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Blooming fabulous

Thursday 8th July, 2021

The award-winning landscape design that we created for the Moneypenny HQ in North Wales is now a whole five years old. We’ve kept in touch with the team at Moneypenny to find out if their employees were still enjoying the grounds for picnics, fruit picking and lunchtime strolls. And they have reported back that the landscape grounds are flourishing!

The planting is now more mature, with hundreds of trees providing shade, habitat and food for both birds and insects, and the long swaying grasses giving texture. We also ensured that hundreds of seasonal bulbs were planted for a year-round cheerful colour. Ten saplings establishing well were taken from a 500-year oak tree that was already in the grounds, ensuring its heritage lives on for many more years.

The landscape was designed primarily for the employees to enjoy and provide a solace from a busy working day. Apples, plums, damsons and black cherry trees were planted throughout the grounds and are seeing their fruit starting to grow. We love that picnic blankets and picnic baskets are provided to the staff for full lunchtime enjoyment in the meadow.

The site was designed to grow and evolve, providing a stunning setting for many years to come.

But how is the landscape faring five years on?

Chief Operating Officer at Moneypenny Ceri Henfrey told us: “Over the last five years, it has been amazing to watch the gardens mature and transform into somewhere our team can really enjoy, whether that’s relishing in a picnic at lunchtime or a simple re-charge of the batteries in the fresh air of the woodland walk or stopping in at the allotment to see how the veggies are coming along. It’s grown and bloomed fabulously providing the perfect habitats for the busy wildlife and a haven for everyone at Moneypenny.”

Director Phil Hepworth from AEW Architects, who designed the new HQ, added: “It’s great to see employees enjoying their building and the landscape now it has matured greatly.”

Moneypenny is a telecoms provider based in Wrexham in North Wales and regularly features in the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For. The brief for the large landscape project was to create a landscape in the 10 acre grounds that was relaxing and enjoyable for the company’s employees.

After the project was completed, Moneypenny won the British Council for Offices’ Award for the North of England and CW Studio was a finalist for the Society of Garden Designers Awards in 2019.

Photo credit: Tom Biddle Photography

Pumpkin carving competition

Pumpkin Carving Competition

Thursday 31st October, 2019

We had a pumpkin carving competition in the studio at XYZ… and we won! Much fun had by all. 

Check out our saved story ‘Halloween’ on Instagram for our winning design (surprisingly it features trees…)


Wednesday 20th February, 2019

These precious handprints have been created by some of the children at Claire House Children’s Hospice in Clatterbridge. We are creating a garden for the hospice on behalf of Greenfingers Charity and will be including these handprints in a colourful canopy called the Creation Station. What a special project this is to us.

Church Wharf Unveiled

Friday 11th January, 2019

Currently at the pre-application stage, plans for Church Wharf, a new £150m neighbourhood in the heart of Bolton, have been unveiled. We have been working closely with Muse Developments, Bolton Council and AEW Architects to create a landscape masterplan to support this residential-led mixed use development including around 320 homes as well as the potential for a hotel, offices, and ground-floor retail and commercial space.

The landscape includes proposals to restore a modified channelled river and create a distinctive place incorporating a river walk, viewing platforms and a terrace with seating steps down to the water.

A public consultation will be held later this month followed by a planning submission in spring.

SGD Finalist 2019!

Friday 28th September, 2018

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that we’re a finalist for the Society of Garden Designers Awards 2019 for Moneypenny HQ! Even more reason for us to dance into the weekend…SGD-finalist-2019_saved-for-web

Alder Hey Bereavement Centre finalist

Monday 14th August, 2017

We are so thrilled to have been part of the brilliant design team, led by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, that was shortlisted to design a new centre for bereavement counselling services for those affected by the death of a child within the Alder Hey Health Park in Liverpool.

It was such a special project that could not fail to touch your heart. We designed a landscape that aimed to provide a sheltered and reflective refuge, offering a place to grieve and escape and to connect people with nature.

The image above is by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios. More on the scheme here and here.

CW Studio in the City

Wednesday 30th November, 2016

Two months in…

It’s all change! We packed, we moved, we’re here! Goodbye home-based studio, hello brand new, super cool, co-working space in the heart of Manchester. I had my heart set on That Space the moment I saw it so, Sophie our studio manager, got to work making sure that it was the right decision for the company and writing many many lists.

And we moved! We are in That Space, a property co-working space on Princess Street, which is a fantastic space filled with architects, planners, surveyors, contractors and developers, excellent coffee and a fridge always stacked with beers.

We have been working on some wonderful projects over the last four years, the company is growing, we have new and exciting projects lined up for 2017, and it felt like the perfect time to take the business up a notch, get into the city, and allow room for expansion… And expanding we are! We have an incredibly talented and creative graduate joining us full time in January, and our fabulous freelancers are still with us, so it’s an exciting year ahead.

Thank you SO much to everyone who has been supportive and encouraging. We are VERY grateful to our cheerleaders and wise advisors!

So, what have we been up to?

