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FarmFolk, Henbury

Monday 12th April, 2021

A central community hub, inspired by the concept of a farmstead, is the heart of a new sustainable housing development designed to encourage communal living. FarmFolk features flexible workspace, a farm shop and food hall for communal dining, and stalls for local vendors.

The landscape masterplan seeks to bring together contemporary living with sustainability for those who want to live closer to nature. The edible gardens, communal garden and orchard will create a strong community and both the planting palette and landscape have been selected to create year-round interest, as well as ecological benefits for wildlife and insects.

The communal green sits in the middle of the residential development with a cluster of mature trees and surrounded by colourful swathes of seasonal bulbs and wildflowers.

CGI Visualisations credit: Pillar Visuals

Architects: Ollier Smurthwaite Architects

Central Street, Bolton

Monday 12th April, 2021

Central Street is a residential-led mixed use scheme in Bolton with extensive public realm and private communal green space. We worked closely with architects Levitt Bernstein to design the streetscape, gardens, courtyards, a new public square, river restoration and extensive tree planting.

The communal courtyards and roof gardens include spaces to gather with neighbours, places to play with friends and somewhere quiet to read or chat.

The design creates a physical connection with the forgotten River Croal which includes the restoration of a modified channelled river and creation of a new river walk. Our proposals form part of the wider improvements to water quality, biodiversity and amenity value of the River Croal.

Aerial View Sketch credit: Levitt Bernstein

Architects: Levitt Bernstein


The Highgate Halo

Monday 12th April, 2021

We loved putting a team together and creating this competition entry for a design vision for Highgate Cemetery in the 21st Century. We wanted to create a place of wildness where nature flourishes alongside formality and incredible historic architecture sits beside contemporary architectural additions such as a café and exhibition area. Historic key vistas will be reopened, dwell spaces created and visual and physical connections between the two cemeteries halves strengthened.

Sinuous paths lead you on a journey through woodland glades, meadows and gravestones. Circular interventions act as stepping-stones through the cemetery taking the visitor on a journey and creating places to pause. The series of circles: the Highgate Halo, reflection pools, circular glades, a raised area, a circular seat, a covered space, a pool of light – all symbolise the cyclical nature of life.

There will be quiet spaces, social spaces, and gathering spaces prior to funeral ceremonies. The cemetery will be a sanctuary, a green oasis for people and creatures alike, where the subtlety and specialness of this unique landscape is rediscovered.

Our amazing team included BB Heritage Studio, Civic Engineers, Light Collective, Max Fordham, Rider Levitt Buckall, Seed Arboriculture, Collington Winter Environmental, Placemarque, Katie Popperwell Ltd and Watt Energy & Consulting Engineers.

Vox Roof Terrace, Manchester

Monday 12th April, 2021

CW Studio has created a multi-use urban landscape scheme for a high-end residential development in Manchester city centre which features a rooftop running track on the 15th floor. The landscape also includes an internal glazed courtyard, a rooftop garden and a green roof.

With the project focusing on ‘well-being’ we continued this theme with the landscape and planting by creating secluded seating areas in the rooftop garden to create a relaxing and inspiring living space. The lush planting is designed to create a retreat from busy city living and to promote a feeling of wellness and calm. A variety of trees, shrubs and perennial planting provides shelter, shade and privacy for residents and relaxing spaces for small groups.

The scheme is based in Castlefield, a historic area on the edge of Manchester city centre.

Architect: Sheppard Robson

The Trilogy, Manchester

Sunday 3rd November, 2019

CW Studio designed the landscape for The Trilogy, Ellesmere Street, a 1.25 acre residential development with public realm at ground level and and a private podium courtyard.

A stepped granite terrace with funky metallic planters and stone seating steps provides an attractive new public open space and a welcoming entrance to the development, while visually attractive planting will provide year round interest.

The private contemporary courtyard garden provides a green relaxing space for residents. Raised planters allow a variety of plants and multi-stem trees to be grown on the roof, while oversized pebbles create sculptural seating on the lawn. Planting includes clipped yew hedging, ornamental grasses, perennials, ferns and spring bulbs.

CW Studio designed the landscape up to construction, working in collaboration with AEW Architects. Construction completed in 2019.

Photographs credit: Tom Biddle Photography

Architects: AEW Architects

Moneypenny Headquarters, Wrexham

Monday 25th February, 2019

The main concept for the design is to work with and enhance the incredible rural setting this location provides for the building, and to create a landscape that is relaxing and inspiring for the employees.

A contemporary stone walkway leads to the entrance through a landscape of tall swaying grasses, echoing the natural landscape beyond. Directional paths pre-empt desire lines and create interesting spaces. Stone artwork benches offer places to sit and meet, while creative lighting makes the space feel safe and secure after dark.

Planting beds feature an ‘ornamental meadow’ planting style; swathes of grasses with some flowering perennials as highlights. Layering of spring bulbs completes the seasonal transformations against a dense consistent background of formal evergreen yew hedges.

The Garden Meadow is a name given to part of this site on the 1841 Tithe map. A hoggin path meanders through groves of trees, while mown paths in the long grass meadows offer additional routes for a lunchtime walk. Landscape ‘events’ are situated along the route; a timber platform that can be used as a picnic bench or for an impromptu meeting on a sunny day and stone blocks in the meadow with inspirational quotations on.

An orchard planted on a grid of mown paths in the meadow, lined up on the building’s axis, adds a contemporary edge to a rural feature.

A wetland links up to the existing small pond, filled with filtered surface water from the building and car park, and a wet meadow detention basin is designed to hold any overflow in severe weather.

