The Climate-Forward Garden

Designed by Melanie Hick, the Climate-Forward Garden is a front garden re-imagined with sustainability and style front and centre.

RHS Hampton Court Flower Show - The Climate Forward Show Garden by Melanie Hicks

A garden designed for homeowners keen to turn their front garden, or courtyard into a more climate-friendly retreat. With a normal terraced front garden in mind, the design was inspired by the natural hues of the Australian bush, featuring dry stones, rusty steel from old shearing sheds, reclaimed galvanised steel of water tanks and raw reclaimed wood – all a common sights across the southern continent.

Australian garden design has evolved to cope with the demands of harsh climate conditions like drought and flooding rains. This garden shows how to lower water use and add more reclaimed materials and habitats within a beautiful space that feels like a retreat.

Visitors can watch the reflections on the water in the central pool from the conversation pit, while surrounded by the aromas and colours of the Australian eucalyptus and crepe myrtle. Drought-friendly plants grow from porous stylish gravel, and habitat poles encourage biodiversity. Key plant species include the evergreen Eucalyptus pauciflora subsp. pauciflora, the dense shrub Leptospermum scoparium ‘Red Damask’, deciduous Panicum virgatum ‘Rehbraun’ with sprays of small purple-green and tall orange pokers of Kniphofia ‘Tawny King’. The Eucalyptus is supplied by Hardy Eucalyptus, and plants for the garden have been sourced from specialist nurseries including Plantbase and Trevena Cross.

In terms of sustainability, the London Hard Landscapes construction team will use groundscrews instead of concrete to secure the boundary fence to the earth. The recycled gravel garden functions as a soakaway for sudden downpours and includes drought-tolerant planting which is mulched with gravel.

Melanie Hick is an Australian garden designer based in London who designs bespoke garden retreats for professional clients. A career-changer, Hick worked in the media before retraining in garden design at Capel Manor College. Her designs focus is connecting people, together and to nature, with sustainable principles as standard which is why her designs emphasise low water use plants and climate resilient materials – based on her knowledge of climate extremes in Australia and the UK.

“I have been a life-long gardener, growing up in leafy Melbourne Australia. I took a huge leap to make a career change in mid-life after having children because I wanted to give people the kind of outdoor experiences I had growing up. Connecting with nature, nurturing plants and loving design are my key drivers. I create bespoke garden retreats that connect people to each other and nature. I hope the Climate-Forward Garden shows people everywhere that thinking of the climate when creating gardens can be easy and beautiful”, explains Hick.

After the show, the garden will be relocated ay Kilmorie School, Lewisham and is to open September 2024.