Carolyn, Director – I have been recycling all that hoarded paper that I really, really don’t need any more, sorting and packing, doing what Sophie tells me to do (she’s very strict) and buying beautiful things for my new desk that I definitely do need. My new desk turns into a standing desk, an option I consider every now and then as I sit comfortably, drinking large mugs of frothy coffee and staring out through the window at the beautiful facade of the town hall opposite.

I’ve been catching up with people (never not available for a red wine), brainstorming the company’s identity with Lucy Lomas at Luma Marketing and designing, designing, designing!

Sophie, Studio Manager – Anyone who has ever been in charge of an office move will know how stressful it can be! I’ve been busy making sure everyone who needs to know we’ve moved knows that we’ve moved, updating all of our documents and templates, introducing a new CRM and Project Management system, working on our end-of-year plan and thinking about how we can free up even more of Carolyn’s time so she can concentrate on what she does best (which isn’t filing, btw). I’ve really enjoyed being part of the CW Studio team these last 6 months and I feel such a sense of achievement knowing that I’m playing a small part in its growing success.

What are our plans for 2017?

We have a number of projects that will be on site next year, which is exciting, including a residential scheme in Castlefield with public realm and a podium courtyard garden, and Broxhead House in Hampshire, a new Business Enterprise Centre with formal landscape and an overgrown secret garden.

Moneypenny HQ phase two will be completed, and we are really looking forward to seeing the meadow in flower. We are designing a private garden that leads down to a lake, complete with boat house and jetty, and continue to design special outdoor spaces for a high school and sixth form college in Cheshire.

I’ll be teaching the London College of Garden Design diploma students again next year at Kew Gardens, where we’ll explore spatial design by making super-fast, super-scrappy, non-presentation models, and have fun with cardboard and tiny plastic people. I will be speaking at the Landscape Show at Battersea Park, which was great fun this year, and I’m also writing an article on pop-up pavilions for the Landscape Journal.

We are very excited to see what 2017 has in store for CW Studio. Pop in for a coffee if you’re in town!




CW Studio goes to Italy

Wednesday 26th October, 2016

Beautiful stone, gorgeous views, lovely food and delicious wine. A three day trip to Trento, Italy earlier this month with Hardscape to see a porphyry quarry was a fantastic opportunity to learn about this stunning stone.

Porphyry is an igneous rock formed through the cooling and solidification of magma or lava. The word porphyry is from Ancient Greek and means ‘purple’; localized metal ore deposits give the stone some of its many vivid rich colours. As well as being vibrant and warm in colour, it is extremely robust and is often used as setts in fan patterns and sawn for something more contemporary.

We saw porphyry in the quarry, the plant, and in a number of inspiring landscape schemes as we travelled up into the Alps. This is the only place to get true porphyry (if you get offered it from China it’s not the real thing!)

Sometimes I really really love my job.


Moneypenny HQ opens its gates

Monday 5th September, 2016

It’s so exciting to see Moneypenny’s new £15m headquarters in Wrexham complete. CW Studio designed the landscape for this striking new building by AEW Architects. It’s designed to accommodate over 1000 staff and has a tree house for meetings and a village pub.

The building is set in a ten-acre landscape and boasts dramatic views over meadows, woodland and an orchard, to the countryside beyond, all designed to create a happy, relaxing and inspirational setting for employees and visitors.

Employees and visitors enter along an Irish blue limestone walkway through a landscape of tall, swaying grasses, echoing the natural landscape of the meadow beyond. Hornbeam hedging gives structure and defines the space. Solid granite welcome benches with Artscape etching by Hardscape terminate diagonal crossing paths and are enclosed with tall grasses.

A timber deck leads from the building to a wetland filled with filtered surface water, while a wet meadow detention basin holds any overflow in severe weather.

An orchard provides apples, damsons, plums and black cherries for the staff to enjoy. All species were chosen to provide fruit for the staff to enjoy throughout their working day, and Moneypenny provide picnic baskets and blankets so that people can sit in the meadow at lunchtime and eat apples from the trees. It’s so wonderful to see the staff loving their new home.

Moneypenny has been the perfect client and it was fantastic to get such lovely feedback from Ed Reeves, Moneypenny co-founder and director, who said:

“CW Studio has exceeded our expectations with this project. Carolyn has been a joy to work with and has delivered something that we’re truly proud of.”

Some planting numbers!

  • 1750 trees
  • 500 bulbs
  • Over 1000 ornamental grasses
  • Over 1000 wetland plants
  • 12,000 m2 wildflower meadow
  • 10 oak saplings from the 500-year-old oak tree on site were transplanted and replanted in the meadow, to protect the heritage of the tree for at least the next 500 years.


Photo credit main photo: Aliva UK


Urban Sketching

Wednesday 31st August, 2016

I love sketching. I’m not the greatest but sometimes it comes out ok. I tried life drawing but was pretty hopeless and my sketches reminded me of when I was twelve. I recently joined the Urban Sketchers Manchester for an evening with Simone Ridyard (whose sketches are exquisite) for an evening of sketching at Castlefield, Manchester.

My first sketches weren’t great, but this one, my last one of the evening, I felt I’d finally captured something of the scene before me. It reminded me of when I was a theatre designer and used to sketch all the time. When we’d finished we went to the pub. Must keep this one up!

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