Ed Reeves, Moneypenny co-founder and director, said: “Since we founded Moneypenny, we have strived to set the industry standard for ‘excellence’. Our new head office once again raises the bar in achieving this and offers employees the ultimate work environment, which in turn provides stunning service to our clients. CW Studio has exceeded our expectations with this project, they have been a joy to work with and have delivered something that we’re truly proud of.”

Top five photographs credit: Tom Biddle Photography

Awards: British Council for Offices (BCO) Awards for North of England, and Finalist for the Society of Garden Designers Awards 2019

Architects: AEW Architects



Church Wharf, Bolton

Wednesday 20th February, 2019

Church Wharf is a 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. We have worked closely with Muse Developments and AEW Architects to create the landscape proposals which include a river walk, riverside park, Foundry Terrace, pocket park, urban square and extensive tree planting. The project has recently been approved for planning.

The landscape concept is Lost & Found; it is focused on rediscovering the river and the rich history of the site whilst creating a human scale for the development and establishing a biodiverse and flood resistant landscape.

The landscape proposals include the restoration of a modified channelled river and creation of a new distinctive place incorporating a river walk and open terrace with seating steps down to the water. A steel mesh platform brings people closer to the water, with Corten steel linking to the site’s industrial past. An urban beach of boulders leads down to the water alongside generous stone seating steps, providing seating and an opportunity for getting closer to the water’s edge.

A pocket park alongside the Foundry Terrace provides an area for play under the shade of a grid of umbrella trees with playful curvy seating, boulders for climbing and other elements of imaginative play. Edging the pocket park is a wall with peep holes through, remade with stone from the original steel foundry in its original position.

The public art at Church Wharf will be woven into the landscape throughout the public realm. Large granite benches along the Foundry Terrace will tell stories inspired by the history of the site with etched illustrations and inset materials such as brass and waterjet cut stone. Words in bands of paving along the River Walk will relay historic and contemporary phrases, lyrics and poetry. These will highlight local history, stories and people from Bolton’s present and past.

CGI Visualisations credit: Saul Cauldwell

Architects: AEW Architects

Claire House Children’s Hospice

Tuesday 19th February, 2019

CW Studio have designed The Garden of Colour for Claire House Children’s Hospice to be a place with a feeling of both intimacy and escape.  It was created on behalf of Greenfingers, a charity which creates inspiring gardens for hospices for children.

We wanted to create a journey through this garden and a link to nature, a place where, for a moment, you can be immersed at an intimate scale. We wanted to inject colour, humour, curiosity, and whimsy along the way, inspiring stories and interactive play.

The journey starts at the Creation Station, passes Falling Leaves and leads into the Rainbow Meadow, onto A Quiet Place and finally, Birch Hill, where wildflower edges to long grass and spring bulbs line a meandering mown path through the trees.

The garden was completed on 12th June 2019 with an official opening ceremony led by nine-year-old Leon Paul Salamanca who uses the hospice services.

Clare Doig, a palliative care nurse specialist at the hospice commented at the ceremony on “this fabulous garden. It’s amazing. A lot of our children need a lot of sensory input and the garden is full of colour. “We’ve already noticed a lot of birds, bees and butterflies have come to the garden.”

Awards: Specifi Landscape Project of the Year Award in July 2019.

Croydon iStreet

Saturday 26th August, 2017

CW Studio led a team to design a concept for a technology-led street in Croydon for a design competition run by the Architects’ Journal and Croydon Council. We assembled a wonderful team made up of Falconer Chester Hall Architects, Chris Mullany Creative Technologist and Light Collective, plus suppliers Vestre Street Furniture and Hardscape, and were delighted to be shortlisted as one of six teams out of over sixty entrants.

Our Croydon iStreet proposal is a bold and playful technology-led installation, bringing life to the public realm, and creating an exciting destination for visitors.

Large, sculptural yellow letters spelling CROYDON are placed on a route through this historic market town creating an urban treasure hunt. The distinctive golden yellow colour is chosen to reflect the town’s historic connection with the saffron trade. These vibrant, bold letters are simultaneously street furniture, play elements and sculptural pieces, creating a fun and unique way of experiencing the town. They encourage interaction between people, whether friends or strangers, changing behaviour and celebrating the street.

Each sculptural letter contains innovative and integrated new technology, enabling it to sense the presence of people, and respond in a variety of ways. Passive ambient soundscapes emanate and react to the number of people engaging with the letter.

At night, LED lighting incorporated in the surface is responsive to the nearby sounds and movements of passers-by, glowing and pulsing and drawing people in.

When near a letter, bluetooth technology will connect with the #CROYDON app unlocking visuals, videos, and stories relating to the history of the adjacent building, events on that weekend, or the location of the next letter on the trail.

The installation seeks to make interesting public spaces a priority by exploring the stories and history of Croydon, animating public space, encouraging interaction and celebrating outdoor places.



Landscape visible through glazed entrance. Yellow chairs in front of doorway.

The Colony, Wilmslow

Sunday 20th August, 2017

The landscape design for this new office development in Cheshire aims to connect the building with its rural setting and to create a peaceful and intimate setting for its users.

At the heart of the development is a central courtyard with formal planting beds containing soft blends of perennials and grasses. A formal pool creates a focal point and bespoke stone artwork benches offer places to meet and sit.

Striking ornamental grass planting around the buildings echoes the surrounding countryside, while a meadow with mown paths visually links to the borrowed landscape beyond.

CW Studio designed The Colony up to planning.

Architects: McNulty Architects

Timber Wharf, Castlefield

Saturday 19th August, 2017

CW Studio have designed this contemporary terrace, overlooking the Bridgewater Canal, for a solicitors’ office in Castlefield, Manchester. The brief was to create a contemporary space where employees and clients can relax outside and enjoy the views over the canal.

