Oliver Rutman

I have always had a love of the natural environment. After being blown away by Piet Oudolf’s High Line in 2015 my passion for garden design was born. I spent an inspirational year working in horticulture at the world famous garden Great Dixter developing my knowledge of plants and planting design before embarking on the LCGD Diploma in Garden Design.

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Masterplan for a country house hotel in East Sussex

My final project masterplan – the site is a country house hotel hidden in the East Sussex countryside.

The design has a number of areas.
The front has a large arboretum and car park for guests and staff. While at the back there is a historic walled garden containing outside dining terrace and spa with a outdoor pool.
Around the walled garden is a wild flower meadow with mown paths through it. The meadow also has an orchard in it linking the gardens to the wider landscape that the hotel sits in.

Belvoir Castle Flower and Garden Festival - Countryside borders - Exotic border

The LCGD ran a competition for a 2.4m / 2.4m raised bed at the Belvoir Castle Flower and Garden festival. I won one of the borders.

At the show my border was given the peoples choice award.

The theory behind the border is below:

This countryside border is a representation of part of a larger south facing border in an urban area. The people whose garden it is in like to travel and want their border to look interesting for when they entertain in their garden in the summer. They have a small greenhouse to overwinter some of the more tender plants.

The border will aim to create drama and impact by using a blend of unusual plants as well as some more common plants. The border demonstrates the diverse range of plants that can be grown in the UK, with an emphasis on those that are more exotic. The border aims to create a visually stimulating display using tall planting of up to 1.5 meters high complete with vibrant colours in interesting shapes.

Creation of a wild flower meadow

Tufnell Park Garden

I was approached by a family who were renovating a property in Tufnell Park to design their back garden (9 meters long 5 meters wide).

The family said they wanted a garden that they could entertain in and also was good to relax in on the weekends. They also wanted privacy as the garden currently has very low walls around it allowing the neighbours to see right into the garden.

I decided that the design needed to use the space efficiently but also help to make the garden seem bigger than it was. I have achieved this by putting a spacious terrace by the house that leads to a seating area that is sounded by planting. There also is a garden store at the side by the house. The large border and hedge at the back with feature trees to make a focal point at the end of the garden and drew your eye down it.

The outline design is attached below as well as photos of the current state of the site now. The project is due for completion in October 2019.


Renovation of a lime walk in East Sussex

Family garden in the Chilterns

A design for a large garden that has fantastic views across the Chiltern Hills at the back. In this design I’ve tried to incorporate the landscape of the Chilterns into the garden so they both blend seamlessly together.

I have done this by creating a large pond at the end of the garden. I have planted a small woodland at ether side of the pond to frame the view of the Chiltern Hills that sold the property to the clients. There is also an expansive terrace at the back of the house to sit and admire the view from.

There were some amazing mature trees at the front so I’ve reconfigured the drive to sweep through this area as if you are driving through the landscape to the house.

I have attached images of the planting plans I created for this submission. One is of a perennial border as part of the main beds in the back garden. The second one is part of the pond edge planting including marginals around the pond and woodland planting under the trees. Both done in Vectorworks.

Contemporary woodland garden in Amersham

The clients are planning to build a modern glass extension on the back of their home in Amersham. They want the garden to reflect their new extension but also have an abundance of plant foliage. The house has stunning views of the woodland that surrounds it and the clients are keen that these views are enhanced by the garden.

My design uses the sharp geometric lines of the extension to form the backbone of the garden. I have integrated the surrounding woodland into the garden by the inclusion of native trees and shade loving woodland plants that I have chosen for their texture and the interesting shapes of their foliage. The rill, that runs in front of the deck, is a contemporary twist on a woodland stream and it complements the calm, modern atmosphere in the garden. A peaceful retreat at the end of the garden provides a sanctuary where the clients can enjoy the views and the evening sun.

Attached are also two construction details that I did for this submission. One is of a retaining wall, glass balustrade and deck with a gravel path on the lower level. The second one is of a rill with a cantilevered deck over it. Both done in Vectorworks.

Events venue at Kew gardens

A design for an events venue in Kew gardens. In this design I tried to create a visual link with the wider Kew gardens by using avenues leading out into the gardens. With weddings soon being allowed to take place outside, these avenues would provide a perfect setting to get married with Kew gardens creating a backdrop. There is also a large circular reception area at the side of the venue for guests to congregate before they go inside the venue. The design also provides a number of locations around the garden as quiet seating areas to relax in the gardens.

Urban back garden

A design for an urban back garden. This was my first design on the LCGD course and it includes a rill that runs down the side of the garden to add interest from the kitchen window. This draws your eye down the garden. There is a circular sunken seating area at that end of the garden so the residents of the property can relax in a secluded spot surrounded by planting.