Front garden by Christine Wilkie

A Garden to Warm The Soul

29th March 2013

When the doors to Grand Designs Live swing open on 4 May, one of the most popular destinations for visitors will be the Show Gardens.

It’s not surprising. The full-scale buildings in the Show Village are aspirational, certainly, but their eco-concepts can seem out-of-reach, their ideas hard to implement immediately in our own homes – whereas the gardens offer tips and hints that are much more transferable. One of this year’s exhibitors is Wembley-based Christine Wilkie, who is offering a garden design consultation, worth £120, as the prize in this issue’s competition. We caught up with her to find out more about her Grand Designs Garden, which she’s calling Glow: a garden to warm the soul…

"Glow is a small city garden designed for a busy, eco-conscious owner wanting a low-maintenance, ethical garden that is strong on visual impact and style,” she explains. Although she is a plantswoman at heart – “a plantaholic, in fact” – Christine’s second love is hard landscaping, and the combination of the two creates an infinitely practical design for a contemporary lifestyle. The raised beds, for example, are packed with lush planting requiring minimum care – ideal for someone who wants their garden to be a chill-out zone, not a chore.

The Glow garden

In her regular practice, Christine enjoys creating individually-designed gardens that will stand the test of time, and she’s applied those same principles here. “A key feature is a tiled wall housing a sleek, built-in eco-fire,” she says. “It’s a welcoming focal point that entices you in with its mesmerising flames.”

A floating patio, in alternating bands of timber and tiles, flanked by clever artificial lawn, provides an inviting spot in which to kick back and relax. It emulates the glow of the flames with its soft amber underlighting, and helps extend the garden’s use into the evening. It’s very distinctive.

Architectural shrubs in chic containers, sit on top of timber plinths. Buxus cubes at each corner emphasise symmetry and add to the harmony. Simple furniture completes the look…

For more information and details about Christine’s
garden design practice, see

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