Large planters and contemporary picnic tables bring structure to the layout of the terrace, while colourful modern furniture brings fun and flexibility to the space. Planting includes multi-stem ornamental birch trees, evergreen shrubs, ornamental grasses, perennials, ferns and spring bulbs.

More on the project here.

Interior Designer: Chalkspace

Photographs: Helena Marie

Alder Hey Bereavement Centre

Saturday 19th August, 2017

CW Studio was delighted to be part of the design team, led by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, that was shortlisted for a RIBA competition for the New Alder Centre Building for Bereavement Counselling within the Alder Hey Health Park Liverpool.

Our aim was to create a setting for the new Alder Centre that was rooted in the landscape. Visitors arrive at a woodland grove. Mown paths lead to glades with seating, creating special places of light and shade. A playful route through the trees is created with cut log stepping stones.

A walled garden is discovered enclosing the centre.  The garden creates a protective, safe and sheltered space, a quiet, reflective green refuge that connects people with nature, offers a place to grieve and escape, and is a setting for a range of activities that support the Centre.

Planting is naturalistic, echoing the meadow outside the garden and bringing a connection to nature. Swathes of gauzy planting create translucent screens allowing privacy and enclosure without cutting you off from the rest of the garden.

The kitchen garden, with potting shed, provides a place for therapeutic horticultural activities, while a cutting flower bed brings colour and delight from planting seeds. Flowers can be cut and placed in simple vases within the building.

Read more here

Top two images credit: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Architect: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Napier Gateway, Luton

Wednesday 16th August, 2017

This gateway brownfield site, sitting close to the airport and railway station, includes the construction of new apartments, shops, restaurants, bars, gym, a hotel and a wellbeing centre.

CW Studio are the landscape architects on the project, designing all the landscape from the public realm and fountain square, to the private roof terraces, the woodland boundary and the dynamic new park.

The main avenue works as the spine for the site and provides an important link between the proposed development to the north and the railway station to the south. It also links two key spaces within the scheme, the promenade and the square, both distinctive spaces with new tree planting, imaginative seating and creative lighting.

The simple geometry of the landscape, made up of circles spreading out into rectangles, is overlaid with grids of trees, providing a rhythm with their repetition and accentuating the direction of flow. The stone paving palette creates a unifying background onto which events and other landscape elements can be layered.

Feature artscape, such as etching words and patterns into seating and paving, helps to create a unique setting and identity for this development and incorporate references to Luton’s historical and industrial past.

Drama is created in the park with curved paths and dramatically changing colours and textures through the seasons. Planting includes swathes of ornamental grasses, specimen trees, chalkland limestone meadow and a circular open area of mown grass with trees and spring bulbs.

Planning permission was granted in January 2017.

3d visualisation by Dave + Co

Architects: GA Studio

Erie Basin, Salford Quays

Monday 14th August, 2017

This dockside plot in the heart of Salford Quays will see the development of a 16-storey residential scheme made up of 270 apartments, resident gardens, public realm and Quayside walk.

The two residential wings create a raised outdoor terrace to the podium with decking, stone seating and attractive planting, plus stunning views across the basin to the Lowry Theatre.

The high-quality stone paved external space at the front of the building creates an extension of the internal entrance reception. Along the basin edge, the public realm will tie into the existing edge with tree planting, seating and lighting columns running the length of The Quays.

Planning permission was granted in March 2017. CW Studio are developing the scheme for construction.

Top image credit: Sheppard Robson

Architect: Sheppard Robson

Ronald McDonald House, Oxford

Monday 6th February, 2017

A Ronald McDonald House provides free ‘home away from home’ accommodation for families with children in hospital, offering comfort and support where families can be close by during treatment.

CW Studio have created a friendly, safe and attractive outside environment for the House, including places for children to play and places to be quiet and calm. The concept was inspired by a beach theme to create a place for imagination and creative play.

A series of parallel lines reflect the timber sand barriers (groynes) found on beaches. These give structure and rhythm to the landscape, and vary from timber slatted seating walls and lines of vertical poles, to green paving bands with shells in the surface. The lines create a series of linear spaces giving the gardens structure and a unified rhythm. Each space provides different flexible functions suiting different ages and needs of the people using the house.

A linear exploratory zone leads from the kids play through tree and shrub planting, past a timber play boat, through colourful poles to a throne with an underwater sea world theme and seating circle. Beach huts with varying uses create a visually interesting buffer to the car park. Raised planting beds with chunky timber seating offer a place to grow herbs and soft fruits while creating a buffer for the ground floor.

The triangular public space focuses on the mature pin oak trees, where a circular timber feature seat wraps around one the tree trunks. The backdrop planting along the boundary includes shrubs with native and wildlife value, while wedges of bulb planting enliven the grass along the path in spring.


Planning permission was granted in July 2016.

Architects: AEW Architects

Cheadle Hulme High School

Saturday 4th February, 2017

A bold striped pathway leads to the new Sixth Form and Teaching College entrances at Cheadle Hulme High School, uniting the landscape and creating a contemporary setting for the buildings. Small recycled-glass pavers provide flashes of colour in the paving, and highlight the colours in the school’s logo, while granite flags provide inspiration with etched words chosen by students at the school.

Small recycled-glass pavers provide flashes of colour in the paving, and highlight the colours in the school’s logo, while granite flags provide inspiration with etched words chosen by students at the school.

New trees help to green the space, bringing vertical interest into the landscape, and enhancing biodiversity. A large planter brings a piece of nature to the school entrance, with tree, shrub, perennial, fern, ornamental grasses and bulb planting for year round pleasure.

