Leatherhead Start

A Soothing Low-Maintenance Garden for a Homeless Shelter

In 2009 I was commissioned to redesign the front and rear garden areas for a direct-access nightshelter for the homeless in Leatherhead, Surrey, as part of a whole-project refurbishment under the government’s Places of Change initiative, which was introduced to improve the living conditions of homeless people in run-down and outdated homeless projects.

The Brief

Working in collaboration with Bailey Garner architects, a simple and robust landscape was designed on a tiny budget to produce an attractive remodelling of all the outside areas including:

  • Front entrance, driveway, shrub borders, refuse area and bike storage.
  • Liaison with planning department for removal of 3 unsuitable trees and replacement with 4 suitable replacements, requiring a tree report, as the property was in a conservation area.
  • Design of rear patio and garden area including a large area of paving, full-width steps to double as seating, planting of mature trees, shrubs and flower borders.
  • Producing a 2-phase design that could be easily modified if separate planning permission were to be granted for a garden office, due to uncertainty about funding at the time of the design.

The project was completed in June 2011 and I have received much positive feedback from staff and service users on the beauty and functionality of the new garden. This was a rewarding and challenging project with a tight budget and difficult access, requiring creative solutions to budgetary constraints.