Outside Spaces
Marian Boswall
Holistic garden design, working in harmony with the land

If you’ve ever strolled around the walled garden at Hole Park in Kent or through the new entrance at Charleston in East Sussex and wondered who was behind the planting, the answer is celebrated landscape architect Marian Boswall. With a reputation for creating beautiful outdoor spaces, often in historic settings, Marian Boswall Landscape Architects’ impressive portfolio of projects range from large trusts and estates to art galleries, boutique hotels and smaller private gardens in the UK and abroad.

 

Established in 2004, the leading design practice comprises a small team of landscape architects and horticultural specialists. Led by Marian, their philosophy is to combine a deep respect for the natural world with a practical approach to achieving results. Designs encourage biodiversity and conserve habitats while planting plans are informed by the naturally occurring varieties in the local area. ‘I love my studio’s ethos; we all work together to design exceptional landscapes for some very special clients,’ says Marian. ‘The people that are drawn to work with me are looking for more than just a social statement or place to entertain, they want to create something long lasting and meaningful, a connection with the land and themselves.’

 

Designs encourage biodiversity and conserve habitats while planting plans are informed by the naturally occurring varieties in the local area

This includes the botanist owner of Reighton Wood, a part-formal, part-wooded garden on the Kent Weald where Marian’s vibrant planting is designed to be a ‘mannered microcosm’ of the Wealden countryside beyond (Troy Scott Smith, head gardener at  Sissinghurst has described it as ‘muscular yet free flowing and dreamy… a garden that feels like it has grown as a response to its surroundings’), and an art dealer whose garden features three-metre high statues of Kate Moss practicing yoga.

 

The practice offers a complete landscape design service and project supervision from conception through to planning and tender, construction and planting (the team can also advise as the landscape matures). Many projects involve working with listed buildings in sensitive locations, creating landscapes that reflect the rich heritage of both the owners and the place. ‘We seek to forge a continuum between the past, the present, and the future,’ continues Marian. ‘Although much of our work is in historic spaces we embrace contemporary design, and mix this with the craftsmanship and respect for the land of an age gone by.’ Using natural materials and careful construction detailing, the team works hard at listening in order to project each client’s vision and the site’s unique personality into its designs.

 

Marian grew up gardening with her grandmother but it wasn’t until years later, after a 20-year hiatus, when she left her job as an international management consultant to retrain in horticulture and garden design that she began to embrace the land. After her master’s in landscape architecture she was asked to return to teach the Historic Gardens Conservation module of the degree. This led to commissions at some of the UK’s most historic estates. Early designs were influenced by the structure of the Renaissance garden; over the years she has continued this in a more subtle way, turning instead to beautifully soft planting that draws on the wider landscape as inspiration. Far more than simply visual garden design, Marian’s holistic approach weaves together the history of a space with the people who care for it.

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