Raised By Rivers is inspired by childhood memories; memories of many happy hours with my feet in wellies and my hands plunged into the cold current of water.
Growing up in Devon, I was never far away from water. Whether searching for pieces of broken pottery like lost treasure in a neighbour’s stream, damming rivers, falling in Dartmoor bogs, or cycling up and down canal towpaths.
Being beside water has subtly played a large part in my life. I think this is the same for a lot of people. It has a gravity and comfort that many of us are drawn to. Appealing to our senses and emotions, it can be an angry torrent, babbling brook or flat-calm mirror. It can be fun, calming, energizing, social, or solitary.
Not only is my design inspired by my own memories, but also research I found highlighting the important of ‘blue spaces’ for our health. Studies have shown that people who lived near, or spent time outdoors near, the coast, rivers, lakes, or even urban water features, were more active and felt that it had a positive effect on their mental health.
Drawing upon a river setting, the garden is centered around a secluded oak deck seating area hugged by planting and a natural pond. The pathway leading into the garden is made from oak setts and among them are handmade concrete setts. Two water features are tucked in the planting, one a simple reflection bowl and the other a fountain focal point.
The planting emphasises the rich palette of green found along rivers, including blocks of rustling reed-like grasses. Loose drifts of flowers will add highlights of colour. Moving around the garden, the planting both obstructs and creates views adding depth and interest.
Built by – Will Harrison and Tatsuya Shirai
There are details about this year’s five Young Designers on the RHS website.