I love getting emails like this…
After completing your Successful Garden Design Course, I gained the confidence to enter a garden design competition.
Thank you for your fab course, without which I would not be contemplating a career change into garden Design.
The brief was to design a ‘planet-friendly garden’ that had to have a connection to where I live. I chose the Wirral coastline as my theme. Myself and 2 others from Radio Merseyside and Radio Lancashire were chosen. The gardens were then constructed by Lee Bestall & Co, and they did a fabulous job.
The original design was 6×4 m. But the RHS decided the plot would be circular so Lee rejigged the designs to fit into a third each of the circle. They actually worked well and made a really good feature at the show.

This garden, constructed of stone, gravel, grit and sand, contains natural-style planting and a water feature. This feature is a rain garden, which is fed from a downspout attached to a shed at the back of the garden.

The rain garden is a series of three linked upcycled steel water tanks or troughs, that overflow and drain into a swale that runs down to the front of the garden. The boundary is made of upcycled scaffold boards, which also feature in the seating area that contains two star-gazing chairs and is accessed by a grit path.

The plants are wind and salt tolerant and found in coastal areas in the North West. My garden is inspired by the west coast of the Wirral Peninsula in Merseyside, where I have lived all my life. I enjoy walking, running and cycling around the Wirral coastline and love the natural beauty of this area.

I try to do my bit for the environment by being as eco-friendly as I can and when I discovered the concept of the rain garden ( which filters away heavy downpours to avoid flash flooding), I was very keen to incorporate this idea into my garden. I believe this low-maintenance design, that doesn’t ‘cost the earth’, would be possible to recreate in most small gardens, and I hope it inspires those who see it to have a go at making their own.

The aspect of your course that helped me most was the formula and process of getting started with the use of shape, form and structure onto the paper. I used to be a graphic designer (many moons ago) and I have worked in garden centres and dabbled with planting plans and design ideas for friends and family; but I just didn’t have the confidence to design a whole garden. I thought it would be too difficult, but you made me realise that this is something that I can do and I now I can’t stop!
I enjoy doing the drawings by hand – haven’t got round to looking at CAD. Now I am hoping to develop my skills and possibly get some paid work if the opportunity comes along.

Debbie Montgomery – Literally Littoral Garden

Great Job, Debbie!

Debbie did our entry-level course the Small Garden Formula and has already achieved great things with what she’s learned from it.

But for anyone considering a career in garden design then do check out our Pro level course which covers design in a lot more depth as well as expanding your skills with the Master Class series and it includes a course on how to run your own design consultancy and much more!

Our professional level training course – the Great Garden Formula

Please note: the price of this course will be going up in the Autumn – it’s long overdue as lots more useful content has been added over the last 3 years! So grab it now and save yourself £200!



Rachel Mathews
Rachel Mathews

Professional international garden designer for over 30 years. My mission is to de-mystify garden design and make it easy for people to successfully design their own garden - without needing to spend a fortune!

    4 replies to "SGD Student Garden at RHS Tatton Park Flower Show"

    • Yvette

      A really well planned garden with a great outcome! Never never heard of a rain garden before but it’s brilliant. Will be looking at this for my own garden….

    • Designer

      Hi, how much it costs to enter show like Tatton with design of garden? Have you used sponsors?

      • Rachel Mathews

        I don’t know, Debbie did it as part of a competition. If you contact the RHS directly they will be able to give you that information.

    • Patricia Rhinehart

      Fantastic! You are encouraging to my heart. Congratulations!

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