What trends can we predict for Garden Design in 2017?
We sat down with John Wyer from Bowles and Wyer to look at what 2017 has in store for their design practice and what predictions he has for garden design in 2017:
Based near Tring on the Hertfordshire Buckinghamshire border, Bowles & Wyer have become leading landscape and garden designers and contractors, working throughout London, Central England, and the South East. John Wyer officially founded Bowles and Wyer with Chris Bowles in 1993 and since then the business has continued to grow year on year.
Currently their work is 60% residential and 40% commercial with a focus on prime central London, which brings its own challenges with both access restrictions and interesting and unusual spaces where one needs to consider not only the horizontal but also the vertical space.
2017 looks to be an exciting year for Bowles and Wyer with 3 prestigious commercial projects in the pipeline; working with the Cadogan Estate on the Kings Road, Park Crescent West in Regents Park, and Audley House in Mayfair. As always, they will be combining these projects with their residential projects both in the UK and internationally. As we talked about the projects for 2017 we discussed the differences between commercial and residential and the challenges that they both bring. John says that “commercial and residential are very different but not always in the way you think”. In commercial projects, there are many more meetings, more drawings and more information required due to the larger team that you are part of. This tends to be a more decisive process due to the super structure in place but given the nature of large commercial projects developers often have bigger worries to focus on meaning the landscaping decisions can be pushed down the priority list.
On residential projects, it is always about finding the balance between budget and design, Bowles and Wyer make it a priority to spend time educating their clients prior to the design phase; looking at their database of designs and costs per sqm, allowing the client to understand the true cost of each design. John finds this key in helping clients understand what they can expect from their project based on their budget.
Looking at 2017 John Wyer is optimistic for the London market post Brexit. He thinks the effect will be neutral if not positive as he believes foreign investment in London will rise and this will likely be reflected in garden design. Looking back over the last few years garden design has been very much about twin trends: on the one hand right angles and minimalism, and a second trend for up-cycling and stripped back finishes. John believes these trends were partly caused by the influence of design software such as SketchUp and also the effect of the recession.
In 2017 John believes that we will be looking at different kind of geometry, moving away from the right angles, incorporating more curves in design and an introduction of more luxurious surfaces; etched metals and coated finishes. The advancement in porcelain has also made a significant impact on design and we will likely see more of this in 2017 with substantial developments giving many more options for outdoor floor surfaces.
The use of fire and water in landscape design is something that is here to stay. Bowles and Wyer have seen an increase over recent years in clients looking to incorporate fire pits into their designs, where they might have previously requested a hot tub or Jacuzzi. The “plug and play nature” of a fire pit is something that appeals to clients. The biggest challenge with incorporating fire into the design is always about matching the cost to client’s expectations.
It’s safe to say that it looks to be another successful year for John and the team at Bowles and Wyer and with designs like this it’s not hard to see why. We wish John all the best for the SGD awards on the 27th January for this elegant roof terrace design in London.