TARA DALTON GARDEN DESIGN
Creating a garden can be a daunting prospect. But it can also be fun! We like to work closely with our clients from the outset to understand their needs and expectations, to help them achieve a garden that reflects both who they are and what they want. Our experience in gardening and garden design helps us to create practical yet beautiful gardens that belong to their landscape, whether in a town or country setting.
We create beautiful gardens that are an escape – a place to relax or entertain, play or just to be. We collaborate with excellent local contractors to deliver stunning planting design and hard landscaping that will stand the test of time.
Natural beauty: gardens for people; with a bit of wild
Naturally beautiful gardens for people to enjoy and where nature will thrive.
At Tara Dalton Garden Design we believe in treading lightly. We hope to make the most of what is already in a garden, enhancing it to make it more beautiful, more manageable and more enjoyable. A garden is for people to enjoy - for children to run and explore, for everyone to be blown away by the beauty of nature and the changing seasons, a place to entertain and relax and unwind.
By planting with an extensive palette of plants, trees and climbers that provide pollen, nectar, berries and nesting places we meet the human desire to be endlessly amazed by nature’s beauty but also provide food and homes to bees, butterflies, invertebrates and birds. We believe in leaving a part of a garden a bit wild. Longer grass in an orchard, cow parsley lining a wild path leading to a neighbouring field or just a log pile for stag beetles and other insects. While areas near the house may be well defined, with neat edges, defined paths and perhaps a gravel or paved seating area, as we move towards the edges, there is a blurring, a sinking back into nature and the wild. By doing this, we are creating green corridors between neighbouring gardens while at the same time creating beautiful, sustainable gardens for people to enjoy.
Tara studied history and law at Oxford University and worked as an Environment and Planning lawyer in Australia before moving to London in 2000. She studied at the English Gardening School based at the Chelsea Physic Garden in 2008, moved to Kent later that year and studied the Royal Horticultural Society's Level II Horticulture course between 2008-2010. Tara has been working in garden design since then, developing her own style which combines structural formality with ecological passion. As a member of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture, Tara has been described as having a 'quiet joy' about her and her enthusiasm and love of plants and design is undoubted. While working within the client brief, Tara tries to approach design in an environmentally and ecologically sound way. Originally from Cape Town in South Africa, Tara also gardens in the Cape in a Mediterranean climate and understands the importance of waterwise gardening and is ready to take on the challenge of climate change in the UK.
Designing a garden is that is right for you is our priority. But if you want it to, your garden can to be beautiful and it can also support wildlife and the environment at the same time.
With a background in environmental law, ecological design was a logical next step. Having lived in both South Africa and Australia before settling in the UK, Tara was very much aware of the need to be careful with water. Beth Chatto's approach of only watering plants when planting by selecting the right plant for the right place made complete sense and it is something that Tara tries to achieve in her designs and in her own garden. With climate change, it is essential to be careful with finite resources such as water. Correct preparation of the soil, prior to and after planting, using mulch to retain water and ensuring tree planting holes are correctly dug are all part of being careful with this valuable resource. In addition, a sustainable approach to gardening calls for working with the soil that is on a site rather than taking away or bringing in tonnes of soil at vast expense (and use of fossil fuels) so choosing the right plant for the right place is essential. Careful choice of plants can also reduce the need for pesticides and herbicides by choosing better, more disease resistant specimens and by encouraging biodiversity - for example ladybirds eat aphids and birds eat slugs so by encouraging a wide variety of species in a garden, nature can help look after the pests. Planting a wide variety of species extends the flowering period and thereby extends the period of time that pollen and nectar are available to pollinators such as bees and also butterflies that collect pollen on their legs and body as they fly from flower to flower. Pollinators are not fussy about whether plants are native or non-native - they just want the pollen and nectar!
We have created log pile homes for insects and people to use. We experiment at Scollops Farm with layered planting, using mixed perennials and grasses. We have put in wildflower meadows and we always try and include plants that are great for pollinators.