THE JOURNAL FOR THE SOCIETY OF GARDEN DESIGNERS

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. 

See www.bristol.ac.uk/botanic-garden