Orwell Cottage Garden

Quirky Street Art

There are two stand-out features of this garden project in central Edinburgh: firstly a trusting client with a desire for a quirky, stylish, intriguing garden, and secondly, the street art on the boundary wall.  The cottage is a holiday rental and when I first visited the property, the garden was dirty and bleak.

Neighbourly garden design

The client explained he wanted to create an oasis in this very built-up, urban setting which would offer the whole neighbourhood as well as his guests, a splash of colourful pizzazz to brighten people’s day.  A wee space to sit in the south-facing garden, year round interest in the planting, and attractive well-built paths were all important to him as well.  A nasty looking breeze-block wall sat on two sides of the garden’s boundary so we stabilised it and then rendered it in preparation for Phil Blake, street artist extraordinaire, to work his magic.    I then took the colours Phil had used and created a complementary planting scheme using the same pinks, purples and greens.  A bit of texture was added using ornamental grasses and ferns in the shady rear border and a simple larch bench catches sun for much of the day when the weather obliges in summer.  Paving is formed using black basalt setts with polished black pebble detailing and a tatty old fence and mesh were replaced with an elegant privacy trellis.


This project won a prestigious BALI award (British Association of Landscape Industries) in 2022 for Water Gems who built and planted the garden.  The BALI judge made the following comments:

 The Orwell Cottage project is a testament to the power of a strong designer, contractor and client trilogy. The client gave the designer an interesting brief which has been responded to very well with a number of interesting design responses given the scale of the site and the location of the property. In turn this has allowed the contractor to respond with a thoughtful and exacting construction response. 

Night-time dimension

Garden lighting installed by MGD Electrical adds a wonderful night-time dimension to the garden all year round.  As always, great team work pulled this little gem of a project together with hugs all round from the client on completion!







BALI Award 2022

Awards, Landscaping, Lighting, Planting