pieces of architecture which flow and morph into fluid organic shapes.

"The energy within this design is uplifting; the supporting bars distort into a central focus point as they enter the building. It is so dynamic, it never seems to stop...wonderful!" (Adam)

Interlocking Rings Garden Design Drawing

Design Evolution - Garden Design Plan

The plan elevation was scaled at 1:50 @ A1.

Interlocking Rings Garden Design Drawing

Garden Design Evolution - Aerial View

To gain an idea of the space, mass and void over such a large area, Adam pulled together an aerial view looking in a southerly direction. At this altitude you can understand the flow and dynamics of the design and the graduation of the scheme from the front garden to the back.


Download the full article to read more about the inspiration for some of Adam's past projects.




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