Flowering plants are chosen to add bursts of bright colour amongst the green backdrop provided by shrubs, perennials, ferns and grasses. Flower colours are chosen to match the school’s logo colours in pink, blue and purple. The planting is low maintenance and largely evergreen to provide year round interest. Flowering periods are chosen outside of the summer holidays so no flowers are missed by pupils and staff.

Elsewhere within the school, the quadrangle is refurbished with a simple design; a central specimen multi-stemmed tree provides blossom in the spring and stunning winter colour that can be viewed through the glazed facades.

Construction is due to complete in 2018.

Architects: Pozzoni Architecture

Hale Garden, Cheshire

Sunday 4th December, 2016

The garden is designed for a contemporary new private house in Hale, Cheshire. Box-pleached trees and formal hedges create horizontal and vertical planes which bring enclosure to the formal garden area and respond to the clean, modern lines of the building. A platform projects out over a reflective pool and into the formal lawn and loose planting beyond.

Views are set up to maximise the impact of the garden though the contemporary glazed facade, and out through the formal garden and into the wider garden beyond. Views back to the house are encouraged from two stone benches tucked into the planting. Within the garden itself, views are controlled with clipped hedging and pleached trees, leading the eye to artworks set within a more naturalistic landscape.

The formal garden blends into more informal landscape towards the boundary edges, through naturalist ornamental planting to the west, and wildflower meadow to the south, where a meandering path through new woodland planting and existing mature trees creates a route for exploration and natural play.

This garden won a Society of Garden Designers Award 2017

Architect: Aboda Living

Broxhead House, Bordon

Tuesday 26th January, 2016

CW Studio have designed a new landscape setting for the refurbishment and extension of Broxhead House. Built in 1877 Broxhead House became the residence of the General Officer Commanding and later the Brigade Commander as part of the Louisburg Barracks in Bordon.

The formality of the building is reflected in the landscape; yew and hornbeam clipped cubes at varying heights provide strong structure while beds of lavender offer scent and colour in bold blocks of colour. Granite setts create a strong visual entrance route while buff stone paving slabs create an appropriate setting for the building.

The Secret Garden courtyard offers a softer and tranquil space for relaxing and special evening events. In contrast to the formality of the frontages, the planting here is soft and naturalistic, with a random exuberance which gives the impression that the planting is slowly taking over this inside/outside space.

Echoes of the formality beyond make their way into the garden; differing lengths and heights of clipped yew hedging provide structure and create different areas within the space for quiet, contemplative seating.

A long timber bench and tables refer back to images of dining tables in an Officers Mess, while a sculptural wire stag’s head on the retained chimney breast offers a playful glimpse of a previous age.

Construction began in 2016.

3d visualisation created by Lee Taylor

Architects: Lewis & Hickey

Market Walk, Chorley

Friday 23rd January, 2015

CW Studio have been appointed to design a public realm scheme at the heart of Chorley, Lancashire. The proposed development, which includes retail, office and leisure, will be part of the council’s long term plans to regenerate the town centre and create a desirable shopping location. Full planning permission has been secured for this £12.9m extension of Market Walk.

Simple geometry in the landscape design allows trees, seating and paving to create a unified setting for the new buildings whilst linking them into the existing urban fabric. A dark band of granite within the paving reinforces key routes through the site and leads the visitor through the development. Inset text is used at key points in the granite paving band which allows wayfinding signage to be incorporated and become a visual theme.

A significant tree planting strategy will strengthen linear routes throughout and around the site, while bespoke granite benches with illustrated motifs will offer an attractive and pleasant place to stop and dwell.

A contemplative design is proposed for the Chorley Pals Memorial Garden. An elliptical curve of feature banding and a bench wraps around the memorial, made up of 222 strips of granite paving planks and oak seating slats, symbolically representing and honouring the 222 Chorley Pals named on the memorial.

The initial feasibility study was carried out by others.

Architects: AEW Architects

Lakeside Garden

Saturday 10th January, 2015

Situated in the Lake District, this very special garden slopes down past the existing timber jetty and boathouse and into the lake. The owners were keen to retain the natural beauty of the existing site, with the long grass and undulating slopes, along with the sense of openness and space. The proposed new house sits in this natural setting and faces the incredible views across the lake. The main terrace steps down to a raised pool, flanked on one side with a stone path leading down to a second terrace by the boathouse.

Slate seating steps extend out into the sloping grass and additional slate seats are half buried into the slope to create social spaces by the lakeside. A disciplined palette of materials ensures the natural feeling of the present site is retained. Additional boulders are added to those along the shoreline to create impromptu seating for lakeside gatherings.

The lawn is retained as long grass with spring bulbs, and is cut infrequently allowing wildflowers to naturalise. Woodland planting to the east of the driveway includes a rich tapestry of ferns, bulbs, herbaceous perennials, while Japanese maples and white-stemmed birch trees create vertical accents against the backdrop of the existing mature trees. Boundary planting and trees at the entrance and along neighbours’ boundaries create a screen and natural transition, sympathetic to the rural setting.

Planning permission was granted in August 2017.

Architects: shedkm

Malpas Garden

Monday 5th January, 2015

Early sketch designs for a six and a half acre private garden in South Cheshire. A strong tree lined driveway leads to the house, while additional structure is provided in the garden with strong hedging and quirky topiary.

To the rear of the house a formal garden offers dramatic views over the lake and beyond to the open countryside. Ornamental grasses and perennials are arranged on a grid in the Pool Terrace garden which is given enclosure and structure with hedging. This contemporary planting style reflects the naturalistic setting of the countryside, but offers a more controlled and elegant version.

A croquet lawn, kitchen and cutting gardens with bee hives, topiary gardens and an orchard complete the garden ‘rooms’ around the house, and all lead out to open meadows with meandering mown paths which provide circular routes via the tennis court, writer’s room and lake. Sculpture, garden ornament and seats are arranged on an axis of views visible from and looking back towards the house.

