RHS Young Designer Winner Creates Multi-Storey Garden Using Western Red Cedar

Invited to exhibit at the RHS Tatton Flower Show, Sam Ovens wanted to design a landscape that challenges the way in which we think about outdoor space. Sam envisioned a multi-storey garden that used all the available area for planting, while still providing seating. He explains, “I wanted to come up with a solution to a common problem found in many small urban gardens where space is limited, and as a result, gardens end up almost completely paved over. This garden will make you appreciate the natural world: the sky, the breeze, seasonal change and wildlife.”

The garden, called "The Sky's the Limit", was a highlight at the RHS Tatton Flower Show. It attracted a lot of attention from the visitors, winning Sam Ovens the prestigious RHS Young Designer of the Year 2014 award.

Western Red Cedar was the easy choice, it was a dream to work with.

The design incorporates a bespoke deck that appears to float, allowing for virtually every inch of the garden to be planted. The wood deck allows visitors to relax, encapsulated by plants. The whole design relied on clean lines in order to exude a contemporary and minimalist feel. Therefore, choosing a stable wood species would be crucial for this design to work.

"If the wood started to bow or bend, the whole design would be ruined. I spent a lot of time testing different species of wood. I experimented with Oak, Chestnut, Birch, Pine and Western Red Cedar. After a week of weathering, everything apart from the Western Red Cedar started to distort, swell and dramatically change shape. For this reason, Western Red Cedar was the easy choice, it was a dream to work with. It allowed me to achieve the quality of finish I required."

About Western Red Cedar

Silva's Western Red Cedar is grown in coastal regions of British Columbia, Canada. The cold climate ensures slow-growth, which is what makes Western Red Cedar exceptionally stable and durable. Aesthetically we think no other wood comes close, with a warm palette of rich amber tones with interesting grain patterns.

Sam purchased the Western Red Cedar Cedardeck Clear deck boards in a trade pack. These packs are available periodically and come with a significant discount.

Gold at the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park 2014

The garden succeeded in making visitors stop, think and consider new ways of using garden space. It received an excellent reception, drawing comments from all types of visitors at the RHS Tatton Flower Show 2014. Sam won a gold medal: Young Designer of the Year 2014.

"Following the show, the garden was donated to St Luke’s Hospice in Plymouth, where it will be used for recuperation and contemplation for both patients and their loved ones. It will serve as a tranquil and private space offering refuge during a stressful time in their lives."

About the Author

Alison Evans

Product Marketing Manager