Philippa McKee – garden designer

I trained to be a Garden Designer at the renowned KLC School of Design in 2011 – having spent the previous 20 years working in senior roles in business in the UK and Europe. My decision to change career was inspired by my lifelong love of nature and the outdoors, extensive practical horticultural knowledge – and a desire not to spend the next 20 years in an office! I was awarded an Honours Diploma from KLC, and also won the Hampton Court Palace Award for Horticulture, presented by Terry Gough, Head Gardener at Hampton Court Palace and the Head Gardeners Prize for my redesign of the Old Frameyard at the National Trust property, Mottisfont in Hampshire – presented by the Head Gardener, David Stone.

I offer a full range of garden design and planting design services across Surrey, London and South East England and am happy to work on gardens and outdoor spaces of any size – and take commissions for private, commercial and public sites, including schools.

For garden design, I work from initial brief and site survey, through concept development, production of a masterplan and planting plans, putting a design out to tender where needed, contract administration as the garden is constructed, through to oversight of final completion of the build.

I can carry out planting design for an existing garden or certain areas within it, even when there is no requirement for a full garden design and build. I can also source and supply suitable trees, shrubs and plants, and carry out professional planting on site too.

I work with a network of other professionals with experience in garden and landscape construction as well as specialist areas such as pond and water gardens and garden lighting, and bring them into projects as required to create the best team for my clients.

I also carry out regular or ad hoc garden maintenance, to keep your garden looking at its best.

I use CAD to produce all my plans, and can also produce simple 3d mocks up of the design to give you an idea of the finished project – this enables a virtual “walk-through” of the space, which some clients find helpful in imagining their new garden.

I can work in classical and contemporary styles, and will ensure that your outdoor space perfectly complements your house’s existing exterior and interior styles. My designs use a range of natural and man-man building materials – chosen for their look, feel and style and to be fit for purpose in your garden. I will also specify recycled materials where appropriate.

My planting often combines a classical structure – provided by trees and shrubs including evergreens and topiary if appropriate – with a naturalistic use of perennials, bulbs, ferns and grasses. But as a client-focused designer, I will always start by listening carefully to your preferences in terms of styles, colours, likes and dislikes, and I never come with a proscribed “answer” for your outdoor space!

My aim is always to produce a garden design that is not only aesthetically pleasing and fit for your purpose, but one that is also sustainable and tailored to fit the amount of time, energy and experience you have to spend on your new garden.  I will always look to use plants and hard landscaping materials that are best suited to your location – as this aides sustainability and tends to reduce maintenance. I will always work in a way that considers environmental impact, and will advise on any features that have a particularly large environmental footprint and propose alternatives where possible. I will generally encourage the incorporation of features or plants to attract appropriate native wildlife – gardens are one of the UKs largest wildlife habitats, and our intention is always to enhance this, irrespective of the simplicity of planting in your garden.