Est. 2008

New Leaf Design is an Award-winning garden and landscape design company based in Dorking and undertaking garden design in Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire SW London and throughout the south east of England.

A professional garden designer should have trained on a recognised garden design course and will know about a lot more than plants. Garden design encompasses, but is not limited to: hard landscaping such as walls, steps, paving, decking and outdoor kitchens; soft landscaping including trees, shrubs, perennial plants, topiary, hedging, turf and wildflower meadows; weather and climate; drainage; irrigation; garden lighting and electrics; garden kitchens; fabrication of bespoke features; swimming pools; outdoor offices, gyms and other garden rooms; driveways, parking, vehicular access and gates; planning; structural engineering, ecology and biodiversity. Of course, a garden designer is not a specialist in all of these disciplines, but having an extensive network of fellow professionals who are, helps a good garden designer design a truly spectacular garden that a client will love. A garden designer will know all of the hidden pitfalls of gardens, which can be surprisingly complex, and will hold your hand and walk you through the entire process, from first phonecall to the last plant going in the ground – and beyond, to advising you on successful maintenance. You probably wouldn’t try to build an extension yourself – so why chance it with a garden, which is at least as large an investment.

If you are looking for a friendly local company to take the mystery out of garden design and deliver you a beautiful garden that is a joy to be in, you’re in the right place. New Leaf Design offers a fully bespoke and surprisingly competitive garden design service. We really enjoy making gardens that improve our customers’ quality of life and increase the value of their home, and we work closely with selected specialist landscapers to achieve this goal, overseeing the garden landscaping from start to finish.

We like our clients to be involved in every step of the design process, and take the time to get to know their needs, tastes and lifestyle. We don’t do ‘off the shelf’ and offer a fully bespoke service tailored to you. A great garden is not just about the designer – it’s a synthesis of the designer’s skill, the clients desires, and the site and setting itself and should truly enhance your quality of life.

Many garden owners are daunted by the prospect of redesigning their outdoor living space. Whilst they may understand architectural issues such as building an extension, garden design, which obviously involves living plants and change over time, can seem bewildering. This is where we come in – we’re here to hold your hand right through the process, from outline design to delivery of your beautiful garden, making sure that you are fully engaged at each stage of the design process. Our expertise and knowledge of design principles and legislation, plants and hard landscaping materials, as well as experience of what does and doesn’t work, will ensure that you get the very best garden possible.

“We were delighted to secure Ivan’s services immediately subsequent to his winning gold at Hampton Court… we love using this area, as do guests who visit, and the best thing is that it is already entirely of a piece with the rest of the garden.”

— Mr T, West London

Our Philosphy

A Good Garden has Good Bones

There is a lot of wisdom in the old phrase ‘A good garden has good bones’. A clear sense of structure is essential to a successful outside space, but this can be achieved through a variety of means. Although there is a wider than ever range of hard landscaping materials available, where possible I often use living material or the earth itself as ‘green architecture’ to give structure to a garden. Hedging, topiary, sculpted landforms, mown paths through long grass can all give a subtle and natural sense of form whilst using fewer resources and providing habitats for wildlife. Such methods also emphasise the changing seasons rather than the more static impression that hard landscaping elements make.

Whether or not they make it explicit, most garden designers have an underlying garden design philosophy, that underpins and informs their work. A designer must reconcile the competing influences on any outdoor space: the wider local landscape; the specific geometry of the garden as related to its building and site, and the functional needs and tastes of its users. Creating a design that is imaginative, beautiful and functional involves as much listening as talking, and a respectful attention to the dialogue between landscape, site and client. I try to avoid imposing preconceived ideas on an existing landscape, which will have its own tale to tell.

& Functional

A Timeless Garden

I select materials which harmonise with their surroundings and do not ostentatiously draw attention to themselves: subtlety and precision of finish are paramount, with all elements being of a piece with their surroundings and seeming to flow naturally from what the site suggests. A garden should improve with age, and I feel strongly that high fashion is best avoided in anything intended to last more than a season. Creating a garden that is timeless and beautiful needn’t mean adopting an overly traditionalist or conservative approach.

Naturalism & Modernism

My approach to both planting and hard landscape materials is influenced by both naturalism and modernism. Naturalism inspires me to mimic natural plant communities that look beautiful and grow well together – in nature, plants never look contrived. Modernism inspires a desire to simplify and pare down to the essentials, a love of simple materials honestly used, and the belief that form must follow function.

A Place to Love

The most valuable aspect of a garden is the way it makes you feel – it may serve all sorts of wonderful functional and ecological purposes, but if you don’t love being in it, you won’t want to look after it, and it won’t survive. Gardens can be places of serenity, contemplation, playfulness, wonder, excitement, even joy. The best gardens, I believe, manage to combine an element of unexpectedness – “I would never have thought of that” – with an element of inevitability –  “that’s the way it should always have been”.