Garden boundaries are strengthened with additional planting while wooded areas are enhanced and woodland walks created.

3d Images by Charlie Payne

Corridor Manchester Public Realm

Friday 12th September, 2014

CW Studio worked with AEW Architects to create initial design ideas, strategies and methodologies for potential public realm proposals for  Corridor Manchester at the heart of the city.

A strategy was developed that identified key areas and character zones, while a palette of materials and landscape elements was formed to create an instantly recognisable and unique identity for the Corridor.

Areas are classified as Movement Space, Transition Space or Dwell Space, with higher levels of activity dictating lower provisions of furniture to avoid restricting pedestrian flow, while dwell spaces provide attractive spaces to encourage pedestrians to pause a moment and enjoy.

A comprehensive lighting system of columns responds to many complex urban needs; lighting, cctv, displays, electric bike charging with pay terminal, taxi and emergency phones, utility functions including water and power supply, projectors and public address speakers.

A stone strip in the paving links the street furniture together while coloured lighting bands with inset or etched words denote an intervention on the corridor. Solid seating blocks with a simple geometry become modular components permitting different combinations as required.

Bus stops with green roofs provide a unique addition to the centre of Manchester, a strand of innovative green infrastructure that links in with wider plans for biodiversity and urban storm water issues in the city.

CW Studio created the above graphics to illustrate the different zones.

Architects: AEW Architects





Ward Hall, Xaverian College

Friday 12th September, 2014

A new landscape setting for the refurbishment of and contemporary extension for Ward Hall, a Grade II listed building that was purchased by Xaverian College in 1949.

Bespoke stone benches and new trees create a pleasant open space for students, tutors and visitors to meet, sit and enjoy. Bold bands of paving unite the two linked buildings, providing a smart and appropriate setting for the listed building and extension. The direction of the bands highlights the new entrance, and at night inground lighting casts light across the pathway.

A garden setting is created within the existing listed low brick wall. Larger grasses and perennials provide a backdrop to planting providing flowers from May to October. Golden grasses flop over the wall at the front, while the more rigid grasses provide great structure in winter. New planting areas to the boundaries refresh the existing landscape; the woodland character is enhanced with evergreen and perennial planting.

Planning permission and Listed Building Consent were granted in 2013, construction in 2014.

Architects: Pozzonni

Wilmslow Farm

Thursday 11th September, 2014

The masterplan for this project takes its inspiration from the elegant simple lines of the proposed new house, and the incredible rural setting of the site. Paths are mown through meadows, grids imposed on them. In some places order, in others nature.

Structure is created closer to the house with hedges. Stone terraces compliment the materials of the house, and are softened with surrounding planting, while an axial view through the house links the water in the orchard to the north with the water in the garden to the south.

Planting is loose and natural and defines the spaces around the house. Ornamental grasses and perennials mirror the naturalistic setting of the countryside and the textures of the wildflower meadows, but are more controlled and elegant. Hedges create structure and control views. Planting is reflected in pools creating calm points within the gardens. An orchard is created around remnants of an old orchard, in long meadow grass mown into grids.

Further away from the house an existing copse of trees is enhanced to create a woodland area with fire pit.

Beyond the five acres of garden are seventeen acres of open farmland with stunning views of the countryside beyond. This area will have a parkland feel with meadow, short grassland, and meandering mown paths linking the two.

The house is designed by McNulty Architects.

Didsbury Garden

Wednesday 10th September, 2014

An uplit cropped stone feature wall creates a visual focus and links the garden back to the contemporary extension, echoing the external stone-clad basement wall. The wall sits within a soft green enclosed garden with defined areas to relax and play.

Evergreen hedging provides an instant and consistent green backdrop for the garden. Stone paving edged with stone setts creates a terrace area for seating and dining. Cedar slatted screens are used to create garden storage, vehicle gate and pedestrian gate and screening.

Planting is soft, textural and layered with flowers amongst fluffy grasses in a colour palette to compliment the stone. Two new trees create privacy by filling gaps in the existing boundary, and are uplit at night.

CW Studio was a finalist at the Northern Design Awards in 2015 with the Didsbury Garden in the Residential Garden Design Category, additional photographs can be seen here and here.

Architect: McNulty Architects

Knutsford Garden

Wednesday 10th September, 2014

A new slatted timber gate in an established yew hedge opens up into a front garden of contemporary planting and pale sandstone flags edged with granite setts and low box hedging. The clean lines progress through this linear garden with a palette of materials that suit the period property, but also compliment the modern extension. The brief for this garden was crisp and contemporary, while maximising lawn area.

A stone terrace leading out from the new extension is surrounded with rendered walls planted with low box hedge to enclose the terrace and provide a structure within the garden.

The planting offers a softer layer with ornamental grasses and perennials in shades of silver, blues and purples which dance out from between clusters of box spheres.

Subtle lighting throughout creates a pleasant atmosphere in the evening and allows the garden to be enjoyed from inside as well as out.

Additional photographs can be seen here.

A High Line for London

Wednesday 31st October, 2012

CW Studio put a team together for the High Line for London Green Infrastructure Ideas Competition for a new London Landscape organised by the Landscape Institute, the Garden Museum and the Mayor of London. The brief was to put forward ideas for new green spaces and places in the city which could add to the capital’s green infrastructure.

Our design explored ideas for greening the Old Kent Road, and our strong belief that the reinterpretation of uses for derelict and underused spaces can revitalise a neighbourhood and create a stronger community.

