Randle Siddeley has had a momentous year, completing vast projects at home and abroad, and finishing two years of hard work on The Garden: Before and After, his first book since 2011.
One glance at the book is the key to understanding Randle’s gift for transformation. No challenge is too daunting, as dismal muddy fields and shabby urban courtyards are reincarnated as magical green oases, lending the houses they adjoin newfound stature and beauty.
In Hong Kong, Randle created a series of 6,000–8,000 sq/m gardens for a new luxury housing development on a high ridge overlooking Discovery Bay, hand-picking and transporting 900 mature trees from the Chinese mainland. Today, what was a vast area of dirt, now houses some of the world’s most desirable real estate. Each of the six gardens has its own character, from the classic garden to the contemporary glass garden where Randle installed a glass wall depicting a forest as well as five glass monoliths. The swimming pool is paved with white limestone featuring pale blue, non-slip glass inserts lit from beneath to stunning effect, particularly at night. There is also the wavy garden, in which everything curves, from the pool and seating area to the steps.
‘Being British is a huge advantage,’ says Randle. ‘When it comes to gardens, we’ve been at it for years. You can’t beat those quintessentially British country gardeners like Gertrude Jekyll, but Brits do think outside the box and break the mould, too.’
Ugliness yields to beauty as Randle’s knack for transformation gives even the most mundane areas an entirely new lease of glorious green life