Design Tips

Getting creative with garden wall cladding

0 Written by Lisa on 30th Jul 2018 in Design Tips, Inspiration

I’m working on the detail for a project near Cardiff at the moment and we’re looking at different wall cladding which will enhance the garden and help to zone each area.

As part of the project we’ll be removing the existing bank and replacing the boundary fence with a wall which will make the garden usable and inviting and also much bigger.

As the barn conversion is built with the original stone, I’d like to bring some stonework into the equation, but I think to face the whole boundary wall will make it feel too enclosed and overpowering so I want to bring in some light, more elegant materials which will reflect more light and make the whole garden more welcoming.

It’s a north-facing garden so gets very little sun throughout the day.  Choosing the right materials is therefore really important.  A painted rendered wall, for example, will essentially be a maintenance nightmare as it’s likely to need repainting every year.

Steel Corten-Techlam-Slim thickness porcelanic façade

One option I’ve been exploring is a material called DesignClad, a relatively new 5mm thick porcelain cladding from London Stone.  It’s virtually non-porous and highly scratch resistant, available in large sheets and various finishes.  My favourite is the corten steel finish (as above), but a lighter colour may work best in a dark garden.

As it’s porcelain it will be really easy to wipe clean and it can be fixed to a basic concrete block wall with exterior tile grout.  This garden will also have a water rill so if we do use this for part of the wall it might be nice to clad the inside of the rill with the same material.

Another option is to use composite decking.  I love natural timber but, again, in a shady garden it comes back to maintenance and how easy it is to keep the garden looking top notch with the minimum amount of effort.

Weathered Oak Embered Cladding

We’re likely to use some composite decking within the paved areas so it might make sense to use some on the wall too.  The material of choice I think will be Millboard.  It’s at the higher end of the composite decking market, but it looks classy.

The image above shows the weathered oak range in an embered finish.  This will probably be too dark but there is a lighter colour that I’m thinking might work.

Enhanced Grain Limed Oak Photoshoot

The weathered oak range has a rustic feel to it, but the enhanced grain decking would also work really well, especially in a more contemporary space.

Another thought is to perhaps highlight a section of wall using a decorative aluminium or corten steel panel.  Grace & Webb do an amazing range of different patterns and finishes, including a copper colour which I love.

Image result for grace and webb malvern ann walker

The image above shows Laser cut corten wall feature by Grace & Webb for The Graduate Gardener’s Malvern Spring Show, designed by Ann Walker.   This is obviously a bold pattern, but it completely lifts the garden, especially with the lime green wall behind it.

The aluminium panels can be powder coated in any RAL colour.  It’s also possible to design your own pattern for something truly unique.

I’ve only covered three options here, but there are plenty more things to consider.  Stone wall cladding I don’t think will work because it will fight with the natural stone walls on the house.  Any stone work in the garden needs to tie in with that.

Essentially we need to choose something that lifts the whole design and enhances the space.  I’m meeting my clients on Monday with lots of samples so looking forward to making our choices then.


(Images: London Stone, Millboard, Grace & Webb)





The importance of good bed prep

0 Written by Lisa on 8th Jun 2018 in Design Tips, Plants

If there’s one thing that gets me going it’s when I arrive at site to carry out the planting and I have to pick up a fork because the beds aren’t prepared properly. Read more

How to budget for your new garden

2 Written by Lisa on 23rd Feb 2018 in Design Tips

Working to budgets is part of what I do, but it’s not always easy when there are so many choices available and if make tweaks along the way.  We’re undertaking a small building project at home and it’s exhausting making decisions, even though we’re doing some of it ourselves and therefore don’t have any time pressures. Read more

Winter berries

2 Written by Lisa on 15th Dec 2017 in Design Tips, Plants

I don’t know about you, but I love foraging for foliage at this time of year.  I’m lucky now that we have holly and ivy in the garden, the hedgerows are full of hazel and the woodland up the hill has an abundance of pine cones.  Now that the snow has disappeared, I’ll be cutting some holly at the weekend for Christmas decorations. Read more

A tour of the quarry at Forest of Dean Stone

0 Written by Lisa on 25th Oct 2017 in Design Tips

A couple of weeks ago I visited the quarry and production plant at Forest of Dean Stone. I organised the trip for the local Society of Garden Designer’s “cluster group” I coordinate and it was well worth the visit. Read more

It’s time to refresh your garden furniture

0 Written by Lisa on 21st Apr 2017 in Design Tips, Garden accessories

After a few weeks of dry, sunny days, I can safely say that the world has woken up and started to think about their gardens again.  It’s funny how we “park” all the jobs outside over the winter months, even if we didn’t really intend to. Read more

Planning a house project? Please remember the garden…

0 Written by Lisa on 23rd Feb 2017 in Design Tips

I watched the first episode of The House That 100k Built last night.  I don’t know about you, but I think it’s one of the most inspiring programmes of its type on TV.  I especially love the way Piers Taylor inspires the use of alternative, sometimes waste, materials to create something really individual and inexpensive that elevates the design to another level. Read more

Working with curves

0 Written by Lisa on 27th Jan 2017 in Design Tips

I’ve been drawing the design for a large garden in Hurley this week and it involved rather a huge chunk of time working out where all the radius points of my free-hand curves were. Read more

Why are gardens forgotten in house renovation projects?

0 Written by Lisa on 25th Feb 2016 in Design Tips


Have you been watching the BBC2 programme The £100k House – Tricks of the Trade?  I love it! It’s so inspiring to see what people do to their homes with modest and sometimes really small budgets. We’re certainly getting some great ideas for our own house. Read more

Protecting our precious trees

0 Written by Lisa on 12th Feb 2016 in Design Tips, Plants

Oak tree from the wood floor taken with wide angle lense by Lisa Cox

I’m currently working on a project where we have few trees on site that are subject to a Tree Protection Order (TPO).  Obviously I need to be absolutely sure that I create the new garden in a way that will ensure that the trees aren’t damaged so I’ve been taking advice from a professional arborist to ensure that we’re doing things right. Read more

Lisa Cox Welcome

I specialise in helping families to turn their gardens into an extension of their home and into a space that can be used and enjoyed all year round.

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