We proposed a series of bold landscape interventions to create a network of green spaces; stimulating regeneration and greening the grey:

1. The Skate Park – A barren concrete roundabout is transformed into a high-octane urban skate park.

2. The Approach – An imposing and divisive concrete flyover becomes a distinctive elevated approach exclusively for pedestrians and cyclists.

3. The Garden Hub – An overgrown plot for sale provides space for community food production and Grow it Yourself activities.

4. The Gasworks – A former gasworks is reclaimed as an urban park. The industrial textures of the gasometers provide a unique backdrop for performance venues, local recreation and cultural events.

5. The Green Link – An opening is created on Old Kent Road linking the Bridgehouse Meadows to Brimmington Park.

The Trees – A street tree strategy assesses existing tree provision and proposes a framework for maintenance, enhancement and new tree planting.

CW Studio led the team and created the competition design and visuals except for The Gasworks and The Garden Hub which were created by Andy Gough. You can see more images here on the New London Landscape website.

The team consisted of CW Studio, Andy Gough and Asil Besim.







Bowdon Garden

Wednesday 15th August, 2012

The Garden

Sculptural hedges create a focal point for the garden for this new property in Cheshire, framing a piece of art work and the trees beyond. Before this is a large formal lawn with limestone stepping stones over a long reflective pool. Wide borders enclose the garden and frame the terraces. Drifts of grasses and perennials provide texture and movement throughout the seasons.

A pale sawn limestone is used for the terraces stepping up to the house, while low walls, in a contrasting split face blue limestone, link indoors and out. Subtle lighting creates a pleasant atmosphere in the evening for entertaining, and allows the garden to be enjoyed from behind the glazed sliding doors.

Architect: McNulty Architects

Putney Garden

Friday 10th August, 2012

An Italian porphyry water feature creates a focal point for this London garden. Hardwood timber seating creates a more intimate area around the water for sitting and relaxing. Low rendered walled planters provide a simple structure within the garden with layers of grasses and perennials providing texture and movement throughout the seasons.

The garden uses a palette of natural stone from Stockscape with contrasting colours and textures in complementary shades of cream, browns, greys, purples, coppers and reds. Flamed sandstone setts lead the eye to the water wall, contrasting with the paler sawn limestone flags of the terrace. Purples and reds are picked up in the planting with golden sandy colours in the grasses.  Space is maximised on the terrace and a timber seat catches the evening sun.

Constructed in 2013.


RHS Show Garden

Thursday 26th April, 2012

Design for an RHS Show Garden for the BBC Gardeners’ World Live at the NEC, Birmingham

“If I’m ever reborn, I want to be a gardener – there’s too much to do for one lifetime!”

– Karl Foerster

“Life is a theatre set in which there are but few practicable entrances.”

– Victor Hugo

Carolyn Willitts was approached by the RHS to design a show garden for them for the BBC Gardeners’ World Live Show in Birmingham.

The garden draws from Carolyn’s two careers, theatre design and landscape architecture, and weaves them together as independent but complementary influences. The calm, contemporary space promotes contemplation, and is designed to inspire positive life-changes.

The garden is imbued with references to theatre; the summerhouse with its raised hardwood platform makes for a focal stage, and stone seating cubes become seats for an audience. Warm granite paving offers alternative routes and inspiring quotations. A tree grows through a trapdoor in the stage as nature creeps around and through the structures. Scenes from plays referencing gardens are layered onto transparent perspex panels in the summerhouse, which can be rotated on a whim to bring in new ideas.

The simplicity of the design provides a still, quiet setting for the ornamental grasses, which are planted in airy drifts, offering movement and rich texture. Dreamy perennials hover within the sea of grasses in a palette of greens, clarets, violet and white.



Cronton Colliery Country Park

Sunday 1st April, 2012

CW Studio put a team together for the Cronton Colliery RIBA Design Competition. The brief was to establish a 43 hectare informal park on the former Cronton Colliery site. The Land Trust was keen to take an ecological approach to the restoration, working with nature to create a site rich in wildlife and attractive for local people to enjoy.

Our design offered a multifaceted approach, based around the concept of layers. The existing landscape already shows the site history in layers; a partial restoration upon plateaus of colliery waste, imposed on a stately former parkland landscape. Upon these foundations we proposed to lay further layers to create Cronton Colliery Country Park, an exciting country park with a difference.

New woodland is proposed to fit in with the mature and young woodland to define individual open areas. The wetland is expanded by re-modelling colliery spoil to create channels, pools, underwater ledges and a lake to attract a variety of bird species and aquatic invertebrates.

Inventive trails around the park, art trails, cycle trails, mountain bike trails, allow visitors to experience new areas en route to a destination. The Tree Top Trail allows all visitors to experience the trees and site from a completely different perspective. This trail leads up to the Lookout Chimney, inspired by the original colliery chimney, which is positioned on the highest point in the park offering a fantastic panoramic view.

Set into the topography of the site, The Visitor Centre blends into its surroundings and starts to communicate the historic development of the site. The building and landscape are entwined to create a structure that feels embedded in its site.

A series of structures provide revenue, shelter and enhance the visitor experience. A simple palette of materials is used across the site to unite interventions. Corten steel is utilised to define key spaces and circulation shafts. Enclosure is provided by layered stone and brick, reminiscent of the seams of coal that run through the site and which have defined Cronton Colliery’s development to date.

CW Studio led the team, created the masterplan, and was responsible for the competition board design and graphics.

The team consisted of CW Studio, Architectural Emporium and Andy Gough.

3d visualisations created by Andy Gough.



Gardens of the World, Berlin

Thursday 10th November, 2011

Landscape Competition to design an English Garden for the Gardens of the World competition for the Marzahn Recreational Park in Berlin.

