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It Doesn’t Have to Cost The Earth

Designer: Michael Lote

Built By: MJL Garden Design

Medal Award: Gold

Who is this garden for? 
A professional couple, passionate about gardening with a varied plant collection, seeking to establish a tranquil retreat adjoining their recently acquired new-build property.

Where is the garden set? 
Anywhere in the UK.

Who or what is the design inspiration?
The design takes inspiration from beautiful recycled and innovative sustainable materials, coupled with atmospheric interesting planting consisting of both native and unusual species.

Where will the garden go after the Festival?
The garden will be repurposed for the community benefit of The Soil Association at Woodoaks Farm, Hertfordshire.

Plant List (subject to change)
Click Here

Key Plants
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Further Detail

Like many gardens in modern housing developments across the UK, this garden addresses the importance of restoring wildlife habitats affected by property construction.

The rich hues and earthy tones of the planting complement the contemporary and reclaimed materials used throughout the space, drawing inspiration from the surrounding environment. The muted tones are interspersed by bursts of vibrant colour to attract birds and insects.

In the garden stands a central Corten steel helix sculpture, used as a pergola, for visitors to sit and enjoy the garden, as well as a striking piece of artwork itself.

Below ground, innovative construction methods and materials prioritise conservation. The garden is created with minimal disruption to the earth and focuses on soil health and building biodiversity to nurture a thriving garden that supports local wildlife.


  • The stone is sustainably sourced and manufactured within the UK. Waste products and offcuts from the production processes of larger items will be used for the paved area in the form of British stone setts.
  • The stone setts will be stack bonded, reducing cutting and wastage.
  • Path gravels are waste from production of the manufacturers stone walling products and will be used throughout.
  • All materials will be coming from the same small production facility to minimise transportation.
  • An innovative recycled foam glass product is used as a sub-base, in place of traditionally quarried aggregates.

About the Designer 

Michael Lote

Michael qualified in Landscape Architecture from Leeds Metropolitan University in 2006 and is a certified member of the Association of Professional Landscapers.

Since founding his business in 2007, he has primarily focused on designing and constructing private spaces and gardens. Mike is also an enthusiastic exhibitor at RHS Shows, having contributed to several RHS medal-winning gardens.

Mike champions the creation of stunning gardens with an environmental conscience, demonstrating the possibilities with sustainable construction methods and innovative products. His plant interests span from architectural tropical species, to native specimens and naturalised landscapes, promoting biodiversity and wildlife habitat improvement.

Michael says: “My inspiration to work in the horticultural industry was really due to a combination of family things; starting with my Mum being diagnosed with cancer when I was 16. She really wanted a pond at home as a place of respite and recovery, so I built one for her and the ‘seed was sown’ as the saying goes. My grandfather was an architect, and I have always enjoyed visualising the use of space and creating things.

“Those two influences in my life, along with my love of creating and making things, inspired me to initially start my career working on landscape construction. Grandad made it to see my work at RHS Shows before he passed, and was proud of my construction achievements. Mum is even prouder, and she cannot wait to see my Show Garden.

“RHS Malvern Spring is an exciting opportunity to showcase what I normally do in the private domain. The processes we use as an industry and as professionals doesn’t have to alter, but methods need to be considered more and thought through, so that we can help drive change. Show Gardens are always about teamwork, previously I have been building the visions of fellow designers. I am now doing that with my own message, supported by a small but fantastic team and partners who share my vision and believe in it.”

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