If ever you’ve strolled round the gardens at Chevening House in Kent or Charleston in East Sussex and wondered who was behind the new hedgerows or the additional wildflower meadow, the answer is celebrated landscape designer Marian Boswall. Renowned for creating original outdoor spaces, Marian Boswall Landscape Architects’ impressive portfolio of projects range from large trusts and estates to art galleries, boutique hotels to private gardens.
Combining a deep respect for the natural world with a practical approach to achieving results, she specialises in contemporary designs that encourage biodiversity and conserve habitats, and planting plans informed by the naturally occurring varieties in the local area. ‘I love my studio’s ethos; we all work together to design exceptional landscapes for some very special clients,’ says Marian, of the small team of specialists at her award-winning practice, which was founded 16 years ago. ‘The people that are drawn to work with me are looking for more than just a social statement or place to entertain, they want to create something meaningful, a connection with the land and themselves.”
Combining a deep respect for the natural world with a practical approach, Marian specialises in contemporary designs that encourage biodiversity.
This includes the botanist owner of Reighton Wood, a part-formal, part-wooded garden on the Kent Weald where Marian’s vibrant planting is designed to be a ‘mannered microcosm’ of the Wealden countryside beyond (Troy Scott-Smith, head gardener of Sissinghurst, has described it as ‘muscular yet free flowing and dreamy… a garden that feels like it has grown as a response to its surroundings’), and an art dealer whose garden features three-metre high statues of Kate Moss practising yoga.
As part of the practice’s sustainable design outlook, the team always works with the local vernacular and highly skilled craftsmen, using materials that are of the land, such as oak, sandstone and hand-made pavers; they also collaborate with sculptors like Alison Crowther, who made oak seats for a project. Marian was recently made a Fellow of the Landscape Institute, the highest recognition of her work across the industry to promote sustainable design.
The practice offers a complete landscape design service from conception, planning and tender, to construction and planting (the team can also advise as the landscape matures).
Marian grew up gardening with her grandmother but it wasn’t until years later when she left her job as an international management consultant to retrain in horticulture and garden design that she began to embrace the land. After a Masters in landscape architecture, she was asked to teach the Historic Gardens Conservation module of the degree which led to commissions at some of the UK’s most historic estates. Early designs were influenced by the structure of the Renaissance garden; over the years she has continued this in a more subtle way, turning instead to beautifully soft planting that draws on the wider landscape as inspiration. Far more than simply visual garden design, Marian’s holistic approach weaves together the history of a space with the people who care for it.
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