The practice

Tom Stuart-Smith Ltd is a landscape design practice with an international reputation for making gardens that combine naturalism and modernity. The practice was established in 1998. Work since has ranged from large gardens and parks open to the public, to smaller private gardens. Tom Stuart-Smith Ltd has also designed a number of gardens for the Chelsea Flower Show. Eight of these have been awarded gold medals, and three have won ‘Best in Show’. Most projects are located in the UK and Europe, with a few undertaken further afield. Despite the scale and complexity of our work we remain a medium-sized practice, with fourteen landscape architects and designers at our office in London a well as three overseas consultants working under the direction of Tom Stuart-Smith, who is closely involved with each project.

Our philosophy

We seek to create landscapes that offer a rich and multi-layered experience - places with an emotional depth that derives from the ideas behind their design. Juxtaposition and contrast is a theme that runs through much of our work: between simplicity and complexity; the modern and the romantic; between subtle intervention and decisive statement. Our work has a richness of form and texture which belies the economy of means by which this is achieved.

We look to forge connections between people and place. We bring an analytical design approach together with a detailed understanding of the nature of a place, and the wishes of our clients.

We follow an ethic of sustainability and seek to increase the ecological diversity and richness of any landscape in which we work. We use local materials wherever we can and select plants fitted to their surroundings, which will endure over time.

We are particularly interested in planting schemes inspired by plant communities as they occur in natural and semi-natural landscapes.

As important as these principles, is the idea of the garden as a place that quietly articulates emotions and ideas. The designer's role is to set the scene without imposing a story. A garden should not bind its inhabitants to a narrow vision. Rather we want to make it a place of imaginative possibility.