Jane Finlay

Jane graduated from LCGD, with Distinction, in 2015. That same year she was one of 5 shortlisted from 400 competition entrants, for the SGD Awards – Student Domestic.

Jane is the APLD 2016 International Gold Medal Award Winner; and Joint Winner for the SGD Awards – Student Domestic – 2016. Please contact Jane to request a consultation.

+44 (0) 7966 510 341





United Kingdom


Jane has identified a preference for designing simple yet bold, elegant spaces that create a canvas for a seasonal, layered planting (which she terms ’the architecture of plants’). She likes to explore plant colour and texture palettes suited to the soil and light conditions for each site, and to find a balance between harmony and contrast for seasonal longevity.

Her design usually has a twist of the unexpected, nevertheless, the design process is always a bespoke one, being adapted to the brief and/or circumstances for the garden.

With a design skill-set that is creative, yet functional Jane hones her sharp eye for detail, which (surprisingly) is particularly crucial for small gardens. Jane prefers to undertake one project at a time and believes in the fusion of indoor and outdoor spaces, which can be dependent on early planning through a coordination between client, design and build teams.

Jane is adept at illustrating her creative vision on plan and her best practice modus operandi supports that 2-D plan with 3-D perspectives, cross-sections and elevations. Her planting plans are presented alongside image mood boards, plant profiles, seasonal flowering projections, and maintenance schedules. Commissioned landscapers are provided with a full set of detailed construction drawings and planting plans, both with specifications, drawn up by Jane herself.

Jane is a pre-registered member of the Society of Garden Designers aiming for accreditation by the end of 2018. She is also an associate member of the Association of Landscape Professional Designers.


THE RESTORATIVE GARDEN: calm & re-energising

Joint winner for the 2016 SGD Award – Student Domestic. The Judges said: “A good use of space and interpretation of the brief. The theming was bold, without feeling imposed. Strong graphics that enhanced the narrative, including some very useful sectional elevations”

This garden is an example of an art inspired concept; that of Rothko’s work. It is a garden designed for a 2 acre site in Surrey. The design needed to support the modern architecture of the Huf Haus the client proposes to build and give it privacy from exposure via the golf course it is adjacent to.

The creation of a woodland edge with blending of heathland style plants on the outer perimeters of this garden create a calm to echo Chobham heathland. Decking walkways of weathered grey organically link the house to its habitat and invite exploration. Within the geometrically designed garden, plantings smudge together and soften edges. Layered colour and texture, as in the richness Rothko’s technique will have a re-energising effect just as his art itself does. A viewing retreat overlooking views beyond has a dipping pool. An entertainment terrace is edged with an infinity rill.

Screens were designed to mimic the smudge and slither between Rothko rectangles of colour; they curve through the Betula utilis var. jacquemontii ‘Inverleith’, allowing glimpses beyond. The journey from the carpark gives a sense of relief from the stresses of outside life, as arrival at an oasis does.

THE AMATERASU GARDEN: for all the senses

“Jane was asked to seamlessly join a new-build house and garden (in Twickenham, Middlesex, England) with a serene, fluid and low maintenance outside space, to be designed for easy living. The contemporary Japanese theme was set by the burnt ember Shou Sugi Ban exterior panels of the architect designed house. Jane carried that finish through to the decked terraces.
Amaterasu is the mythical Japanese sun goddess. She has a sacred mirror expressed in the courtyard’s reflective black water feature, also symbolic of her separation of day and night. The sun is pivotal to this garden of the senses, as there are three terraces that ‘follow’ the sunshine from early morning to evening.
Without the sun we could not grow the bamboo that rustles in the wind or smell the blossom from the informal cloud forms of Choisya x dewittea ‘White Dazzler’. The latter being an understory to the mature multi-stemmed Amelanchier lamarckii, viewed through the sitting room wall to wall and floor to ceiling glass doors. Both flower in unison – a contemporary interpretation of Japanese spring blossom.
A prominent place for a reclining life-size (rusting steel) abstract nude sculpture – at this time not yet made by the artist owner – led Jane to design a simple ribbon wall to frame it. This shape is mirrored on the wall’s other side, as three wide Cor-ten steel-edged steps, that change level, follow the wall shape and lead down to the main entertainment terrace off an existing garden room.
A mature Malus ‘Evereste’ tree is used instead of a sun umbrella to soften the garden room; its fruit reflects the soft orange and textured wall colour taken from the clients own art”. Completed May 2017. See Jane’s website for the client review. Images to follow.

THE ORTHIC GARDEN: mystery and enchantment

This garden is an extension of an architect designed and newly renovated Victorian house, for a professional couple living in Bermondsey. New interior finishes include polished concrete floors that extend through bi-fold glass doors from the cooking/dining area.

In style, an English country cottage garden has been prescribed by the client; floriferous with bee friendly, fragrant planting; climbing roses plus a vegetable ‘patch’ and a long seasonality of interest.

Height is provided for climbers with an arbor walkway to an alfresco eating area. A storage shed/pergola provides another relaxing space. Artisan polished concrete will echo the interior. Its mystery and enchantment will be found in the inspired planting scheme for this garden. Fruit trees and bamboo screen neighbours. The planting design will be contemporary in translation, with a hint of urban meadow. It will have a long seasonal interest from early crocus, to late ornamental grass colour and seedpod textures. This garden will demarcate the seasons just as the countryside does. In effect, it will be a place of refuge.

The client has fully embraced the design: Bravely all their existing planting is to be removed and the garden completely restructured to plan. The landscape build has just commenced.

A SCHEMA GARDEN: homage to Charles Rennie Mackintosh

The over-arching landscape brief and design intent for this new build, Charles Rennie Mackintosh inspired house, was to co-join the house and its landscape plus compliment the house architecture and enhance the lake views from it. Other features of this house design such as the balcony curve have been repeated with stone paths that cut through the family quadrangle space and lawns; and the Charles Rennie Mackintosh signature style grid is consistently used. These design repeats play a role in taking the house into the garden to seamlessly ground it in its landscape.

A mown lawn grid for the family kick-about-ball-play-area; borders in grid form edged with black-brown steel, with wide strolling lawn walkways, feature low textured and architectural planting that resonates for the client who has spent extensive time in South African and Dubai. The plant palette is softened in with ornamental grasses selected for their mesmeric movement and key perennials to contrast. Cubed hedging and particularly narrow fastigiate trees compliment the already existing mature trees (without blocking the lake view). Adjacent to the re-designed driveway, ferns under planted with seasonal bulbs convey a woodland feel to this West Sussex landscape.

The slipway and jetty have been incorporated into a cantilever terrace over the lake and damp lakeside lawns can now be negotiated all season. Driveway pavers in soft organic tones reunite the house with its landscape; a grid walkway co-joins the house and boathouse; and a grid puppy fencing becomes a feature by enclosing the family quadrangle to give it intimacy. A birdwatching terrace is included for enjoying wildlife. Curving poles house bird-boxes. An original design Charles Rennie Mackintosh gate has been reimagined with a pedestrian-cycling access.