Randle Siddeley established his business over 40 years ago and now works with a team of 80. No challenge is too small or too daunting, as shabby urban courtyards or muddy fields are reincarnated as magical green oases, lending the houses they adjoin new-found stature, space and beauty. Despite the pandemic, Randle has enjoyed a triumphant year, completing vast projects at home in the UK and abroad, as well as winning the Independent Publishers’ Gold Medal for his book, The Garden: Before and After (Papadakis, £50).
In Hong Kong, Randle completed a project – the first of its kind in the world – creating six different, but complementary, 6,000 to 8,000 square metre gardens for a luxury development of new mansions; one neoclassical and the rest contemporary. Randle hand-picked and transported 900 mature trees from the Chinese mainland to transform a vast area of dirt into desirable real estate with expansive views over Discovery Bay.
Every garden called for an individual design, each with a pool and an emphasis on privacy. The Classical Garden has a sweeping tree-lined drive and a water wall, while in the Wavy Garden, everything curves, from the pool to the seating area and steps. The tropical Water Garden has an infinity pool and three smaller pools, while the Sculpture Garden features six dramatic David Harber sculptures. The Glass Garden has a specially created glass wall and five glass monoliths, and the Mediterranean Garden is lush with ornamental grasses, agaves and junipers and also includes a textured rubble wall.
In the South of France, Randle undertook a challenge to create a garden on a steep seven-acre slope above the bay of St Tropez. It was a demanding project that involved building terraces with retaining walls, a pergola walkway connecting a cypress avenue with the main entertaining terrace, and an elevated walkway to maximise the views of the stunning seascape beyond the garden. Making use of the only flat area, he transformed the old kitchen garden into a tennis court, which doubled as a five-a-side pitch or basketball court. He remodelled the swimming pool, adding a classic loggia and an art wall. Finally, Randle planted using indigenous species, focussing on herbs and colourful, fragrant flowering perennials like lavender, verbena, artemisia and nepeta. The result was a garden that his client likened to her idea of what paradise should be.
At home, Randle worked with luxury interior design company Finchatton to complete the gardens for the Four Seasons’ new serviced apartments in Grosvenor Square. Here he created visual theatre, using sculptural artificial Californian silver birches, Bonsai trees and a huge living wall inset with slips of bronze mirror for maximum drama.
Randle’s creativity is underpinned by simple but meticulous rules and practical common sense. ‘You can spend a fortune on a garden, but you must know how the plants will survive,’ he says. ‘You do this by employing the best and, if overseas, working with the local landscape architect who understands the constraints.’ It’s his vision combined with this pragmatic approach that enables Randle to go on transforming spaces into beautiful, flowering havens the world over.