Randle Siddeley
Designers

Randle Siddeley

Transforming gardens the world over

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

Randle Siddeley

Closer to home he is working with Finchatton on the Four Seasons’ new serviced apartments on Grosvenor Square. ‘I’ve imported artificial silver birches from California which look sensationally sculptural in the shaded back garden,’ says Randle. There are also bonsai trees, and a huge living wall inset with slips of bronze mirror to create an even more dramatic effect.

 

Randle established his business 40 years ago and now works with a team of 80, but still relishes the detail in a small project, like the Edible Garden he’s creating for Gaze Burvill’s stand at The 2020 Chelsea Flower Show. He’ll always delight in converting nondescript, small spaces, even lightwells, into imaginative, flowering havens.

 

Randle’s creativity is underpinned by simple but meticulous rules. ‘It’s tempting to overburden a garden and implement too many elements,’ he says. ‘No client or plot or garden DNA are ever the same. You have to understand the client, the property, the soil type, where the sun rises and sets and how to maintain the garden. You can spend a fortune on a wonderful garden but you must know how the plants will survive – how do you do that? Simple, employ the best and, if overseas, employ the local landscape architect who knows all of the constraints.’

 

It’s Randle’s breadth of vision coupled with his pragmatic approach to what’s going to grow that enables him to create the designs that so delight his clients. Ugliness yields to beauty as Randle’s knack of transformation and creating the ‘wow’ factor give even the most mundane areas an entirely new lease of glorious green life.