This winning competition entry drew on English landscape design traditions and included an English cottage with traditional cottage garden, vegetable garden and orchard. This was set within surrounding parkland comprising an estate drive, lime avenue, spring and summer meadows, a bridge over a pond, contemporary follies, a ha ha and a ‘traditional’ Manchester Cow Parade. Our design will be constructed in 2012.

As Project Landscape Architect, Carolyn Willitts designed the masterplan, created the graphic style and the A0 Competition Boards and hand drew the plans. 3d visualisations were created by Andy Gough.

The Park comprises an area of around 18 ha and sees over 600,000 visitors each year. Since 2000, several gardens representing garden traditions of different cultures of the world have been created including Italian, Oriental, Balinese, Korean, Japanese and Chinese Gardens.

Employer: Austin-Smith:Lord

Liverpool Central Library

Friday 14th October, 2011

Grade II Library restoration with new entrance forecourt within the heart of Liverpool’s World Heritage Site.

As the project landscape architect, Carolyn Willitts was responsible for taking the competition design to planning, and producing detailed drawings and specification for construction.

The proposed refurbishment of the external forecourt was designed to enhance the Library’s significance as a cultural destination. A granite Literary Carpet leads visitors from the footpath to the new entrance door, with waterjet cut lettering by Hardscape referencing titles from the Library’s collection within.

A robust granite wall divides the space and provides strong visual signage, while a section of existing stone balustrade is removed to open up views. The existing Library entrance becomes an opening for the ground floor café to spill out onto a café terrace, enhancing the Library’s appearance and animating the entrance forecourt.

More photos can be seen here and here.

Carolyn Willitts has written an article on using stone for the frontage at Liverpool Library for the Landscape Journal.

3d visualisation created by Lee Taylor.


Landscape Institute Awards – Design for a Small Scale Public Development – Highly Commended
RIBA North West Regional Award
RIBA North West Conservation Award

Employer: Austin-Smith:Lord

Wharfside Development, London

Friday 15th July, 2011

Concept design for a mixed-use development on the Thames.

This project presented a unique opportunity for the creation of a large scale open park with wide views across the Thames. Timber boardwalks reach outward towards the river echoing the direction of the historic rope and cable laid out in the 18th and 19th centuries. Green spaces vary from wild to cultivated incorporating tidal reed bed terraces, wildflower meadow, and herbaceous grasses and perennials recreating the swathes of the original Thames marshland.

From the central park area, private gardens and play areas are defined through the transition from public to private space. High quality public realm incorporates elements such as fountains, artworks, lighting and seating. The visual language for the park is constructed from a restricted palette of materials including Portland stone, granite, resin bound gravel, timber and corten steel.

Carolyn Willitts was the project landscape architect; she assisted in the development of the masterplan and was responsible for the landscape design and landscape graphics. She also worked closely with the Environment Agency and marine engineers in the design of the Thames tidal terraces.

3d visualisations created by Andy Gough.

Employer: Austin-Smith:Lord

Stubbs Lane, Northwich

Monday 25th April, 2011

Residential masterplan and landscape strategy.

A residential masterplan for 160 new family homes on a 4.4ha site in Lostock Gralam, near Northwich. Outline planning approval was given to the project in January 2011 which was a big success as residential development in this site went against planning policy.

Existing landscape features are retained to provide an immediately established setting for the new development, including the existing recreation ground and woodland area which provide a fantastic opportunity to create enhanced open spaces for new residents and the surrounding local community. A new wildflower meadow creates an attractive landscape and enhances biodiversity, while areas of mown grass provide opportunities for relaxation and informal play. The remnant of Lostock Long Wood is protected and enhanced, while existing trees and hedgerows are retained as much as possible to protect the distinctive character of Stubbs Lane.

A complimentary palette of high quality materials is proposed for the site. Home Zones create attractive streets with a sense of space that give priority to the pedestrian, while motorists are forced to drive with greater care and at lower speeds. Surface materials, street furniture, trees and planting beds are used to alter the street layout and enhance residential areas. Doors and windows of properties face onto the public realm to create safe streets and open spaces.

Carolyn Willitts was the project landscape director for the project and created the landscape graphics.

Employer: Austin-Smith:Lord

Greengate, Salford

Tuesday 19th April, 2011

Competition to design a residential masterplan and landscape strategy for the  Salford House 4 Life competition

The competition proposal creates a new place for a new community; families returning to the heart of the city. A range of dwelling types cater for the full lifecycle of a family from a couple, through expansion for children, to contraction to a couple again.

A linear park creates a strong connection through the site, running through a series of  landscape treatments including a public square, a birch grove, a wildflower orchard and areas for water play. Shallow water channels running through the linear park form part of the SUDs strategy, animating the landscape and creating opportunities for pleasure and play.

Residential streets are home zones where pedestrians and children playing have priority over vehicles.  Private courtyards provide residents with their very own fruit tree, while edible gardens on roof terraces and an orchard create opportunities for food sharing and the creation of a sustainable local community.

Carolyn Willitts was the project landscape architect and created the landscape and masterplan graphics.

Employer: Austin-Smith:Lord

Lancaster Royal Grammar School

Friday 15th April, 2011

Competition submission for the Lancaster Royal Grammar School House site redevelopment.

The masterplan includes the formation of a strong axis from the Williamson Memorial to the corner of School House, terminating in a piece of architecture or sculpture which creates a signpost for the school.

A series of terraces are created which cascade through the site, celebrating the natural topography. On each terrace different character spaces are created and key views framed.

A new amphitheatre forms a focal space at the heart of the site, functioning as a space for play, external teaching and school events. The Auditorium is designed to open out onto the amphitheatre so that major events can spill out and fill the external space.

