At Manor Fields, we use ideas from Gertrude Jekyll’s gardens, such as the use of roses and a naturalistic style further away from the property, combined with more modern, lower-maintenance planting. William Morris was central to the arts and crafts movement. His former home, now the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, east London, has been replanted using modern low-maintenance perennials yet respecting the heritage of the site.

Planting at the entrance to the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow.

Character zones. When looking down on to the garden it becomes clear that the space is already divided into separate smaller gardens within the overall Manor Fields landscape, as seen in the aerial view of Bede House on the right.

This principle is being expanded through the border layout, planting and inclusion of seating. Many benches at the front of the houses face the roads. More planting around these areas is creating more relaxing spaces.

The plan (below right) shows how this will work at Bede House. The borders in the
central region have a formal layout, with more
informal areas on either side.

Low-maintenance mixed planting is selected, with maintenance jobs spread as evenly as possible throughout the year.

New plantings are as robust as possible. More families with children are moving into the estate and plants also have to withstand climate uncertainties and an increase in more unpredictable weather.

Where honey fungus has been identified and trees and shrubs are dying as a result, only plants from the Royal Horticultural Society’s most resistant species list are planted.

Shrubs planted in front of windows should not grow taller than the window ledge or be slow-growing to reduce maintenance and noise from hedge cutters. They are chosen to have a good, strong natural shape that will contrast and harmonise with the planting design. In addition, textural contrast and harmonisation need to be be key features.

Herbaceous perennials are chosen for maintaining their structure in winter as well as summer colour. We focus primarily on the planting of phalanx perennials and cespitose grasses with a high persistence, so reducing the labour required to lift and divide them.