Clifton garden returned to glory

Nicola Greaves has redesigned the garden at Clifton Hill House in Bristol

An 18th century garden at the University of Bristol has been remodelled

Pre-Registered SGD Member Nicola Greaves has remodelled the 18th-century Clifton Hill House Garden, owned by the University of Bristol for more than 100 years, with a traditional Georgian patte d’oie (goose foot) layout, based on historic records.

The garden forms the landscape around a Palladian-style mansion designed by Isaac Ware, which today is one of the university’s halls of residence and, thanks to a £35,000 funding boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Greaves’ design has now become a reality.

The money was put towards a volunteer programme, and the newly remodelled garden was opened in the autumn. “My design retains the core philosophy of the original garden, while transforming it into a usable space for the 21st century,” she said. “Ware favoured the relaxed look of an Arcadian wilderness – woodland groupings of varying tree species, use of water, informal plantings – but underpinned this with a formal structural design based on the shape of a sextant, reflecting his client’s occupation.

“I have included planted areas, mown strips through meadow and curved paths that reflect the sextant shape, while a wildlife pond enriches the ecology. Inspired by the original layout, I also wanted to create a contemporary garden that will provide educational opportunities, offer an exhibition space for local artists and invite the community in to experience a magnificent local amenity.”

The garden is open to the public on open days and for historic garden tours.