Carolyn Willitts was project landscape architect on this project and created the landscape graphics. 3d visualisations created by Andy Gough.

Employer: Austin-Smith:Lord

Leeds City Museum

Tuesday 23rd November, 2010

“…a bomb scare. No, no, no it’s a queue…” John Roles, Client, on the first day the Museum was opened to the public

The restoration of Leeds City Museum involved the adaptation of Leeds Institute, a Grade II* listed building set in the heart of the City centre for use as Leeds City Museum.

External works proposals focused upon the appropriate adaptation of this important historic building whilst providing the facilities expected of a contemporary Museum. This included the provision of access for all to the main entrance, which was originally served by a substantial flight of stone steps. The existing main entrance stone steps and lighting plinths were reconstructed in their original formation but relocated to suit the introduction of the inclined approach route and new steps which tapered into the adjacent paving, successfully creating an accessible route to the original main entrance of the Museum.

A key feature was the meeting of the new York stone steps with the original relocated steps. Crosland Hill Hard Yorkstone was specified profiled to match the existing steps. Bronze handrails were specified externally to compliment the exisiting metalwork to the facade.

Carolyn Willitts was the project landscape architect and implemented the project on site.

Employer: Austin-Smith:Lord

Awards: Leeds Architecture Awards – Restoration Category 2008; National Museums and Heritage Magazine Readers Award 2009; RICS Awards ‘Pro Yorkshire’ Leisure and Tourism Award 2009




Elizabeth House, Manchester

Wednesday 13th October, 2010

A competition for the new Elizabeth House on St. Peter’s Square

The proposals include the new commercial office scheme proposed to replace Elizabeth House and the regeneration of St. Peter’s Square. A simple, unified design consisting of high quality paving materials, seating and formal lines of trees provides a setting for civic life, whilst creating a multi-functional space to support events and activities throughout the year.

Carolyn Willitts was the project landscape architect and produced the landscape graphics.

Employer: Austin-Smith:Lord

My Piece of Happiness

Sunday 26th November, 2000

“A simple but effective setting by Carolyn Willitts, a beautifully realised production.” Jon Holliday, The Stage

The set was made from sheets of opal polycarbonate that was lightly scored with a router to create a tiled effect which became apparent in certain lighting states. Scene locations included a park, a Social Services office, a hospital ward, a dining hall in an institutional facility and a jazz club.

All photographs are by Carolyn Willitts except the black and white photo of the model, which is by the writer, Lewis Davis.

Writer: Lewis Davis

Director: Jeff Teare

Theatre Company: Made in Wales

Venue: Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff



Giant Steps

Sunday 29th October, 2000

“Inspirational and thought provoking.” Time Out

Projections and lighting were used to transform the set from a private hospice, a private school and a police station holding cell. All the music came from John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps.”

All photographs by Carolyn Willitts.

Writer: Othniel Smith

Director: Jeff Teare

Theatre Company: Made in Wales

Venues: The Oval House, London. Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff.

Awards: London Arts Board Diverse Acts Award



Saturday Night Forever

Monday 29th November, 1999

“Saturday Night Forever adds to the new cool Wales phenomenon.” The Scotsman

The minimal set was designed on a tight budget to tour in the boot of a car, and was created using some of the off cuts of the opal polycarbonate left over from My Piece Of Happiness. The square panels were painted with thick bright paint from which graphics were scratched out referencing some of Derek Jarman’s last paintings.

The hanging panels could be back lit with white light, which made the scratch marks glow, or front lit using gels the same colour as the paint which made them glow vividly in the surrounding blackness. They were able to represent various locations on the roller-coaster ride through Cardiff’s night life within the production.

The sound and lighting technician took his place on the stage throughout the performance and took the part of the dj for the nightclub scene.

All photographs by Carolyn Willitts.

Writer: Roger Williams

Director: Steve O’Reilly

Theatre Company: CF1 Theatre Company

Venues: Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff. Sherman Studio, Cardiff. Venue 13, The Edinburgh International Fringe Festival.



Killing Kangaroos

Friday 29th October, 1999

Set in the land of Soap Opera, a Welsh trio arrive in Australia for a backpacking holiday…

The set was the television set of an Australian soap opera; a large open-plan house with sliding glass doors leading to a swimming pool in an affluent suburb of North Sydney. The production actually starred two real life soap actors, Lucinda Cowden who played Melanie Pearson in Neighbours and Richard Norton who played Simon Fitzgerald in Home and Away.

All photographs by Carolyn Willitts.

Writer: Roger Williams

Director: Jeff Teare

Theatre Company: Made in Wales

Venues: The Sherman, Cardiff. The Australian National Playwrights’ Conference, Canberra.




Tuesday 29th December, 1998

“One of the most striking things about this performance was the simple grace of the set.” New Welsh Review

The set had to provide a variety of locations including a contemporary apartment, a photographer’s studio, an art gallery and a restaurant. Paper screens were projected onto and torn down. A restaurant table became a lightbox. This play formed a double bill with Perspective, and was designed to incorporate a quick set change in the interval.

All photographs by Carolyn Willitts.

Writer: Peter Morgan

Director: Rebecca Gould

Theatre Company: Made in Wales

Venues: Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff. New Vic Studio, Bristol Old Vic.



Saturday 29th November, 1997

A production of verse and song set in 1930’s Germany

Set in a bar in the Weimar Republic in Germany 1993, the backcloth was a painted montage of the characters from the play in the style of George Grosz. This play formed a double bill with Venus, and was designed to incorporate a quick set change in the interval.

All photographs by Carolyn Willitts.

Writer: Mark Ryan

Director: Jeff Teare

Theatre Company: Made in Wales

Venues: Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff. New Vic Studio, Bristol Old Vic.


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