23 May 2023
Designing a structure where the construction period is measured in hours and days, with a design life of only a week, could easily create a building that is formed from high energy, high carbon materials heading straight for landfill. Our recent work with Mark Gregory at Landform, who was passionate about finding better ways of creating his show garden for RHS Chelsea 2023, has allowed us to explore some less common materials and techniques, so that the impact of his Savills Garden can be absolutely minimised. The whole garden is cement and plastic free, including the foundations and boundary walls.
The garden is bounded on two sides by a “Garden Wall” which also retains the higher ground outside. We worked with the Landform team to find a low impact sustainable solution that can be erected and removed easily and with minimal waste.
The walls are faced with reclaimed bricks, bedded in lime mortar, whilst the backing structure uses unfired blocks of clay and chopped straw, bonded using thin bed clay mortar. As a result, at the end of the show the walls can be completely dismantled, with the bricks going on to be reused and the whole of the backing structure being returned to the manufacturer to be broken down and reformed into new blocks.
The Savills Garden creates the experience of being in the walled garden of a country hotel, with a full working kitchen and adjacent dining area with 8-seater table. An innovative concept for the show, Chelsea pensioner guests will be treated to a lunch service cooked by sustainable chef Sam Buckley. Diners will be able to fully appreciate the ‘plot-to-plate’ process, with crops being picked out of the vegetable beds in the garden to use in the meals.
We are thrilled for Mark and the team that the garden has been awarded a Silver-Gilt medal, and HRH The Princess of Wales visited the garden whilst attending the show.
After the event, elements within the garden will be heading to a children’s residential centre in Nottinghamshire to teach cookery skills to young people.
© Savills Garden designed by Mark Gregory of Landform Consultants / Oliver Dixon Photography